As her firm launches sales at the new eco-friendly Jade 8 in Gowanus this month, Warren Lewis Realty president Aroza Sanjana is feeling some good karma.
“Jade 8 is a nice match for what we stand for,” said Sanjana, a former sales executive who founded her own real estate development firm and who purchased the Brooklyn-based Warren Lewis brokerage last year.
Describing the luxury condo as “modern” and “cutting-edge,” while still adhering to traditional Brooklyn architecture, Sanjana said she has tried to breathe new life into the 25-year old firm from the top down.
Since taking the helm early in 2011, she has hired a stable of top brokers, streamlined the Park Slope company’s website, obtained REBNY accreditation and opened a second office in Williamsburg.
“It’s been a wonderful experience from day one,” said India-born Sanjana, who moved to New York City with her family when she was 12.Sanjana attended Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan and then went on to Barnard College, where she studied Psychology and Economics.
She began her career with AT&T in the computer division before earning her MBA and becoming and executive in the Strategic Business Unit of telecommunications giant, MCI.
But overseeing 150 sales people and $230 million in revenue demanded significant time on the road and, with two teenaged sons at home — one of whom is Autistic — Sanjana wanted to devote more time to them.
“Traveling was taking away from time with my family. When they saw my suitcase, it was heart wrenching. I wanted to be able to come home every night. I looked for an alternate career that would let me be there when my sons needed me,” she said.
That’s when Sanjana plunged head first into real estate, becoming a sales person and a REBNY New York Residential Specialist. Within two years, she founded Atlantic Realty Partners, a brokerage that specialized in new development condominiums throughout New York City.
While the global recession adversely impacted sales, apartment rentals have enjoyed steady growth, particularly in Brooklyn where average monthly rents have steadily climbed since 2009. Brooklyn’s 4Q11 average was $2,311, 12.53% higher than the first quarter of 2010, according to the most recent MNS Brooklyn Rental Market Report.Sanjana leveraged her success at ARP to partner with her husband, Jose Nunez, on the purchase of Warren Lewis Realty, a company she said stood out on the local real estate scene as among the most reputable.
“People spoke highly of them,” Sanjana said of her decision. “And Park Slope is such a great neighborhood. You walk around and it feels like a small town. You wave to everyone as you walk by, the store owners know you, and friendships have been there for 20 years.”
Despite recent expansion, she said her focus is to keep Warren Lewis Realty — which has been specializing primarily in Brooklyn property since 1987 — centered on New York’s most populous borough.
“People find that our site is extremely easy to use,” she said. “Open the website, and Brooklyn real estate is right there. It speaks to who we are.”
Sanjana is excited to be launching sales at Jade 8 in the emerging Gowanus market, where rumors of re-zoning are fueling a land rush among residential developers.
With one contract already signed for the most expensive unit in the building — a 1,475 s/f penthouse — Sanjana said she’s confident the building will be a hit.
“Selling one of our highest priced homes just as we’re officially launching the building demonstrates the appeal of Jade 8 and the level of confidence buyers are already expressing in this unique new residential building,” she said. “The combination of dramatic living spaces, upscale finishes and appointments, advanced energy-efficient systems and materials, and a limited offering which translates to a more intimate lifestyle and a quicker sell-out, is already proving to be a winning formula.”
The eight-unit condo at 186 8th Street includes two-bedroom simplexes with private balconies, one-bedroom garden duplexes, and three-bedroom Penthouse duplexes with balconies and private decks priced from $725,000 to $1,150,000State-of-the-art Green construction techniques will provide greater comfort and lower energy bills as energy-saving features make them more efficient than conventional condos, said Sanjana, adding that buyers will be able to immerse themselves in a community that now boasts a vibrant selection of galleries and restaurants and the classic urban feel of a factory-filled neighborhood reclaimed by entrepreneurs and artists.
Warren Lewis Realty is also listing some select Park Slope properties, including a $2.45 million seven bedroom brownstone on Third Street and a $1.15 million 6th Avenue penthouse.In keeping with tradition, Sanjana has continued Warren Lewis Realty’s unique multi-bid system, where offers from clients are openly negotiated.
And while business continues to boom, Sanjana said the biggest bonus to her success in real estate has been the opportunity to spend more time with her family.
No longer on the road, she has been able to strengthen her philanthropic endeavors in education and autism awareness and focus on her kids. “The nice part is we get to spend time with each other now,” she said.