Christopher Riccio joins Douglas Elliman, bids Leslie J. Garfield farewell

Agent’s ex-firm calls departure “inevitable” as colleague got priority

Christopher Riccio
Christopher Riccio

It’s not every day that Leslie J. Garfield says goodbye to a top agent, but townhouse specialist Christopher Riccio has a new home at Douglas Elliman.

Riccio and his teammate Elana Zinoman joined the Eklund Gomes team this week and will focus on selling high-end luxury townhouses, lofts and penthouses across the Manhattan market.

He spent nearly a decade at Leslie J. Garfield — the bulk of his career — and brokered nearly half a billion dollars’ in sales, including a $21 million Little Italy home and a $20 million West Village mansion.

Leaving the brokerage was a personal decision, Riccio said, citing more opportunity to grow at Eklund Gomes, given its diverse portfolio and robust marketing and public relations.

“[Leslie J. Garfield] is certainly a brand that focuses specifically on townhouses, and I just thought I would be able to expand even deeper than I already have into the high-end apartment sector via partnering with John Gomes in New York,” Riccio said.

His former brokerage, however, said that the farewell was mutual.

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Jennifer Kalish was Elliman's top individual broker, while Holly Parker led the top team in Manhattan. (Douglas Elliman)
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Leslie J. Garfield president Jed Garfield said in an email to The Real Deal that Riccio’s exit became “inevitable” as fellow agent Matthew Pravda was given more responsibility.

“We were on a path where [we] wanted to expand Matt’s market share,” Garfield said. “At the same time Chris wanted more, and we had made the decision to prioritize Matt over Chris. That tension put us on an inexorable path towards eventually parting ways,” Garfield told TRD.

Pravda, who shared the 26th ranking with Riccio on The Real Deal’s top agents list by Manhattan listings volume in 2018, has been growing his business and market share at the firm, Garfield said. Pravda closed $750 million in sales in that time, with Garfield calling the 20-year veteran the “superior broker” of the two.

“We’ve been on this path for a number of years and this was the appropriate time for Chris’s departure,” Garfield said. “We wish Chris the best but felt that the company’s long-term health was best served by this process.”

Pravda was not immediately available to respond.

Riccio brings his luxury market expertise to Elliman, along with more than $55 million in listings. Eklund Gomes co-founder Fredrik Eklund called Riccio “a true townhouse legend.”

Riccio and Zinoman, who have worked together for more than four years, will continue to at Elliman.

“I think my townhouse expertise will lend itself very well to the duplex and triplex luxury apartments,” Riccio said. “I think there’s a lot of crossover between individuals you see looking for vertical living in townhouses and multi-floor apartments.”

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