Engel & Völkers, the Hamburg, Germany-based real estate company that focuses on luxury residential properties, commercial real estate and yachts, has enjoyed a robust presence in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Having focused and developed its business in those key global markets, the firm has recently begun to pivot towards North America and expanding its presence on this side of the Atlantic.
“[Clients would say] we’ve done business with you in Zürich. We’ve done business with you in Hong Kong. Now, we want to do business with you in New York,” said Stuart Siegel, the president and chief executive officer of Engel & Völkers New York City.
Mr. Siegel, who was previously the president and chief executive officer of Sotheby’s International Realty, was tapped to lead the expansion, and in May 2014, Engel & Völkers announced it created its first office in New York and had begun to broker properties.
Today, Mr. Siegel’s group is marketing multimillion dollar residences to a largely international clientele (on the Engel & Völkers New York City website, prices are also listed in euros, as are the various languages brokers speak).
The New York branch of the company chose to make 6,000 square feet on the 11th floor of 430 Park Avenue, between East 55th and East 56th Streets, its home.
“We felt that it was important to have a Midtown location with a very recognizable address,” said Mr. Siegel. “We also wanted to be fully integrated into our corporate and national development group,” which also had a presence at the property.
The clean, modern space was designed to match the company’s brand identity. According to Peter Jensen, the design director for New York-based architecture firm G3, the space is “dressed in a neutral, but high-contrast palette,” with white and black walls with a touch of red.
“The expansion features open ceilings, exposed ductwork, and suspended lighting, creating a rugged elegance,” said Mr. Jensen, who was involved in the main aspects of the design for the space. There is also a liberal use of glass at the office, ensuring an abundance of natural light and views of Park Avenue.
“It’s a very international look,” said Mr. Siegel. “It’s not derivative of any one location or geography. It has a broad style and international appeal.”
Compact offices and bench-style workstations are used to maximize space and ensure the roughly 40 employees are comfortably situated. The setup is well-equipped for hoteling or providing workstations to employees on an as-needed basis.
“I knew I needed architects who would understand the nuances of the New York market, who could also understand, quite honestly, the wide range of work styles that real estate agents have,” said Mr. Siegel. “I have agents here that are in the office every morning at 8 a.m. They like coming in and working from office. I also have other agents who are very good, who I may see once every two or three weeks. I needed to incorporate both of those styles [into the office space] and at the same time protect the corporate brand standards.”