SPOTLIGHT ON: Meet ‘Doc’ Real Estate
Mary Prenon | September 2015
Gabe Pasquale, associate broker with Douglas Elliman in Chappaqua, has spent more than 30 years in real estate; with careers ranging from sales associate to executive vice president. He’s sold everything from small single-family homes to huge luxury developments and has enjoyed it so much, he’s never thought about doing anything else.
This may seem ironic for the former pre-med student, who suddenly changed career directions while in his second year of medical school at NYU. “I guess I just realized that real estate was my true love, and so I transferred to the NYU School of Real Estate,” he recalled.
Pasquale was already working part-time in real estate while attending college and admits it was the strong seller’s market of the early 80s that helped to change his mind.
“I did have a love of sciences and medicine, but I think real estate was part of my passion since I was about 10 years old. As a kid I was always hanging around new construction sites, climbing the dirt piles and looking into the unfinished houses, trying to figure out the best use of space.”
Within six months of getting his license, Pasquale stumbled upon a developer trying to market a small subdivision of 13 homes, Racine Estates, in New City. “I was selling out of a tiny trailer and working crazy hours, but I enjoyed every minute of it,” he said. “I ended up selling about a half dozen homes the first weekend! I think that’s what catapulted me into this business.”
Still in his early 20s, Pasquale set out as a full time real estate agent with Schlott Realtors in New City, which is now part of Coldwell Banker. “It was long before the crash of ‘86 and I was enjoying really great success,” he said. “The market was crazy. I remember getting a listing and having buyers waiting outside on a Saturday morning. You were just destined to get multiple offers.”
Years later, he was recruited by K. Hovnanian Homes to help market a new development in Mahopac. The project had gotten caught in the crash of ‘86 and almost 100 homes were still unoccupied. Many had lost contracts for not delivering on time. Pasquale wielded his marketing magic to sell a dozen homes within just 30 days. “I remember the chairman of the company actually flew in by helicopter with a bottle of champagne for me,” he said. “I just told him that if you have a good product, it’s not difficult to sell it.”
Pasquale remained with K. Hovnanian until 2000, climbing to Executive Vice President of Marketing for its Northeast Operations. From there, he made a transition to a smaller, boutique luxury developer, Spectrum Skanska. The company later become Spectrum Communities and is now known as WCI Communities. “That was a challenge because the company had changed names, logos and positioning about four times in four years—but it was also a great opportunity,” he added.
As Chief Marketing Officer, Pasquale successfully positioned and sold several award-winning communities in Westchester, Connecticut, Long Island and New Jersey. One of the most well known was BelleFair at Rye Brooke, the area’s first planned traditional neighborhood, complete with its own Village Green and Country Market. He also worked on Valimar in White Plains and The Legends at Purchase. “Everything we did was a first for the market,” he recalled. “We ran the gamut with demographics—from first time homebuyers to empty nesters.”
Pasquale’s next stint was with RXR Realty, based in Uniondale NY, where he was Executive Vice President, Marketing and Sales. His major projects there included the Ritz Carlton Inner Harbor in Baltimore, the first Ritz Carlton Residences condos, and the Ritz Carlton North Hills in Long Island.
Over the years, he has met his share of celebrities, including the late author Tom Clancy, who purchased a penthouse at the Ritz Carlton in Baltimore. “I learned so much in working with them,” he said. “When you deal with celebrities and they trust you, you become like family.
Pasquale also remembers watching the summer Olympics when Michael Phelps received his fifth gold medal. “I was listening to an interview with him and he said he was looking forward to getting back to Baltimore. That’s when I decided I’d sell him a condo at the Ritz Carlton!” he said. Pasquale took to his computer, got his manager’s name, and made the contact. Ultimately, he didn’t sell to Michael Phelps, but he did sell to his mother, who was a principal in the Baltimore school district. “She still lives there and we’re still friends today,” he added.
For the past three years, Pasquale has been with Douglas Elliman, which he describes as “going back to my roots” of listing and selling. “I don’t consider myself just a Realtor, but an advisor, he said. “I don’t work on transactions, I work on relationships.”
Pasquale is involved in the National Association of Home Builders, and the National Sales & Marketing Council. In his free time, he’s an avid boater. He and his wife live in Blauvelt and have nine-year-old twins.
As for his “almost” career as a physician, Pasquale said he never looked back. “When I see what’s happening with the whole medical community and insurance, I know I’d probably be very frustrated, “he said. “I much more enjoy helping to create a better lifestyle for people—that’s very gratifying for me.”