The Real DealJanuary 01, 2013The CORE CEO walks TRD through a typical day, as he bikes up to 75 miles, juggles pricey listings and plays the sax
6:30 a.m. I usually wake up at 6:30. Half the week I stay in Port Washington, on Long Island. That’s where my two beautiful daughters live. The days when I don’t have my girls, I’m on West 9th Street, where I share a townhouse with my girlfriend, Brittley Jarrell, who is the chief operating officer of Core. I’ve always been very active — I work out about four or five times a week. It’s usually a bike ride, between 20 to 75 miles [before work], and it’s usually loops in Central Park. Today, I ran seven miles along the Hudson. I also try to meet with my trainer once a week, to do push-ups, pull-ups, the rowing machine and rope-climbing, like back in my army days in South Africa. I was in the army for two years. There was six months of basic training, which was brutal. I was living in the bush, crazy stuff.
7:30 a.m. When I stay on Long Island, I take my daughters to school. Then I go home and start checking emails on my iPhone. There’s a 9:11 train that I usually take into the city. When I’m here, I will help Brittley take her boys to school. Then I will hop in the shower and do my emails from the apartment.
10:00 a.m. to noon Most mornings, I’m in the office by 10. Today, I had a conference call with the sales team at 93 Worth, a 92-unit condo conversion in Tribeca. Sales started in early December, and more than a dozen contracts have been signed already. Whenever you open a building, you have nearly constant engagement with the sales team and the developer. The first two weeks are very intense.
But it’s a good problem to have. I spend about 15 to 20 percent of my time working on new business, which means meeting with new agents. We have about 70 employees, and we have two offices. We’re opening a third one, on the Upper East Side [at 673 Madison Avenue], in mid-February. It will be a showroom and will house 30 agents.
Noon I don’t really do lunch meetings because they’re long, and I only have so many hours in the day. So, I usually eat on the run or get something in the office. A turkey sandwich, that’s usually my go-to, but I pretty much eat anything. Last Wednesday I had a meeting at noon with Michael Stern, managing partner of JDS Development Group, which is building Walker Tower, a 53-unit condo. We met at the sales office in Chelsea. The project is going well. We’ve sold a significant amount. [StreetEasy shows that 40 percent of the building has sold.]
2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Sometimes I will drop by our office on Seventh Avenue to check in, and an agent will pull me aside to ask about a deal. For example, Emily Beare needed advice on a $95 million listing she has at 15 Central Park West. We have property lists of people who are really affluent, so we reach out and let them know the unit is available. Emily also represented the seller, Leroy Schecter, in his purchase of the Rothschild Mansion on the Upper East Side for $25 million. I pulled some comps together and helped with the negotiation.
5:00 p.m. If I have my girls, I’m heading home to be with them. I am very involved with their after-school activities, so I will take Ava [who is 11] to tennis and pick up Ella [who is 6] from dancing. I love to cook — maybe some chicken, or pasta, though my recipes are expanding. And Ava likes to bake, so once a week after dinner, we’re baking.
6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. If I’m in the city, I will go home and play sax for a while. I keep a tenor sax in Manhattan; my two altos are on Long Island. I keep my soprano sax here [at Core’s headquarters, at Fifth Avenue and 16th Street] and sometimes I play at night when nobody is around. The acoustics are really good in here. I played the sax in jazz bands — I played at the Blue Note, the Cupping Room Café and the Village Gate before it became a CVS. Every once in a while I will still go to see jazz, like at the Village Vanguard.
8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. I skip the charity events; I usually just write a check. So we will have dinner in the apartment or go out to Tertulia, on Sixth Avenue, or Alta, on 10th Street. I don’t watch much TV — maybe Monday Night Football, or the Tour de France, or some cricket if it’s on. I also read a lot. I just finished “King Leopold’s Ghost,” about North Africa and the Belgian Congo. I also like GQ and Vanity Fair. And Seth Godin’s blog, about marketing, but I don’t really focus on real estate too much.
10 p.m. onward I’m in bed between 11:30 and 1, depending on how many emails I have. I like to start my day with a clean slate.