This week's nominee for the Real Estate Developers Hall of Fame is Ron Hershco. The unwitting developer spent $1.6 million for a plot of land in Queens where he planned to develop new condos. Turns out the spot is the reputed burial site for, uh, special friends of the Gambino Family. A frenzied FBI dig for bodies is underway, reports the Post, but that won't stop the developer, who "still hopes to build 17 three-family homes on the property and peddle them for $500,000 a pop."

There are so many sectors where people invest to build their brand – consumer goods, entertainment, technology.  A sector where there’s a dearth of major brands considering that it is one of the largest sectors in the world?  Real estate. Quick – how many brands can you name in the real estate world? Donald Trump – great.  Who else?

There’s a major opportunity in the real estate world for brands to emerge.  Here are some quotes on the importance of building a strong brand in real estate.

On Brand Identity:

    “A strong brand identity is one of the most important building blocks for any real estate business. Think of it as your company’s foundation.” Faith McGee

On Connection:

    “A real estate company has to understand who their core market is… It’s all about having one voice that connects properties to people.” Mukul Lalchandani

On Rebranding:

    “Rebranding is required when a company is not meeting its sales goals or does not see any growth. They are probably perceived as ‘like all the other real estate agencies.’ When you determine what your brand (unique selling proposition) will be, you must promote everywhere.” Greg Maka

 On Revenue Growth:

        “Build a strong brand – and you will make more money – and be able to charge more for essentially the same product.  Branding brings anyone in real estate a major return on investment.” Ron Hershco, Hershco Properties

 On “Why” Real Estate:

    “The branding basics applicable to the real estate business are no different from branding in any other sector. The principles are the same, even if the applications are more specific and following the special dynamics of the business.” Jean Claude Saade

On A Unique Proposition:

    “Real estate agents are in a unique position to have success through branding because they are their own products.”

Your Name Forward:

    “In the past, many people especially real estate investors only thought about branding their business. While that is certainly important, I have come to believe that it is vital that you also brand yourself. Over time you will get known in your business by your name.”

To Brand or Not To:

    “For each location where we were able to attain sufficient evidence, branded developments outperform non-branded developments, sometimes by a considerable margin.” Knight Frank

On Ultimate Differentiation:

    “Some areas of the world are becoming overheated [in the property market and having something extra to differentiate oneself from competitors is becoming more and more vital.” John Hitchcox

Work in real estate?  Consider spending on a Public Relations company – it will indeed make you more money.

A new report by The Boston Consulting Group says that Israel has the 10th most millionaires percentage wise of any other country.  There are 3.8% of the country’s households are millionaires – a total of over 84,000 millionaire households in 2012.

The report says.. “..and there are plenty of thriving businesses here to keep them afloat, from booming technology companies to exploiters of natural gas fields. The country is also a big exporter of diamonds and agricultural products. The Israeli economy has been going strong, though there are signs that things are changing. Many Israelis believe the cost of living needs to come down and are unhappy that the government plans to raise taxes.”

“There is so much great opportunity in Israel – from high tech to natural resources to real estate – higher and higher.  From people like Tshuva to Mark Birnbaum to many others, opportunity abounds,” said entrepreneur Ron Hershco.


“We are a city of skyscrapers. We are a city of towers.” That’s what Empire State Development Corporation Chairman Charles Gargano said last week, casting Brooklyn as the new Manhattan — a vision for the borough that many longtime residents and the newer Manhattan exiles simply do not share.

Gargano was talking specifically about Bruce Ratner’s proposed Atlantic Yards mega-developement — which would not be finished until 2016 at the earliest — but his dream of a skyscraper-filled Brooklyn is becoming a reality even before Ratner puts a spade in the ground.

The Downtown Brooklyn Plan — an upzoning and condemnation law passed two years ago — is finally bearing young with at least eight buildings on the drawing board for just a short stretch of Flatbush Avenue Extension from the Manhattan Bridge to Willoughby Street.

Here are some details:

• In April, developers Ron Hershco and Dean Palin broke ground at 303 Gold St. for a residential and retail tower — the first building within the Downtown plan.

This fall, construction will begin on the 40-story building’s 35-story twin at 313 Gold St. (both are pictured near right).

Taken together, the buildings represent a $400-million investment that will add 517 luxury condos to attract more Gaphattanites to Brooklyn.

