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Five Questions for Edward Joseph, Broker for the Sale of I.M. Pei’s Townhouse

Mr. Joseph discusses his theater background, rock & roll, joining Christie’s International Real Estate’s New York brokerage and the synergy between fine and built art

Edward Joseph, a top New York City real estate broker for 22 years, joined Christie’s International Real Estate in 2018 and is now representing the sale of I.M. Pei’s Sutton Place townhouse, a residence of rare provenance.

Mr. Pei, arguably the greatest architect of all time, and his wife, Eileen, acquired their home from Laura “Polly” Delano, President Franklin Roosevelt’s cousin, more than 45 years ago. The historic residence, located in a quiet and tree-lined enclave of New York City, is artfully infused with Mr. Pei’s keen architectural eye. The breathtaking staircase with its geometric skylight, walls of windows overlooking the private park and three of four fireplace mantles are all of Mr. Pei’s creative vision.

Mr. Joseph, who has achieved record sales throughout Manhattan and has been honored repeatedly for his business achievements through the years, sat down for a conversation with Luxury Defined.

I.M. Pei enjoyed his Sutton Place home for 45 years where he sketched drafts of his enduring international designs recognized worldwide.

You and your team joined the New York City brokerage of Christie’s International Real Estate last year. Why make this change?

When Christie’s opened their New York City real estate brokerage and after meeting Dan Conn, the CEO, I knew I had to be a part of this innovative brokerage firm and joined soon after. My first career was in the theater. I have since seen the synergy between the arts and built art every day of my 22-year real estate career. Nowhere is this connection as strong as it is here at Christie’s International Real Estate.

Left to right: Christie’s International Real estate’s New York City brokerage agents, Elena Palankerina, Edward Joseph and Serena Robinett.

You are representing the sale of I.M. Pei’s New York townhouse and have a unique connection to I.M. Pei, having grown up in Cleveland, Ohio

I.M. Pei’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is a landmark on the Cleveland skyline. I am so proud that this master architect designed an iconic building in my hometown. What is interesting is that Mr. Pei originally turned down the commission, explaining that he knew little about rock and roll. He reconsidered, studied intensely, and envisioned the most beautiful structure that continues to put Cleveland in the global spotlight. Despite his immense success and acclaim, Mr. Pei never stopped striving, daring, innovating, and learning. He continues to be such an inspiration to me.

I am privileged to help find the next owner for Mr. Pei’s beloved home in New York City.

Edward Joseph grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, home of I.M. Pei's Rock & Roll Hall of Fame masterpiece.

Tell us more about being a theater director and how that experience influenced your career transition to become one of the top real estate brokers in New York City

Theater is about audience engagement and endless preparation to tell a compelling story and also achieve results, that being a communion between the audience and the actors on stage. I think the same can be said about luxury real estate. Homes at this price point have a story to tell and I consider myself a storyteller and even more importantly, a strong communicator to bring buyers and sellers together to close the sale.

I started directing in Cleveland, then founded my own theater company in Denver, Colorado. Next stop was New York, where I directed off-Broadway productions. I was involved with the purchase and sale of several apartments with my family when I was in my thirties and enjoyed the experience immensely. When the time came to consider a career change, real estate stood out and a friend advised me to put my directing and communication skills learned in the theater to my best advantage. I did. I’ve been a real estate broker in New York City since. I have sold townhouses on the Upper West Side, luxury apartments on Park and Fifth Avenues, condos in Midtown, and penthouses and lofts in Tribeca and SoHo. I love New York and know it well.

The home looks out on a private park shared by Sutton Place residents and offering serene garden and river views.

What is the current state of the New York market?

Right now, we are experiencing a buyer’s market. There are different types of buyer’s markets. I have penned a phrase on this one “that it is a very active buyer’s market,” meaning that buyers are not sitting on the sidelines and not buying. They are out there looking for homes that are priced right in accordance with market demand and then they are buying. A buyer’s market puts a premium on value.

When priced right, we are actually seeing bidding wars. Sometimes it can be difficult to convince sellers of this fact, but after a property sits on the market for a while, this reality generally sinks in with sellers.

Edward Joseph brings 22 years experience in selling luxury properties in New York City and is honored to represent the I.M. Pei estate

Final thoughts, as a top New York broker, what makes you most proud about your achievements?

Beyond sales results, I am most proud of the number of former clients who either return or refer me to their friends and colleagues. That is satisfying to me, to know that I built a relationship and delivered expertise and impeccable client service.