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Brown, Harris, Stevens brokerage purchased.

A group controlled by members of two of New York's most prominent real estate families has acquired the 122-year-old Manhattan real estate brokerage and management firm of Brown, Harris, Stevens.

The new owners include brothers Arthur W. and William Lie Zeckendorf; Kent M. Swig and his business partner, David Burris; and Allied Partners, a private investment company. The firm was acquired from Helmsley Enterprises, Inc., which had owned it since 1964. The price was not disclosed.

It was immediately announced that current senior executives of Brown, Harris, Stevens will remain in place, including president Roger W. Tuckerman, who has been at the helm for the past six years.

"We have absolute confidence in this team and look forward to a long and successful business relationship," the owners said in a joint statement.

Other key members of senior management include Donald C. Goodwin, executive vice president for management; Alan Kersner, treasurer; and Hall Willkie and Julia Willkie, brother and sister, who are senior vice presidents for brokerage and management, respectively.

Brown, Hams, Stevens, one of the city's oldest and best known real estate firms, manages 128 cooperative and condominium residences, including many of Manhattan's most distinguished addresses. Among them are 720, 730 and 740 Park Avenue; The Dakota at 1 West 72nd Street; 834 and 960 Fifth Avenue; 1 Sutton Place South and 30 Sutton Place. In all, the firm manages nearly 10,000 apartments, about a third of which are on Fifth and Park Avenues.

In addition, Brown, Harris, Stevens has arranged many of the most notable apartment and townhouse transact ions in Manhattan. For example, the firm is exclusive agent for the pending sale of the late Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis' Fifth Avenue apartment.

The new ownership added that it plans "substantial investment" to provide expanded and enhanced services to cooperative and condominiumboards, including state-of-the-art computerized accounting and purchasing systems. In addition, the firm will offer supplemental training in advanced management techniques to its building managers and account executives. Plans also include expanding the appraisal and commercial real estate departments, creating a construction management division, and offering services such as financing and appraisal to streamline apartment sales.

Among the new owners are third-generation owner-developers whose grandparents were in business together 50 years ago. Arthur and William Lie Zeckendorf, co-managing general partners of Zeckendorf Realty, L.P., and grandsons of legendary developer William Zeckendorf. Their father, William Zeckendorf, Jr., also is one of the city's leading developers.

William Lie, 36, has been in the real estate business since 1980, focusing on acquisitions, financing, development and the marketing and sale of condominium and cooperative apartments. He has participated in the development and sale of more than 4,000 condominium apartments, including such projects as The Columbia, Central Park Place, Copley, Zeckendorf Towers and the Park Belvedere condominiums in Manhattan. Recently, he has been involved in third-party projects, including The Mondrian and CitySpire condominiums.

Arthur, who is 35 and has been in real estate since 1981, has divided his attention among the functions of development, asset management, marketing, and property acquisitions and sales. He has served as senior project manager for numerous major residential and commercial developments, including the Columbia, Vanderbilt, Gotham and Park Belvedere condominiums in New York, and Manhattan's Four Seasons Hotel. His asset management responsibilities encompass properties valued at more than $700 million.

Kent M. Swig, 34, is the grandson of Benjamin H. Swig, a founder of Swig, Weiler & Arnow Mgt. Co., a private real estate firm established in 1936. Kent is co-founder and a principal of Swig Burris Equities, Inc., an investment management firm. He also is a principal in Swig Investment Company, the family-owned business, which owns and operates the 3,500-room Fairmont Hotels Group and more than 11 million square feet of prime commercial office space across the nation, including the Grace Building on West 42nd Street in Manhattan. As a former officer of The Macklowe Organization, he served as president of its Manhattan Pacific Management Company division, which managed and leased more than 60 properties in New York City and California.

David Burris, 40, is also co-founder and a principal of Swig Burris Equities and a veteran of The Macklowe Organization. Burris is known for his expertise in asset management and the structuring of complex real estate transactions. He is former senior vice president of Manhattan Pacific Management Company, where he personally negotiated lease deals encompassing 1.32 million square feet in the depths of the early 1990s real estate recession, including two of Manhattan's four largest lease transactions of 1992.

Allied Partners, controlled by Erie Hadar and Brad Reiss, was founded less than two years ago and already has participated as principals in more than $100 million of real estate transactions. Most notable among those deals are the acquisition, together with the Friedland-Penner interests, of 545 Madison Avenue and the funding of a second mortgage on the former Helmsley Palace Hotel, now known as the New York Palace.

Tuckerman began his career at Brown, Harris, Stevens in 1961. Seven years later he joined the firm of Douglas, Gibbons, Holliday & Ives, which later merged to form Douglas Elliman, Gibbons & Ires. He remained there until 1988, then returned to Brown, Harris, Stevens to head its brokerage division. He was named president of the firm in 1989.

Brown, Harris, Stevens traces its origins to 1873, when Charles S. Brown opened an appraisal office in Downtown Manhattan that soon branched out into general brokerage. Brown later became a partner of President Theodore Roosevelt's brother-in-law, Douglas Robbinson, who led the firm into plottage and site assemblage, and was instrumental in developing the city's insurance district around William and John Streets. Robbinson also helped arrange the deal that led to the construction of McKim, Meade & White's Penn Station (in 1910) and its adjacent railroad yards.

With the development of luxury apartment houses on the Upper East Side in the 1920s, the firm became active in building management and merged with Harris, Vought, Inc. to become Brown, Wheelock, Harris, Vought & Co. The firm became Brown, Wheelock, Harris, Steven, Inc. in 1936, and adopted its current name 12 years later.
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Title Annotation:Helmsley Enterprises Inc. sells Brown, Harris, Stevens Inc.
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Mar 15, 1995
Words:1017
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