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Broker uses video skill to market 325 Hudson St.

Disturbed by the spread of drugs and violent crime in his West Village neighborhood, real estate broker Larry Prince used his video camera to film dealers and other perpetrators for the police. The result has been a reduction in crime.

Now, Prince, director of Sales and Leasing for Bruce Watkins & Co. Inc, is using his video skill to market real estate, namely 325 Hudson Street.

Midtown-based Bruce Watkins & Co. is the exclusive agent for the Downtown office property owned by Quotron Systems, Inc., a subsidiary of Citicorp. Quotron is seeking to sell and lease back the top three floors and part of the basement of the 10-floor building located at the northwest corner of Hudson and Vandam Street.

Prince said he decided to make a video touting the building, completed in 1966, and its SoHo environs -- restaurants, surrounding properties, and transportation access -- because he didn't think most brokers would be familiar with the area.

"I decided that most brokers and tenants would have no idea where Hudson and Vandam Streets are," he said.

The print ads for the property instruct brokers to call for more information and a copy of the video. Prince believes the video has sparked a great deal of interest. "It's created quite a sensation," he said. Prince said he saved considerably because he filmed and edited the video himself. The cost of doing a video with an outside vendor, he said, would be between $10,000 and $100,000 depending on the quality.

"What I've saved," he said, "I can put into advertising and tell people there is a video."

Prince said he has used video on individual deals before, but this is the first time he has used it for mass marketing.

Neighborhood Watch

Prince, who resides on Jane Street, first discovered the practical uses of video as an outraged citizen. His cousin was murdered in his neighborhood and the slaying of a young ad executive outside Prince's apartment building sparked a New York Magazine cover story titled "Nightmare on Jane Street."

"On a Saturday night in a four-block stretch, you could count 75 drug dealers," he said.

Since the police cannot photograph or film alleged perpetrators without just cause, Prince and others videotaped and took pictures, for local community groups, of offenders performing criminal acts. The evidence was then presented to the Manhattan South Narcotics division, the Department of Drug Enforcement and others.

It was also community concern that sparked Prince's interest in 325 Hudson Street. Quotron was set to sell the property to the city for a 24-hour drop-in center for the homeless.

"The community was in an uproar," Prince said.

Prince telephoned Quotron and told them they were marketing the building improperly and they were set to "make a deal that can't be made."

Two days later he received a call from Quotron and after a number of meetings Bruce Watkins & Co. was given the exclusive.
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Title Annotation:real estate broker Larry Prince of Bruce Watkins and Co., uses video tape to sell commercial building in New York, New York
Author:Fitzgerald, Therese
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Mar 31, 1993
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