Gurney's Inn
November 14, 2007

Realty Takes

Different Kinds Of Green

We all know what "green" means in business. In real estate, it can't be under the table. In the eighties when there was a surge of foreign investments out East, particularly from the Philippines and Hong Kong, which were looking for safe places for their money, many deals were made from suitcases in the trunk of a car packed with "green."

But today we have another kind of green budding in a real estate industry both fiercely competitive and specifically unstable. (Again we point out that the broker shouldn't lose because of market fluctuations that are generic to the business. The only constant besides the speed of light in the real estate business, particularly prime resort properties, is that it is non-fungible; they are not making it anymore, Bub.)

Industry people seem to be tripping over each other first as artsy/cultural centers rather than mere percentage people in the trading of properties. They are now becoming, highlighting with edifying press releases about the glories of being green. (After all, the ultimate "green" spokesman did get a Nobel Prize!)

We wrote about Project Green House last July. Remember the broker who was doing a "three-bedroom, two-bathroom house" saving energy in ways and terms not common to everyday speech? Then, last week, we wrote about the "eco-broker" designation referring to a Shelter Island broker so awarded by EcoBroker International's CEO, Dr. John Beldock.

The broker was learning the technology to pass along to customers and clients. "Shelter Island needs more contributors like Penelope. The planet and our grandchildren need them too," proclaimed Dr. Beldock.

This week, we have green converts of another kind that require restaurant connections and a constant in eating styles. Long time broker Bob Scribner – CEO, Real Hamptons Realty with offices in Westhampton Beach and Southampton Village – services the complete South Fork. That's a lot of ground to cover.

When Bob pulls up in the massive Suburban to pick up his clients, there is an eco-friendly surprise. He is no longer burning diesel and polluting the atmosphere.

Mr. Scribner writes he is "investing about $5000," having converted his "huge suburban to burn on used fryer oil." He is crediting "John Gambino of the Baby Moon Restaurant" and other local restaurants for providing their used oil from deep fryers when they change out. Mr. Scribner then converts this in his garage and burns it in his Suburban. Since the oil is from vegetables, it is zero hydrocarbon emission.

There is also the other kind of green benefit. Broker Scribner estimates saving over $7000 the first year. He will explain it all if you call him.

Does this mean we eat less greens and enough fried food to carry a broker through both South Fork towns annually? Yes, well, the investment seems to work unless people change their eating habits. It is, as you all well know, the little changes that can bust a trend.

Judi Desiderio, Town & Country Real Estate CEO, says she "happened to stumble upon an article . . .[Realty Takes] . . . I missed on co-exclusives . . .The client instituted this when exclusives became the trend and they didn't want to pick one over the other."

We wrote several articles on co-exclusives and client compassion was one of the causes we cited for this co-exclusive phenomenon. Thanks for the confirmation. On the other hand, should I be concerned that my readers stumble on my columns?

As to art and real estate, Ms. Desiderio goes on to point out that Prudential Douglas Elliman was not the "first'' to hold art openings in its Bridgehampton office." (In the interest of clarity, it was this columnist's impression and not Pru's claim that they were.)

Ms. Desiderio reclaims art innovation for herself and former partners "before Prudential was on the East End," writing she coordinated the first real estate office art openings in her then-Sag Harbor office over 10 years ago " born from the fact that Sag Harbor had the busiest Main Street after hours . . . art openings became a great way to truly open the doors to the public . . . thus my current partner, Janet Hummel, and I continue the tradition as the 'locally owned and operated real estate company.'"


Is there yet another, more biblical kind of green that operates as well in East End real estate, a very strange business?

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