By Al Barbarino
In 1992, Manhattan native Timour Shafran was a hungry, young broker in his early twenties, putting long hours in at DLC Realty Inc., scouring his rolodex for leads and leaving no stone unturned.
The real estate market was climbing out from the depths of recession and a frustrated Shafran said deals were few and far between.
“The early 90’s were just misery in real estate,” Shafran, 42, said. “I could not make a deal happen if I paid for it. Really, I canvassed all day long and it felt like I got nowhere. I was on this treadmill of people just saying, ‘No, no, no.’”
The memories make Shafran, managing partner at Citicore, thankful about where he — and the market — is now. Today, it’s the banks that are saying, “No, no, no,” he said, making multi-family property — a Citicore specialty — one of the safest bets around.
“Apartment houses in general are a great safe haven in New York City and that’s where people seem to be running to,” he said. “People can’t buy. They can’t afford the 20 percent or the 25 percent down payment. Either that, or they have some sort of blemish on their credit from the last three and a half years of misery.”
Shafran’s stint at DLC led to management opportunities at Aegis Realty Corp. and then at Capin & Associates, where he spent the last 13 years of his career as a broker and vice president.
In January, he called up the same hungry spirit from those early days at DLC, and he and colleague Gem Algan, a former chief accountant at Capin, broke away from their former employer and re-launched Citicore.
“Seeing that the market was coming back, we knew that we wanted to take advantage of the rising tide,” Shafran said.
“I have to admit, I learned a lot at Capin,” Algan added. But, he said, “We wanted to do things differently. We just had to move on.”
Originally a development ownership company, the re-launch of Citicore put in place a brokerage arm, with a continued focus on multi-family properties and commercial properties in emerging neighborhoods, as well as some consulting work. Citicore was founded by Shafran’s father in 1977 after he emigrated from Palestine to the United States.
“He really seized the American dream,” Shafran said of his father, who is still on board at the firm and specializes in development deals. “When I was eight-years-old, I was running around to construction sites with him. I would say I really learned the business the old-fashioned way.”
Shafran and Algan, now co-managing partner at Citicore, first clicked last April, when they started working through a $31 million, five-building transaction that they eventually closed in November while they still worked for Capin.
“We brought different things to the table,” Shafran said. “His strengths and my strengths are different, so it works.”
The partners currently employ six other real estate professionals, but they plan to fill all 18 desks in their nearly 4,000 s/f office space at 226 West 47th Street within the next few months.
“I’m looking for young, energetic, hungry brokers who understand that, when you work as a team, you will succeed far better than as an independent contractor,” he said. “I would tell most brokerage firms to look out, because we intend on becoming very large.”