The same blend of passion, creativity and commitment that first launched Bohemia Realty Group, LLC in 2012, and helped position the privately-held boutique firm as the go-to expert for Harlem and emerging Upper Manhattan neighborhoods ….
… has resulted in an astounding 51 percent increase in sales revenues within the first three quarters of 2014. Moreover, the number of licensed agents and brokers at the firm has also expanded from 45 to 70 since the beginning of the year.
“This is a record growth year for us,” says Sarah Saltzberg, co-founder of Bohemia Realty Group. “It’s a direct reflection of the desirability of living in Harlem and Upper Manhattan and our unique business culture. Our agents are not only making money here, they are fulfilled by the work and camaraderie.”
Ms. Saltzberg, who is also a creator and star of the Tony award-winning musical “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” and co-founder and business partner Jon Goodell have created a second-career haven for performing artists-turned-real estate agents, as well as for others with more conventional earlier career paths. Not surprisingly, Bohemia ’s client list includes a roster of actively working directors, actors, singers and dancers, including a significant portion of the Newsies cast.
With offices at 2101 Frederick Douglass Boulevard, between 113th and 114th Streets, Bohemia Realty Group presents a progressive and contemporary work environment that includes mellow jazz soundtracks in the background and aroma-therapy candles in the reception area. But in addition to a good vibe, the firm provides state-of-the-art computer systems, access to the latest databases, a comprehensive real estate training program for new agents, complimentary fitness workouts in Morningside Park and business sessions with professional coach Greg Young of Broker Heaven. Its highly innovative “B-Bucks” incentive program encourages cooperation among its agents by rewarding them when helping each other with showings, board packages, etc. The in-house collateral may be allocated towards photo shoots, advertising budgets and other services.
Adds Mr. Goodell, “Over the years, the residential brokerage community went from competitive to cutthroat, which to us seemed antithetical to good business practice. Sarah and I have seen how great growth and revenues may be achieved through creative strategies and corporate civility, and that’s going to always be our model.”
In addition to more than doubling commission revenues, four Bohemia Realty agents opened coffee shops in retail spaces of buildings in which they have sold or rented residences. The coffee shops comprise: Chipped Cup (3610 Broadway, between 148th/149th Streets); Manhattanville Coffee (142 Edgecombe Avenue – Bohemia was also exclusive sales agent for 142/Edgecombe condo); Double Dutch ( 2194 Frederick Douglass Blvd. , between 118th /119th Streets); and Lenox Coffee ( 60 West 129th Street between Lenox/Fifth Avenues).
Many of the firm’s brokers and agents have also become involved with Harlem-based educational initiatives and non-profit groups. Ms. Saltzberg, for example, is active with Harlem Children’s Zone, an organization committed to ending child poverty through innovative education programs.
Future plans for Bohemia Realty Group include opening satellite offices in 2015 and continuing to hire qualified agents.