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Engel & Volkers, one of the world’s leading global residential real estate firms, with representation in 38 countries across six continents, announced recently the opening of its first office in Manhattan, to be called Engel & Volkers NYC. Launched by a Hamburg-based firm that has been under consistent, private ownership for the past 37 years, the brokerage office located at 430 Park Avenue is unique even by New York standards.

“While we have always set our sights on having a New York City brokerage, we wanted to wait until the timing was right in terms of the global market and the leadership involved,” says Christian Volkers, founder and CEO of Engel & Volkers. “Our expansion has always been driven by our clients, and we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the demand for U.S. real estate in recent years.”

According to research from RealtyTrac, a real estate information company, interest in U.S. real estate from buyers in Germany, Italy and Switzerland alone has increased by 95 percent, 178 percent and 269 percent respectively since 2009.

“The surge in demand is such that the New York office received several referrals from our other Engel & Volkers offices before they officially opened, with referred buyers from Rome and Zurich visiting the office in the last 10 days,” Volkers continued.

Volkers tapped international and New York City industry expert Stuart Siegel to serve as Engel & Volkers NYC’s president and CEO. Siegel brings nearly 30 years of experience leading luxury lifestyle, real estate, hospitality and design-driven businesses in New York and abroad. Siegel began his career as one of the first employees at Sotheby’s International Realty in 1981 and served as the firm’s president and CEO from 1991 to 2006, growing the firm substantially prior to its 2004 acquisition by Cendant (now Realogy). From 2006 to 2013, Siegel managed a global advisory firm working primarily in Italy, Switzerland and the Middle East, where he spearheaded high-profile development projects including Castiglion del Bosco, a six-star hotel, culinary school and golf course in Tuscany; and Adermatt Swiss Alps, a fully integrated ski community and resort in Switzerland’s Usern Valley.

Siegel and Volkers met early in their careers and worked together periodically as their businesses evolved over the years. They met again in New York in late 2013 and began the process of launching the New York City office.

“Market demand was clearly there, so after discussing the opportunity with Stuart, I knew we were ready to open Engel & Volkers NYC,” says Volkers. “Stuart understands both the dynamics of the New York market and the strength of our global platform, having spent significant time working in New York and abroad, and especially with Engel & Volkers. He’s a strong leader who will build a robust brokerage team.”

Joining Siegel is Laura DesMoine, senior vice president of brokerage marketing of Engel & Volkers NYC, also formerly with Sotheby’s International Realty, where she most recently held the position of executive vice president of marketing for the firm’s wholly-owned brokerage offices. In that role, DesMoine led the marketing and communications efforts in the acquisition of more than 10 real estate firms, helping the company triple in size in two years.

Together, Siegel and DesMoine will introduce Engel & Volkers’ service-based European culture to the New York market. The duo will focus on onboarding sales advisors who are in line with Engel & Volkers’ brand and eager to leverage the firm’s international footprint.

“No other firm in New York has a more globally integrated structure and culture than Engel & Volkers,” says Siegel. “In addition to linking all of their offices seamlessly through technology, events and marketing programs, Engel & Volkers operates six real estate academies around the world. The brand provides our agents the opportunity to access an established platform where they are empowered to think and work globally and grow their business.”

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