On March 23, 2012 Carolyn Block Ellert & Laurie Ingber were featured in the Real Estate Business News section of the The Palm Beach Post in this article:
Sales pair rises above bad economy to steer buyers into
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 23, 2012
Carolyn Block Ellert and Laurie Ingber received a tall order in September 2010: Help transform a languishing luxury condominium on Singer Island into a sales success.
The duo, both principals of Fort Lauderdale-based Premier Sales Group, got to work. Collaborating with the new owner of the unsold condo’s units, they used a prior relationship with The Ritz-Carlton to help with the redo.
Thus was born The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Singer Island, a property formerly known as 2700 North Ocean condominium .
By all accounts, Palm Beach Gardens builder Dan Catalfumo built a beautiful, well-crafted project, but unfortunately the 242-unit twin towers started sales just as the real estate market cratered. “It was a timing issue,” Ingber said.
Although Catalfumo managed to sell some units, in June 2010 he sold 146 unsold units to Lionheart Capital LLC, a joint venture of Miami and New York real estate entities. Lionheart paid a hefty $120 million for them.
What to do next? Although Ritz is known for its impeccable hotels, it also owns some residential properties. Thus began an aggressive campaign to market and sell these units as residences, but with the service and amenities of The Ritz brand. Premier led the on-site sales team, crafted the advertising and came up with aggressive broker promotions and events.
“Premier Sales Group has longstanding relationships with brokers all over the world,” Block Ellert said.
The company was founded in 2000. Block Ellert and Ingber previously had founded the Florida office of the Sunshine Group of New York.
With almost two winter seasons completed, Premier has managed to land numerous sales, despite the uneven economic recovery. Since Premier arrived on the scene, 48 units with a total value of $78.3 million have sold. This season alone, the project has reported $22.2 million in sales, 55 percent of which have closed.
Three contracts were signed this month, during a warm winter season in the Northeast that usually spells trouble for South Florida real estate sales, Block Ellert said.
The Ritz Residences now is about 60 percent sold. That’s an accomplishment, given the fact that prices range from $700,000 to up to $10 million for units. The most expensive unit sold so far: $4.6 million.
The project has attracted big names in the finance world (Michael Psaros of the KPS Capital Partners private equity firm, who plunked down $2 million for a unit), as well as the publishing world (leadership guru John C. Maxwell, who recently paid $4.15 million for a unit).
Selling these pricey units is accomplishment enough, but the fact that Block Ellert and Ingber even survived the real estate recession is something not every real estate broker has managed. To do so, they said they stuck to their expertise, which is to work with developers on specific condos as on-site sales consultants.
As prices dropped and buyer interest waned through the recession, they said they guided developers through the sometimes painful process of lowering prices, repositioning properties or even using auctions to sell unsold inventory.
In addition to The Ritz, Premier has sold units in the Brazilian Court on Palm Beach and the Astor, a Delray Beach condo by the Altman Cos.
Ingber and Block Ellert estimate it will take another two years to sell out The Ritz Residences, but they are confident it will happen. In addition to the power of the Ritz brand, they both said the towers have great water views from virtually every unit.
To view this article in its complete version, please visit the original post at The Palm Beach Post website.