• Thor Equities — the company that gave us plans for a Coney Island Xanadu — is in the preliminary phases of a 60-story tower called Albee Square West, which would rise near the Fulton Mall just west of Flatbush Avenue Extension (far right, top).

A spokesman for the developer said only that the building would contain 1.4 million square feet of offices, residential units and retail.

• Back on the east side of Flatbush, on Myrtle Avenue, Gristedes supermarket king John Catsimatidis is getting ready to break ground on his 400-foot tower, a building that would look quite at home on the new Upper West Side — which used to feel a lot like low-rise Brooklyn until developers went crazy (far right, bottom).

Catsimatidis told The Brooklyn Papers that his building will be “combination residential, including some low-income units and dorm space for Long Island University, plus essential services.”

“I’ve been a New Yorker all my life,” he said. “I want to make sure we have locksmiths and hardware stores and supermarkets and a place like Woolworth’s. Where have they all gone?”

He called his million-square-foot building a “perfect place for the middle-class — just five minutes from Manhattan.”

• Across the street, a company called BFC Development says it will build a 40-story, $200-million residential tower designed by the famous architectural firm, Skidmore Owings and Merrill.

The company did not return calls from The Brooklyn Papers.

• And just this week, a rendering of a new high-rise (inset) popped into our in baskets: Muss Development’s 32-story “One Brooklyn Plaza” tower at the intersection of Boerum Place, Fulton Street and Livingston Street (so long, Red Hook Lane, we hardly knew ye).

The building would be entirely filled with offices — no residential — with retail on the ground floor.

Taken together, the corridor from the Manhattan Bridge to Fulton Street is really going to make people look up.

“When we leave Brooklyn, we say, ‘Oy vey,’” Borough President Markowitz said at the 303 Gold St. groundbreaking. “But now, when we enter Brooklyn from the Manhattan Bridge, we will say ‘Oh wow!’”

If you like skyscrapers, that is.

Israeli technology company Magic Software recently announced that BNP real estate would use its key eBroker sales application using the Magic xpa Application Platform. The new application allows all information about the company’s real-estate assets to be used by all of BNP Real Estate salespeople.

In addition to desktop access, salespeople can now access the application on their iPads while in the field. The application fully complies with the BNP Paribas Group’s security policy since connections are made using a highly secure RSA authentication token, data transits via 3G network or by Wi-Fi, and the IS Department implemented a new mobile device infrastructure.

“Technology is always changing in real estate and much like other industries, Israeli software assists many companies with their needs.  Real estate and technology in Israel are both booming industries,” said Ron Hershco of Hershco Properties.

“Magic is proud of our close working relationships with our customers. By understanding BNP Real Estate’s specific needs we were able to guide them use to leverage Magic xpa’s RIA technology,” said Eric Choppe, the Managing Director of Magic.

Buying a home can often prove to be a complex process. United Homes however aims to streamline the experience by guiding their clients through every phase of the transaction.

Founded by Ron Hershco, United Homes is recognized as a premier real estate investor in the New York City metropolitan area. Its mission is to provide high quality affordable living, excellent customer service and to make home buying a simple and enjoyable experience.
For over seven years, they have developed and sold homes and condominiums throughout the five boroughs. With offices in Brooklyn and Queens, the company has had a hand in reshaping numerous communities.

“We like to build in areas that are in need of rejuvenation,” said Wayne Fulton, marketing director of United Homes. The company develops 1 to 4 family homes for their clients. They especially take pride in offering homebuyers newly constructed homes rather than old homes that require repairs and renovations.

“We want to make our client's vision of owning a home a reality,” Mr. Fulton said. With a strong focus on customer care, United Homes gives their clients detailed one-on-one consultations. Most of their business actually comes from referrals.

While real estate remains a solid long-term investment, the company realizes that purchasing a home is not an easy task. “Which is why we stand by our clients from the beginning to the end of the process,” Mr. Fulton said. United Homes goes as far as providing clients with a list of mortgage brokers and lenders from which their clients can choose. Mr. Fulton went on to say, “We just want to make home buying a smooth and easy process.”

Aside from building beautiful new homes, United Homes also tries to assist in revamping the community. In September 2005, United Homes donated a new two-story, 10,700 square foot learning annex to the New York City Department of Education for students at P.S. 43 in Far Rockaway, Queens.

United Homes Queens office is located at 139-27 Queens Boulevard, Rego Park. For more information, call 718-523-0829. You can also call the Customer Care Department at 800-294-9742 to set up an appointment with a consultant.

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