CORE’s Tim Crowley Is an Urban Dreamer

Real Estate WeeklyMarch 13, 2015

CORE’s director of new development Tim Crowley wants to bring the city to the suburbs.


Crowley, who joined CORE in January from architecture and development firm Flank, has a passion for new urbanism, which isn’t surprising considering the slew of successful projects he’s worked on in the biggest urban center in the U.S.


Formerly with Flank, he oversaw marketing and brokerage services for a number of projects in NYC, including sales at 224 Mulberry Street in Nolita, where condos fetched $3,400 p/s/f, and projects 265 State Street in Boerum Hill, 385 W. 12th Street in the West Village, 441 East 57th Street in Sutton Place, The Novare at 135 W. 4th Street, and one of his most notable projects, The Abingdon at 320 W. 12th Street, which broke downtown conversion records.


One of Crowley’s biggest passions is the concept of new urbanism, which is the idea of bringing an urban, walkable lifestyle to suburban areas. While in college, Crowley explored the idea in some of his internships, and looks to work on urbanism projects in the future.


“The things that are wonderful about New York City and that bring people here and excite people, are the pedestrian lifestyle,” he said. “Being able to walk out the front door and go down the street and go to a restaurant, or get a massage, etc., you can all do without getting in a car.”


He was inspired by Andrés Duany, an architect and urban planner who wrote Crowley’s favorite book, “Suburb Nation.” Duany is one of the founders of DPZ, a Florida-based architecture and town planning firm.


New urbanism attempts to recreate that experience in suburban environments – creating denser neighborhoods with more diversity, and walkable environments with shared public spaces, and cutting down on the prevalence and dependence on cars.


“I’d love to at some point in my career, take the beauty of an urban environment and figure out a way to make it work in suburban environments,” he said. He added that he’d love to eventually do a project with Duany.


Crowley grew up splitting his time between South Carolina and Southampton, Bermuda, where his stepfather was the general manager of the Southampton Princess, a luxury resort, and later, when Crowley was attending college, the COO of Tucker’s Point Club Development Company, which developed luxury resorts.


Having grown up in a real estate family (his mother was also a hospitality consultant for bed and breakfasts all across the southeast) real estate was always on the horizon for him.


Crowley went to the University of South Carolina, where he studied history and real estate finance. His first job after graduating college was at Sotheby’s International Realty in NYC, where he worked in marketing.


“My brother lived in New York City when I graduated college and the day I graduated I was bartending at a bar in Columbia (South Carolina) and two friends in law school were driving to New York for winter break and asked if I wanted a ride, and I said I did,” recalled Crowley. “So I got in the car and have been here ever since.”


After his stint at Sotheby’s, Crowley worked for Louise Sunshine and the Sunshine Group, before its merger with Corcoran, where he was a jack-of-all-trades – starting as a marketing manager, then project manager, then worked directly with Louise.


The position eventually took him to Florida for a project called the Brazilian Court hotel-condo in Palm Beach, where he ended up staying in Florida for awhile until the project was complete. He stayed with the Sunshine Group for four years, and was there during the company’s merger with Corcoran.


Following that position, Crowley was looking to get closer the development process and understand how buildings “were capitalized and constructed and delivered,” which is what took him to Flank.


He again wore several hats, from project management, to human resources, to payroll.


“It’s a small shop so you do a little of everything,” he said. “I was there for eight years, and because we controlled and managed every phase of the real estate development process, I was able to learn a great deal about how deals are structured, and buildings designed, built and sold.”


Now at the helm of new development at CORE, Crowley is working on several projects in the works that he can’t discuss yet, but some are boutique projects in “notable” neighborhoods as well as larger projects affiliated with Related Companies.


“I liked working on all of them, they all present very interesting challenges,” he said. “I’ve been working on boutique projects with Flank for eight years and it has been incredibly rewarding, you get to create a sense of home in all these apartments, which you don’t necessarily get to do with a high-rise.”


However, Crowley also enjoys the challenges unique to larger-scale buildings.


“Working on large buildings can be as engaging and interesting, because you’re trying to create an environment that has more shared concepts, and needs to function very well and is luxurious and important on a much larger scale,” he said. “They’re both tremendously challenging and rewarding for different reasons.”


Being a part of constructing homes and often conceptualizing retail environments near the homes has always been a passion of Crowley’s.


“It’s a very romantic notion,” he said. “Real estate development is one of the very rare industries that can be rewarding from an art perspective and a financial perspective. It’s not like pushing stocks across the screen where the main focus is wealth; our main focus is compelling real environments and 3D spaces that are extraordinarily important and meaningful for the people inhabiting them. Being able to write that narrative is really rewarding.”


Crowley, who lives in Tribeca, is an avid surfer and enjoys playing golf at the club he is a member of in Greenwich, CT. He has spent considerable time in Indonesia and Nicaragua and has a trip planned to Nicaragua in April.