The New York Sun
January 18, 2005

‘QUEEN OF RETAIL’ LEAVES FOR PRUDENTIAL

By Julie Satow

One of the city’s largest residential real estate firms has scored a coup by hiring a broker who has been called the “queen of retail.”

Faith Hope Consolo left Garrick-Aug Worldwide on Friday for Prudential Douglas Elliman, where she will head up an expanded retail division. Neither of the city’s other top residential agencies, the Corcoran Group and Brown Harris Stevens, has a large retail division, and Prudential’s hiring of Ms. Consolo should allow it to offer developers a fuller menu of brokerage services.

“We are heading into an improved economic environment, and retail will continue to take on a more important role in developments,” the president of the appraisal firm Miller Samuell, Jonathan Miller, said. “Faith Hope Consolo is one of the top producers in retail brokerage, and this will certainly give Douglas Elliman the ability to offer developers more rounded services.”

“Today’s trend for new developments is mixed-use, as found in the AOL Time Warner Center with its retail space, condominiums, and hotel,” an educator and consultant for Douglas Elliman, Esther Muller, said.  It was she who introduced Ms. Consolo to the CEO of Prudential Douglas Elliman, Dorothy Herman.

A top retail broker who works with a number of European and Asian retail clients, in the past year alone, Ms. Consolo has brought Barneys Co-Op ot the Upper West Side, found Japanese clothing designer A Bathing Ape its debut American store in SoHo, and signed flagship leases on Madison Avenue for Cartier and Alfred Dunhill and landlords such as Tishman Speyer and Helmsley Enterprises.

Douglas Elliman had an anemic retail division of about five brokers before Ms. Consolo came aboard, Ms. Herman told The New York Sun while on vacation at St. Martin.

“Bringing in Faith, who is known by everyone, it will only enhance our position,” the CEO said. “Faith is also a brand.”

Ms. Consolo started as chairman of the retail leasing and sales division of Douglas-Elliman yesterday with a longtime colleague and managing director at Garrick-Aug Worldwide, Joseph Aquino, who is executive vice president.  Ms. Consolo told the Sun she is also bringing a staff of 12.

The chairman and CEO of Garrick-Aug, Lawrence Selevan, reached on a cell phone call while on a trip in London, dismissed the employees as “temps.”

“Most of them are asking me for jobs because they don’t want to work for her,” he said.  In addition to Ms. Consolo and Mr. Aquino, only one additional broker is leaving, Mr. Selevan said.

“She has no team. That is totally inaccurate. We write the checks. We know,” he said.

Ms. Consolo, who founded Garrick-Aug Worldwide in 1987, spent nearly two decades at the parent firm Garrick-Aug.

“We have been approached by dozens of companies over the years, but I chose to go with Prudential Douglas Elliman because of Dottie,” Ms. Consolo said of Ms. Herman.

“When I met her, I felt an immediate chemistry,” she said. “We have the same vision, we are both brokers, we are both workaholics, and we both have the same dynamic.”

Ms. Muller said she brought the two women together because they had many similarities.

Ms. Consolo was a broker for Ms. Muller’s first company more than 20 years ago.

“Faith Hope is the queen of retail and Douglas Elliman is the king of residential,” Ms. Muller said.

While Ms. Consolo would not discuss her compensation, a source familiar with the negotiations said Prudential Douglas Elliman spent “over $100,000” in renovating her offices on the third floor of its Madison Avenue headquarters.

Mr. Selevan, although expecting Ms. Consolo’s departure, which has been the subject of speculation in the press for months, said: “I’m quite offended she did this before we had a final chance to talk, but somehow I’m not surprised.”

In an apparent gaffe, the advertising department at Douglas Elliman prematurely sent notices Friday touting Ms. Consolo’s new position to a number of real-estate firms, including Garrick-Aug. News of her departure was supposed to be released today.

Late Friday, Garrick-Aug locked Ms. Consolo out of her office. “Everything in the office, including the computers, belongs to Garrick-Aug and it is company policy,” Mr. Selevan said.

“I think very highly of Faith and I can’t say a bad thing about her,” Mr. Selevan said. “But we have had other defections, and we have survived them before, so I’m sure we will survive this one. We have 15 to 20 other brokers who are just exceptional.”

He said Garrick-Aug would not replace Ms. Consolo. “We are looking at merging with a company in London that would replace Faith’s ability to get clients in Europe and elsewhere,” Mr. Selevan said.

He said he couldn’t name the company because the deal has yet to
be signed.