After a career in communications, Manzione, who was born and raised in Brooklyn, decided to turn to real estate. Rather than head to “the city” – AKA Manhattan – he opted to stay closer to home, the Columbia Waterfront, which in 1971, had more prostitutes and drug dealers walking Columbia Street than artists, writers, graphic designers and urban cool-seekers. In 2012 it’s more likely to encounter someone seeking “it” Thai dining spot Pok Pok NY than turning tricks. In 1971, Manzione became a sales agent, earned his broker’s license in 1974, and opened Frank P. Manzione Real Estate in 1984 on Columbia Street, working within all aspects of real estate transactions – rentals, working with both tenants and landlords; residential sales, working with sellers and buyers; and commercial leases and sales, working with buyers, sellers and tenants – as well as working with the local police precinct to knock out the drug and prostitution trades blighting the area. He was instrumental in filling the retail spaces and homes in first the Columbia Waterfront, then when that became a destination area, moved on to colonize Red Hook, selling homes on Pioneer Street, leasing stores on Van Brunt and helping buy and sell commercial locations. “Back then, no one would cross the highway. Other brokers would send me people who didn’t want to pay Carroll Gardens prices, as apartments were half the price on our side of the highway on the Columbia Waterfront,” said Manzione. “And when Columbia Waterfront became stable and in demand, I moved onto Red Hook. People saw the area as unsafe and undesirable. I never saw it that way. I always loved it. It’s a destination. I can’t be wrong – we now have Ikea, Fairway. The neighborhood is growing despite not having a subway.” It’s exactly one of those Red Hook commercial properties that just looped back to Manzione, through his network of “old timers.” He last sold the 200×500 foot development site, to the family who currently owns it and is down scaling its real estate holdings. Fully leased, the “perfect property” known as 62-64 Ferris Street, is zoned M2-1 and is located in a prime waterfront area sandwiched between the Snapple distribution center and the Red Hook harbor, where the cruise ship Queen Elizabeth II docks when in New York City, and is also close to IKEA and Fairway. The fenced and paved lot is approximately 100,000 square feet and has a waterfront and Manhattan skyline views, while being a stone’s throw from Governors Island. It is priced at $22 million. If it weren’t currently zoned M2-1, Manzione sees the spot as ideal for a hotel or project with retail on the ground floor, providing jobs for local residents and more lively street activity with people visiting the area, and residential units on the upper floors. But working within the zoning, he believes a nationally-known retailer or interesting, slightly upscale “mini mall” would balance well with the Fairway and IKEA products and clientele, benefiting the area and giving visitors the “tremendous view of the city.” No deal has been struck on the listing, which recently hit the market, but representatives from the Nets are reviewing the site for a possible training facility. Having spent 41 years helping mold the Brooklyn waterfront through his role in the real estate industry and community involvement, Manzione has brokered over a thousand deals and now talks cost per square foot with the sons and daughters of his original clients, who knew Frank as the broker with the property no one else had, and the only one who could sell certain listings. He sold his namesake brokerage to Victoria Hagman’s Realty Collective in 2010, and joined his expertise and relationships to her youthful energy and determination, but still does business his way, the old fashioned way, running into friends and colleagues on the street and calling on the phone. “Through my goodwill in the area, people know I’m still around, just in a different capacity. I still service”
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