But his firm, RL52 Realty, is heading into the game with an interesting platform: coupling real estate investors with the arts. Lewis and principal Sol Kandel opened two offices in South Florida last year, it’s first in Boca Raton and the second in Ft. Lauderdale. The Ft. Lauderdale office encompasses an art gallery.
Kandel believes that the gallery provides an ideal venue in which to cultivate business transactions, but not everyone agrees. Tim Becker, director of the Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Florida, said that while it’s relatively common to connect buyers with investment opportunities, he’s not familiar with any other firm employing the arts connection.
“It remains to be seen whether using a gallery as a vehicle for real estate transactions works, even with a high-profile celebrity name attached to it,” he said. “The name brings more attention, but does that translate into sales,” Becker asked.
Kandel said the firm, which offers leasing, management and sales of commercial properties, expects to open more offices in Florida, and possibly other East Coast cities, including in the New York metro market.
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