Serhant shuffles new development execs

Brokerage adds chief business officer, new development director

<p>From left: SERHANT&#8217;s Jennifer Alese, Ryan Serhant and Carolyn Sebba (Getty, SERHANT)</p>

From left: SERHANT’s Jennifer Alese, Ryan Serhant and Carolyn Sebba (Getty, SERHANT)

Serhant is shaking up its executive leadership. 

The brokerage is promoting new development director Jennifer Alese to serve as its first chief business officer and onboarding veteran new development executive Carolyn Sebba in her place.

Sebba previously headed the new development marketing divisions at Douglas Elliman and Elegran Real Estate. She also served as an independent consultant and as the senior sales director at the troubled Waldorf Astoria condo conversion, which Dajia US took over from Anbang Insurance Group.

Sebba said she was drawn to Serhant because of its emphasis on creating content and marketing materials in-house. As part of her new role, she said she plans to harness artificial intelligence to increase efficiency and track the team’s performance. 

“Serhant has really broken the mold,” Sebba said. “I can say that because I’ve worked for a few of the [other brokerages] and have been in front of developers and understand how their projects are handled and the services they’re offered.”

The reorganization comes as the three-year-old company is expanding its presence across the country and growing its new development footprint in New York City. The firm now has roughly 600 agents and 48 new-development projects on the books totaling $3.5 billion in inventory, according to a company spokesperson.

Serhant’s growing spread

Serhant’s rising agent count has come with a few hiccups. Last year, it lost luxury agent Loy Carlos to Nest Seekers, the firm where founder Ryan Serhant rose to celebrity broker status by starring on “Million Dollar Listing.” Serhant also axed top broker Tamir Shemesh, who then joined Nest Seekers.

But the firm has scaled up its Brooklyn reach with its latest round of hires, including Brooklyn new-development broker Raquel Lomonico and townhouse specialist Ravi Kantha.

Alese has worked with Serhant since 2015. Though she said she’s been involved in scaling the business since the start, her new role formally tasks her with overseeing growth across its brokerage, production and education segments.

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“I’ve always had a hand in overseeing the larger part of what direction we were going and really helped with the overall growth from the very beginning,” Alese said.

Alese is moving up after the firm set up shop in seven states along the East Coast: Florida, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina, Connecticut, New Jersey and Georgia. 

But Serhant’s foray outside of the city hasn’t been smooth. The company has been served with multiple lawsuits by competing brokerages alleging that Serhant and the agents joining the firm stole clients and information.

Under Alese, the brokerage snagged a number of major new developments, primarily in Manhattan, Brooklyn and South Florida. Earlier this year Serhant took over sales at SJP Properties and Mitsui Fudosan’s 200 Amsterdam Avenue — the site of Roman Roy’s four-bedroom duplex in the last season of HBO’s “Succession.”

Among the firm’s other projects in the city are Extell Development’s Brooklyn Point, RAL Companies’ Quay Tower, Quadrum Global’s The Huron and Williamsburg Wharf, Miki Naftali’s planned 850-unit waterfront development.

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Brooklyn Point and The Huron are now over 80 percent and 70 percent sold, respectively, according to a spokesperson. Quay Tower is among the priciest buildings in Brooklyn.

Though Serhant is gaining ground in the city, as of last year, the company still trailed new development heavyweights Corcoran Sunshine, Douglas Elliman and Compass in terms of closed sales volume.

The competition for new business is expected to heat up as the pipeline for new developments continues to wane. But both Sebba and Alese said the firm has already lined up a solid slate of projects to weather the impending dry spell, at least for the next few years.

“There’s always talk about the pipeline being large or small,” Sebba said. “I don’t think the fact that the pipeline is a little smaller is going to affect us in any way because we get an ongoing source of inquiries from developers in other markets as well.”