Exclusive Brokers : Your Rental Property

August 7, 2009

Benjamin James Real Estate stands out, in a field of worthy brokers, because of the hands-on devotion we commit to creating and maintaining the identity of our exclusive onsite buildings.  The new properties that thrive in this city are fully realized concepts, structures that are built, marketed and managed with not only consistent excellence but recognition of the way people want to live.  Successful properties are opened and operated with intense attention paid to the demographic.

PRESENCE
Seventeen years ago, we opened a twelve-agent Union Square office, specializing in downtown listings.  We grew into a three-office, ninety-person firm that still represented many premier downtown properties, and now listings up into Harlem, as well.  Currently, Benjamin James operates out of a single, consolidated location at 120 West 21st Street.

This company is tightly constructed.  Our infrastructure is designed so directors participate in every deal executed by agents.  We emphasize cross-training for agents and staff in order to maximize the power of the company.  Between being a Real Estate Board of New York member, and placing managers and directors on various residential committees, we have the greatest possible access to the Manhattan brokerage community and the public.  Douglas Wagner, President of Benjamin James Real Estate, is on the REBNY Board of Directors as well as its Board of Governors, and he serves as Chair of its Residential Rental Committee.

INTERACTION
We transact approximately 150 deals per month, serving both major landlords and individual owners.  Our typical price points include $1500 to $3,100 for studios, $2,000 to $4,200 for one-bedrooms, and $3,000 to $9,000 for two-bedrooms.  We do a great deal of loft leasing from $5,000 to $12,000. 

With seventeen years of deal after deal in Manhattan, our local exposure is extensive.  With a strong corporate relocation service, catering to Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, Calvin Klein, E*Trade and Price Waterhouse, our national exposure is substantial, as well.

Not only do we scrutinize a client’s requests in order to satisfy the immediate goal, we use our interactions to get a greater understanding of what people want now, and how they want to be treated in the process of renting an apartment in New York City.

BUILDING A RENT ROLL
We coordinate a large volume of leases for Abington Holding, BLDG Management, Manocherian Brothers, Pan Am Equities, Manhattan Skyline Goodstein Management, B&L Management, Rose Associates, and others. 

We worked with RA Cohen and Associates in the initial leasing of 207 West 10th Street and 230 Riverside Drive, and continue to fill vacancies as they arise.  We also worked with the sponsor of 161 West 16th Street to increase rents by as much as 65% since 1995.  We opened both 22 Chelsea and 21 Chelsea,  Downtown’s newest off-the-Avenue luxury buildings during 2001 and 2002.

Our relationships with developers are characterized by our long-term commitment to finding qualified tenants for their units.  We prioritize extremely thorough screening for each applicant, from confirming with a company officer the likelihood of continued employment to checking Landlord/Tenant court records.  Familiar with a wide variety of lease packages, we believe it important to understand the finer points of any lease or rider, to communicate to a tenant these new obligations.  When we present a lease package in a lucid manner, we find the ensuing relationship between tenant and management is likely to be positive. 

Having represented both landlords and tenants, we appreciate issues from both points of view, a capacity that is vital in opening an onsite installation.  We are also sensitive to our responsibilities in representing a specific party.  Our onsite division, though it profits by working in conjunction with the offsite division, is conscientious in serving the best interests of the landlord.

MARKETING
Benjamin James is lucky to have a collection of cutting-edge designers who enjoy working with us.  Due to our expertise with the Manhattan demographic, we are poised to address ideals and aesthetics not always answered by marketing materials traditionally generated by the real estate industry.  Not only do we produce unconventional and visually arresting materials, we aggressively seek non-traditional venues for advertising and editorial.  And as a recognized ad agency, we are entitled to substantially discounted rates.

We prize economical, high-impact ideas when it comes to building the identity of our company, a property, or a specific service.  But we do rely on traditional publicity, as well.  The goal is a well-rounded, exciting identity that breaks new ground without sacrificing the insurance of tried-and-true strategies.

CONSULTING
Due to the extensive experience Benjamin James has accumulated with properties of all kinds, we are qualified to advise, if requested, on all aspects of the building beyond the onsite operations.  We can be confidently consulted on finishes, building staffing, service options, common space options, starting prices, price adjustments, rent incentives, leases and riders, moving in procedures and pet policies, among others issues.

We believe in working very closely with the developer via frequent emails, conference calls, or meetings.  The Manhattan market can fluctuate weekly, and we value innovative and quick reactions.  A candid relationship between the onsite office and the developer’s office results in the most efficient lease-up of a building.

SUCCESS
All of the above factors contributed to the success of our onsite campaign at 21 Chelsea, a luxury building newly constructed at 120 West 21st Street.  Well before opening the office, we cultivated a Neighborhood Campaign, soliciting interested neighbors, many of whom rented in the first weeks of leasing.  The building-owners and Benjamin James made a through final assessment of finishes and amenities, making last minute changes in light of the demographic.  Through NY Times advertising, and display ads in New York Magazine, Hamptons, and Time Out New York, we got the word out to professionals from 22 to 45 years old interested in a cutting-edge and elegant property in an up-and-coming neighborhood.  Every element of the operation was addressed with care, style and efficiency.  For example, instead of renting furniture from one of the typical companies, we made an arrangement with the high-end boutique Portico to use their pieces in exchange for publicity on our web site.  Even with the damaged market of last fall, we kept morale up in the building and had committed over 75% of the units before first occupancy.

This approach was extended to 22 Chelsea, a sibling project one block north in the Fall of 2002.  Capitalizing on our experience on 21st Street a year earlier, we quickly created and communicated a stylish and more intimate building identity for this 50-unit luxury building.  Due to astute pricing,  and a design magazine-quality model unit produced with a young Chelsea resident’s budget in mind, we committed the entire building before first occupancy with 95% of all apartments rented in the first six weeks of marketing.

Since 2007, Benjamin James has served onsite, as exclusive leasing and marketing agent for TriBeCa’s first luxury loft rental building in a decade.  At 45 White Street, we offered and secured tenants for lofts ranging in size from 900 square feet to over 3000 square feet, commanding rents between $5000 and $13,000 per month.  As we built a new identity for this project, we enjoyed continued growth as a leader in the New York City residential marketplace.


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