Commercial Real Estate & Advisory

Bruce Sinder’s Success Tracks Downtown Development

By Steve Viuker | November 17, 2005

Property PlayerHow did a kid from Plainview, Long Island, who majored in music and psychology in college become a leading real estate broker in the trendy Tribeca/Soho area?

Real estate broker Bruce Sinder was one of the first brokers and developers in Soho at the time of its great conversion from the garment business to artist haven.

Sinvin, his boutique firm, has represented Dean & DeLuca, Marc Jacobs, M&C Saatchi and Adidas.

Sinder always marched to a different drummer (actually guitar and piano). He came to the city to play music. But unlike the other “piano man,” he made his music from properties what one could have for a song back in the 1970’s. Sinder showed an entrepreneurial spirit early on.

“My Dad owned a coffee shop downtown, and I worked there as a teenager in the summer,” he explained over the lunchtime at Balthazar, one of his numerous clients.

“Then I had my own orange juice stand, called Juice By Bruce, and that was very successful. We sold fresh juice at 25 cents a glass.” Sinder explained that in 1974, “My friend and I were looking for a place to live and we ran into two girls hitchhiking downtown. We drove them to Westbeth in the Village and saw a notice for a loft for rent for the summer. We took it and paid $300 total for the space. In 1976, I answered an ad in the Times for a Soho rental loft space and soon ended up in business with the broker and developer.”

The first Soho loft he sold was 2,500 square feet at $18,000, $2,000 less than the $20,000 asking price. At the time, he was also selling 4,000-5,000 square foot lofts at 515 Broadway for $40,000 to $50,000.

The same apartments now go for $3 million to $4 million. Sinder started Sinvin Realty with partner Steve Levin, who is no longer in the business. The company’s deals have tracked the transformation of Soho, Chelsea, Tribeca and the Meatpacking District.
“In a cut-throat business, Bruce is upfront and honest,” said Federic Schwartz, an architect and long time friend who goes back to Little League with Sinder.

“Bruce and I both were very competitive in our Little League days,” he recalled with a laugh.

“He has integrity, and people from both sides of the table trust him,” said Schwartz. “And having lived and worked in the same neighborhood for 25 years, he has a vast knowledge of the area. I was looking for a new space about 10 years ago, and Sinvin had an ad. I had no idea that it was Bruce and his firm. He showed me the space, and I signed the deal immediately.”

“He has a niche in downtown,” said Bob Esnard, president of the The Zucker Organization, a 40-year-old Manhattan real estate firm. “Bruce knows the area and he’s a nice man with a good sense of the business.”