Rachel Slade of Boston Magazine has loosed a thunderclap of a profile of superbroker Tracy Campion.
There is the requisite hardscrabble background, chock-a-block with moxie and pluck: "Campion won’t talk much about what she did before she started selling eight-figure homes, other than to say she spent a lot of time waitressing, an experience that taught her to hustle."
There are the numbers, too, of course: "[T]his June, she brokered the priciest condo deal in Boston history: $13.2 million for 8,000 square feet of new-construction luxury at the Mandarin Oriental. In spite of the flagging economy, in fact, as of mid-September Campion had sold $179 million worth of real estate this year, making her the number one residential real estate broker in the state. Campion’s sales are two and a half times those of her closest competitor, Beth Dickerson, who’s done $69 million."
And colleagues and competitors pay the expected tribute: "'I gave her her first job back in 1983,' recalls William Milbury of the South Dartmouth–based brokerage Milbury and Company. 'She was selling ice cream makers or cable TV or something. She took to real estate like a fish to water.'"
But what really gets us going? Scenes of Campion amid Boston's highest-end real estate.
5. There is her whole-cloth re-dubbing of the Bryant:
The project was in trouble in 2009, owing to a combination of bad timing and branding missteps. Campion jumped in with Donald Trump’s former marketing wiz Louise Sunshine to save it. Their first move was to instruct the building’s owner, Steve Roth and his Vornado Realty Trust, to rip out the lobby. The stripped-down, loftlike rectangle just wasn’t appealing to the upscale clientele Campion wanted for the area. ... Campion also recommended changing the name to the Bryant Back Bay. The other side of Columbus is technically the South End, but who cares? Campion, in fact, made sure the words Back Bay appeared everywhere, even replacing the lobby door handles with ones that featured double B’s. The results? In October 2009, Jason Sheftell wrote in New York’s Daily News that “Real estate history was made last Saturday in Boston’s Back Bay when up to $20 million of luxury homes in the same building were sold in less than an hour.” As one buyer put it in the article: “Considering the economic situation in this country, what these guys have done is fantastic for real estate anywhere."
4. There is her polish of three empty mansions on the "wrong side" of Commonwealth Avenue:
To prevent what she feared would be down-marketing in her neighborhood, Campion immediately called Joe Holland, a principal at Holland Development. Her pitch: Buy the properties, restore what can be restored, create the city’s most enviable lobby using the original sweeping Gilded Age staircase as the centerpiece, and build out 12 ultra-luxurious condos. Holland agreed, and as the plan rolled along, Campion worked with him on everything from the layout of the units to the sales literature, which was adorned with watercolor renderings and its own crest (inspired by a ceiling medallion). ... Most developers would have chucked that huge staircase to get more sellable square footage, but Campion, acutely aware that a tony neighborhood is a fragile ecosystem whose success hinges on the little things, made the case for saving it. Such authentic details both contribute to and benefit from the value of the Back Bay, she argued; make it too modern, and it might as well be SoWa or Fort Point. Holland followed her advice, and now, a year from completion, the building is already 100 percent sold—by Campion and Company, of course. 3. There is her sprint through a Back Bay manse:
Tracy Campion digs in her bag for the keys to a pristine, $4.5 million Back Bay townhouse. It’s something she’s done roughly 15 times a day over the past 25 years, which adds up to something like 130,000 frenzied searches. Campion finally spies the set at the bottom of her purse. Juggling brochures, her phone, and a Post-It note scrawled with the home’s security code, she fiddles with the lock on the front door, then deactivates the alarm. She doesn’t have much time. Prospective buyers, a fiftysomething couple relocating from Connecticut, are on their way, so Campion sprints through the 4,000-square-foot home in snakeskin stilettos, flicking on the lights as she goes. Climbing flight after flight of Boston’s finest housing stock does have its benefits: Campion, a Diet Coke chain drinker, has the legs of a Wonderland greyhound. 2. There are the Emerson College buildings:
Campion caught [Rob Silverman's] attention back in 1993, when he’d been tasked with unloading 13 of the Back Bay properties owned by Emerson College as the school prepared for a move to the Theater District. After working with several other agents, Silverman came to the conclusion that Campion—who at the time was running the residential division for the Boston office of R. M. Bradley—was thinking bigger and better than the rest. Eventually, he handed off all the listings to her. “She finds good matches between buyers and sellers,” Silverman says. “Each property was sold to a different buyer. She wasn’t trying to sell all [of the buildings] to two or three connections. She was trying to find the best buyer at that particular time for that particular property.” One of those Emerson deals included the sale of 132–134 Beacon to the Hamilton Company. When chairman and CEO Harold Brown bought the buildings in 2005, he was envisioning a large number of units at a lower price point. Campion talked him out of it. “Fewer units, more luxury,” she warned him. Sage counsel, it turned out. “We sold the penthouse unit as raw space for $6.5 million,” Brown recalls. 1. There is the time the doorman smiled at her:
She leaves the car running while we dash across the street so she can show me the Bryant’s new and improved lobby. She greets the concierge and he gives her a conspiratorial smile; they both know that keeping Boston’s values stratospheric, keeping the richest of the rich happy, is a team sport. That's the stuff.
· The Closer [Boston Magazine]