Spend money to make money.
That's the Alexander brothers' unofficial mantra. It means enjoying winters on the ski lifts in Aspen, watching tennis matches at Wimbledon, and riding dune buggies in the Saudi Arabian desert — all destinations where they can rub shoulders with the global elite who could, one day, became the real-estate duo's clientele.
It's an investment that's paid off, writes journalist Katherine Clarke in "Billionaires' Row: Tycoons, High Rollers, and the Epic Race to Build the World's Most Exclusive Skyscrapers".
In the book, out June 13 from Penguin Random House, Clarke casts light on how the deal came into focus that indisputably cemented the brothers' status as all-star real-estate agents: the 2019 sale of a $240 million, 24,000-square-foot quadruplex at 220 Central Park South. The buyer was Ken Griffin, the billionaire hedge-fund manager and founder of Citadel. The deal set the record for the most expensive home sold in the United States, and holds it still.
By Clarke's account, it's Tal — "more dogged in his fight for a deal" than Oren — who made the transaction happen.
Both brothers have a "preternatural skill for sniffing out the real estate market's newest whales," Clarke writes, in part by keeping an eye on the blue-chip art market, "the theory being that billionaires who were actively shelling out hundreds of millions for the Old Masters might also be willing to spend big on real estate."
In 2015, Griffin dropped $46.4 million on an abstract painting by Gerhard Richter, putting him in the Alexanders' crosshairs. They had a penthouse to sell him — now just to track him down.
Tal wouldn't reveal how he acquired Griffin's cell phone number, Clarke noted, but one of the writer's sources said he bought it from a former FBI agent. A spokesperson for Griffin clarified to Insider: the Alexanders mailed Griffin the marketing materials on the building and Griffin reached out. It was on.
But Griffin wasn't interested in the penthouse Tal had in mind for him. He wanted to create a custom quadruplex in the middle of the building, so his views would skim the treetops of Central Park.
After a period of negotiations — "He was a ball buster," a source told Clarke of his approach — Griffin agreed to pay $239.96 million for the pied-a-terre. (Griffin lives in Miami, where he relocated Citadel to in 2022.)
Tal and Oren were not small players before the deal.
The brothers founded the Alexander Team, originally at Douglas Elliman, and in 2022 went on to launch Official, a real-estate brokerage that caters only to ultra-high-net-worth individuals. The young pair — both are in their mid-30s — have real estate in their blood. Their father, Shlomy Alexander, develops luxury properties in Miami, and would bring the pair to construction sites on the weekend.
They've worked with a number of other high-profile clients, like Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, who purchased a $15.5 million condo in Miami; financier Leon Black, who offered his Miami condo for $18.5 million; and Tommy Hilfiger, who offloaded his Plaza Hotel penthouse for $33.25 million.
Nowadays, the pair hold a number of high-profile listings including a $130 million penthouse at 432 Park Avenue — the Billionaires' Row building where Tal keeps a 4,000-square-foot apartment to ensure he's hobnobbing with the right people — and a Miami Beach development site seeking $55 million.
"Competing agents accused the brothers of being nepotism babies and indiscreet publicity junkies," Clarke writes, "but the brothers saw it as part of their job to be ubiquitous at events for the rich and famous." It is an approach, to be sure, that has served them well.
You can read the article on Insider here