HauteResidence.com Launches in New York City with Luxury Real Estate Summit

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Edgardo Defortuna, Richard LeFrak, and Ugo Colombo

An elite group of real estate professionals flocked to the Core Club in midtown Manhattan for HauteResidence.com‘s New York real estate summit on October 21st.

Honoring Richard LeFrak

Honoring Richard LeFrak

The exclusive event continued HauteResidence.com’s month-long global launch as an elite, membership-driven luxury real estate portal, featuring one leading real estate agent in each top market around the world. Offering clients a one-of-a-kind convenience, the newly revamped site offers homebuyers the opportunity to find their dream havens with the guidance of some of the world’s most prominent real estate professionals.

Attendees mingled with New York City power firms and their top real estate producers as they joined together to celebrate Haute Living Lifetime Achievement Award winner Richard LeFrak.

Edgardo Defortuna, Richard LeFrak, and Ugo Colombo

Edgardo Defortuna, Richard LeFrak, and Ugo Colombo

They also had the rare opportunity to witness industry titans engage in a captivating discussion over the past, present, and future of the Miami real estate market with the Magic City’s biggest developers. Hosted by Haute Living and Haute Time publisher Kamal Hotchandani, the gathering featured three riveting roundtables.

The Real Estate Titans of Business panel spotlighted real estate bigwigs Ugo Colombo (CMC Group), Edgardo Defortuna (Fortune International Developers), Richard LeFrak (LeFrak Organization), Don Peebles (Peebles Corporation), and Kevin Maloney (Property Markets Group). “[Miami] is certainly the gateway to the United States,” said Defortuna. “All Latin Americans love Miami… and we see investment from everywhere in Latin America, from the smaller countries in Central America, all the way to Brazil, which is a very powerful country today—[one] that has invested millions and millions of dollars in Miami.”

The distinguished quartet’s lively discussion was immediately followed by a cheerful Krug Champagne toast in honor of LeFrak, who was candid when asked why he decided to venture out of the Big Apple—his hometown, and a place practically synonymous with his company’s work—and into the Magic City for business. As put by the real estate mogul and event honoree, “New York is still the best market in the United States, bar none. But as I’ve said before, for international capital, Miami has become one of the three or four places that’s been very, very attractive… not only for investment purposes, but for going there, having a good time, living there,” remarked LeFrak. “It’s really changed its appeal from a local to a global appeal.”

Kamal Hotchandani, Wendy Maitland, Elizabeth Stribling, Leslie Wilson, and April Irene Donelson

Kamal Hotchandani, Wendy Maitland, Elizabeth Stribling, Leslie Wilson, and April Irene Donelson


Immediately after lunch, guests enjoyed a presentation by luxury service FlatRate Elite, which sponsored the event.

Three beautiful blondes—Elizabeth Stribling (Stribling & Associates), Leslie Wilson (The Related Companies), and Wendy Maitland (Town Residential) commanded the Power Firms panel, leading a conversation that touched upon topics including the increasingly segmented nature of New York City’s real estate market, and the strong, enduring demand for the “Park Avenue penthouse,” which Stribling referred to as the “rarest of the [real estate] breeds.”

The discussion also visited the new, growing trend of millennials—that is, individuals in their 20’s and early 30’s—moving down from cities such as New York to rent residences in Miami, and the ever-growing popularity of the Floridian city’s rentals. “I didn’t realize that there was a hole that needed to be filled somehow,” revealed Maitland. “Those renters are out there, but there’s no place for them to go in a place like Miami.” The panel also talk about strategies for marketing domestic listings to foreign buyers, and how developers have begun to create more “compact” apartments (e.g. residences that tout average square footage but more bedrooms). “They’re shrinking their sizes to make them more affordable,”said Leslie Wilson.

Last but not least, Brett Forman (Dolly Lenz Real Estate LLC), Tracie Golding (Stribling & Associates), Brian Lewis (Halstead Property), Wendy Sarasohn (Corcoran), and Jason P. Karadus (Town Residential) provided a light yet highly insightful discussion that delved into the true nature of working in the real estate industry as members of the esteemed Power Brokers panel. “So many people think [real estate is just] showing homes and emailing, and so much of our business has gone electronic… and it is email, but this is really not an email business—it’s a people business,” said Lewis. “If you really aren’t a people person, there’s the door.”

Maitland chimed in from the audience, “I’m really glad we’re hearing the substance of what [brokers] do today, because it’s not [just about] turning a key and getting your Balenciaga; it would be great if our younger generation of brokers understood more fully, and these kinds of summits were held for [them].”

The group also discussed the influence of media exposure on their listings, and their experiences dealing with downward pressure on commissions. “If it’s a discounted listing, then you’re getting a discounted service. If someone at another firm says they’ll do it for X amount, I encourage [my clients] to go to the other firm, but they always go to me,” said Sarasohn. “People think they need to [negotiate], but at the end of the day, they want full service, [which you have to pay for]. I believe you get what you pay for.” Golding agreed, adding, “I always say… you get what you pay for, and you’re paying for me—you’re paying for all that I’m going to do for you. And if you want to pay for less, then I’m not the right broker for you.”

Cheryl Casone and Ugo Colombo

Cheryl Casone interviewing Ugo Colombo of CMC Group.

News anchor Cheryl Casone moderated all three panels, while her network—Fox Business—provided additional coverage of the event.

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