Deeds and Deals

Blood on the Brokerage Floor: Corcoran Heavyweights Jump to Brown Harris Stevens

The heftiest brokerage in the city just lost three hefty senior vice presidents all at once—and a V.P., too—to rival firm Brown Harris Stevens.

“Sometimes issues come up that make it better for the brokers and the company to part ways,” Corcoran chief executive Pam Liebman told The Observer on Monday afternoon. “In this case, that’s the path we chose to take.” (Ms. Liebman was using the royal we.) “They’re good brokers; we wish them well.”

Über-broker Wendy Maitland (she’s Madonna’s broker, among many others’) is one of the recently departed. Also gone are Wilbur Gonzalez, who brought in $200 million for Corcoran in 2004 and 2005 alone—and who had the honor of representing Courtney Love’s Soho loft—and fellow senior vice president Erin Boisson Aries, who has been one of Corcoran’s top-producing brokers. Then there’s vice president Reid Price, who had already produced “more than $800 million in sales” in a decade.

They will be managing directors at a new Brown Harris Stevens wing specializing, according to the quartet’s joint statement, “in the pre-development planning, marketing and sales of exclusive, high-end, design-driven residential properties.” Basically, all and any new Manhattan development.

The brokers’ statement, e-mailed to The Observer on Tuesday, was far from a kiss-off to their former firm, and more of an embrace of their fresh corporate umbrella: “We feel that the Brown Harris Stevens commitment to excellence at the high end of the market is a perfect synergy for our vision.”

Ms. Liebman had no comment when read the brokers’ statement.

—Max Abelson

Newsday Staffers Leap to ESDC; ‘It’s Not the Same Journalism’

Errol Cockfield has joined the Empire State Development Corporation as a press secretary—the second Newsday staffer to defect to the state’s economic-development agency, which is now run by a Long Islander.

How did this happen?

The ESDC’s new senior vice president for communications, A.J. Carter, was the first hire. As Newsday’s associate business editor and business columnist, he told The Observer that he knew Pat Foye, the downstate ESDC co-chairman, back when Mr. Foye was president of the United Way of Long Island. “He’s somebody I wrote about off and on,” Mr. Carter said. In fact, he even broke the story in November of Mr. Foye’s leaving for an undefined job in the Spitzer administration. Mr. Carter, dispelling notions that his hire somehow represented a conflict of interest, said his discussions about a job came well after that.

Mr. Cockfield was one of several applicants for the job of press secretary. But since he had been stationed in Albany as bureau chief for the previous two years, and before that in Manhattan, he hardly knew Mr. Carter. Mr. Cockfield, it turned out, had the scoop in December on what job it was exactly that Mr. Foye was getting. Mr. Cockfield won’t reveal his sources, but he told The Observer that he and Mr. Foye never met until his job interview for the ESDC post.

“Errol clearly was the best,” Mr. Carter said. “The fact that we both came from the same place didn’t matter.”

Of course, it’s no secret that the newspaper industry, and Newsday in particular, has had its own troubles recently. Mr. Carter said that, after 34 years at the paper, he was ready for a change. Mr. Cockfield, a 10-year veteran, was more frank.

“It’s not the same journalism as it used to be,” he said. “In government, I felt I could have much more influence.”

—Matthew Schuerman

Can 1,250 Lap Dances Save Scores West’s Liquor License?

In the strip-club biz, throwing money at things is only common courtesy. All too often, government acts the same way. Why can’t these two sides just get along?

The State Liquor Authority on March 7 rejected a cash offer of $25,000 from embattled Manhattan meat market Scores West to settle all this stupid nonsense about losing its liquor license over a few silly prostitution charges.

Instead, the S.L.A. offered a gentlemanly counterproposal: It will take the $25,000 and then some, but only if the club and its patrons stay sober for the next two years. Then, maybe, the club can apply to get its booze permit back. (It’s still serving drinks, pursuant to a court order temporarily blocking an S.L.A.-ordered suspension.)

What’s $25,000 to Scores? Roughly 1,250 lap dances. Or, if these prostitution charges are to be believed, that’s, what, a mere 35 to 125 “sexual favors” ($200 to $700 a pop, according to the New York Post)?

Can Scores West survive on lap dances alone for two whole years? The business still has 13 years left on its lease. Ownership is reportedly mulling the S.L.A.’s counterproposal.

—Chris Shott

Blue Condo May Welcome Bald Chocolatier

All the Yorkshire-toting ladies on the Lower East Side who were looking forward to pet manicures in the ’hood will have to keep waiting. Blue Condominium, the newest high-rise to grace the neighborhood, recently rejected an offer from New Jersey—based pet boutique CanisMinor for the 3,000-square-foot retail space on its ground floor, according to Misrahi Realty.

Blue felt it would be doing a disservice to the tenants by allowing pets into the building, according to Misrahi. The anticipated barking and meowing was also an issue, despite CanisMinor’s assurances that extensive soundproofing would remedy this problem.

There’s been no official word on who or what might fill the space, which is currently listed at $14,600 a month. A broker at Misrahi said that a Blue developer spoke recently with Max Brenner, Chocolate by the Bald Man. While Brenner, which has locations in the East Village and Union Square, doesn’t sell tiny dog sweaters, it does sell a killer chocolate fondue.

—Mark Wellborn

Madison Avenue Condos Draw Madison Avenue Crowd

A very Madison Avenue crowd turned out last week for a new Madison Avenue condo. The m127 at, well, 127 Madison, drew the well-dressed and, presumably, the well-heeled. Spotting anyone over 40 was difficult, and that included the condo’s two developers, Trevor Stahelski, 36, and Kyle Ransford, 35, partners in Cardinal Investments.

“This unit’s done,” Mr. Stahelski said of the two-bedroom condo that was the site of the party. “The rest of the units are not built out yet. We didn’t want to do anything until at least one unit was done.”

Guests at the condo opening—it starts sales this month—munched on scallops wrapped in bacon, shrimps wrapped in bacon and chicken wrapped in nothing, courtesy of Candela Restaurant, and drank Italy’s two versions of Budweiser: Peroni and Moretti. They milled about, making coy small talk amidst a condo that’s going for $1.65 million.

The 10-story m127 shot thinly and sleekly into the air just down from the boutique Roger Williams Hotel at 30th Street, and joined a neighborhood that only recently got a name: Madison Square Park North. It’s an area new to the condo-building boom that’s already a few years old in Manhattan. Only four other projects are in a five-block radius, including the planned Sage Condo on 31st Street and Park Avenue, and the Sky House on 29th Street between Fifth and Madison.

But Mr. Stahelski and Mr. Ransford seem unfazed; they’ve built in Harlem and on the edge of Nolita. And, oh yes, their firm has bought three islands in Fiji for a planned resort.

—Tom Acitelli