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Centurion Real Estate Partners founding partner John Tashjian and Robert Schlesinger
The old rule of relocating to Connecticut, New Jersey, or Westchester after starting a family no longer applies—residents aren’t necessarily leaving NYC as fast as they used to, so larger apartments are at a premium, Centurion Real Estate Partners founding partner John Tashjian, tells us. (Fitting the picket fence in the elevator lobby is also a challenge.) There’s a huge price differential—three bedrooms command twice as much as two bedrooms, and four bedrooms are double that, says John, whom we snapped with Robert Schlesinger atop his Madison Avenue office building. Now when Centurion buys multifamily assets in NYC, it has to take water, schools, and parks into account. Take Battery Park City's 264-unit Riverhouse, where Centurion stepped in and replaced the old sponsor. “We took a blank-canvas approach and instead marketed it toward the young professionals who wanted to focus on family living,” he says.
Riverhouse, Battery Park City, NY
Marketing efforts included filming children of families already living in the building, above, and using the videos in pre-movie trailers at a Battery Park movie theater. It was “immensely successful” in getting families to take a look at the building, John says. It also had to convince residents that new sponsorship was taking the building in the right direction. Centurion took tours of competing properties as a fake potential buyer to see how they were marketed and priced. (This could be a boon for costume shops during the Halloween off-season.) The result: it took pricing down 10%, and deals fell into place. In turn, it restored market confidence in the building, and it went from a stalled 70% to over 90% sold in a year, with only 20 units remaining. It also signed Le Pain Quotidien to lease the retail space. Centurion applied the same family and community approach to the 595-unit Beacon condos in San Francisco’s Mission Bay, which sold out in two years.
2700 Colorado, Santa Monica, CA
Centurion mainly operates in three markets—New York, LA, and San Francisco. While multifamily is its main focus in NY, it targets entertainment industry office users on the West Coast, owning assets like Disney Channel’s 3800 Alameda HQ in Burbank and MTV’s 2700 Colorado HQ, above, in Santa Monica. John triple majored in college, including communications. “If I could, I would have been a concert promoter,” he says. But part of him said investment banking, and he went to work for Kidder Peabody, where he thought he would be in the media and entertainment group. But on his first day, he learned that he was instead placed in the short-staffed real estate group. After 11 years with the same group (and two mergers with PaineWebber and UBS), he launched Centurion with Jeff Worthe eight years ago.