Corcoran moves to Dinkel office

JULIE LANE PHOTO | Real estate broker Hannah Dinkel in the agency her husband founded. The office soon will house the Corcoran Group. Ms. Dinkel will continue to own the building and she and son Hally Edward Dinkel will be working as part of the Corcoran team.

The sign is gone and the premises at 183 North Ferry Road appear to be empty. But a second look will reveal that the Dinkel Real Estate office is undergoing a transition. So too are real estate broker Hannah Dinkel and her sales agent son, Hally Edward Dinkel.

Temporarily, the two will continue to do business under the Frederick L. Dinkel Real Estate banner in the space at 142Q North Ferry Road. All deals started by the Dinkels will be concluded under the Dinkel license, she said.

But sometime between mid-February and early March, the original Dinkel office will be transformed into the Corcoran Group’s Shelter Island base of operations and the two Dinkels will become part of the Corcoran team. The Dinkels will continue as landlords, too.

If there’s any wistfulness on Ms. Dinkel’s part after spending 32 years at Dinkel Real Estate, it’s overwhelmed by her excitement at working with Corcoran, a major New York region and Hamptons firm that is also active in south Florida.

“I absolutely feel so utterly comfortable with everyone at Corcoran,” Ms. Dinkel bubbled.

“I’m looking forward to a new organization and working with the Corcoran team,” son Hally Dinkel agreed.

Employees at the Corcoran Group, locally based just across the alleyway from the original Dinkel office, were quick to offer help and support for the grieving Ms. Dinkel when her husband Frederick died in February 2009. She said she had never forgotten that and continued to have an ongoing friendship with the Corcoran staff.

“They were the first to offer support and caring and they have taken care of me ever since,” Ms. Dinkel said.

Still, she maintained her own shop until now, even though she and her husband had other nibbles in the past. Two large firms had approached them years ago and “we just decided for many reasons — no,” Ms. Dinkel said.

Than last July, Ms. Dinkel thought it might be time to make a change and she approached “a Hamptons boutique firm,” she said, where she thought there might be a good match. It quickly soured for Ms. Dinkel and she abandoned the idea.

“Two very attractive, bright-eyed congenial women” arrived in her office one day. They turned out to be Corcoran President and CEO Pamela Liebman and Executive Vice President Teresa Hall. They convinced her that joining Corcoran might be the fit she sought.

“I want to return to having someone else in charge,” Ms. Dinkel said, explaining her pleasure with the deal. “I am better-suited to the position of associate broker,” she said, rather than running a brokerage.

There had been thoughts of retirement, Ms. Dinkel said. If not for her son and daughter, she might have done just that and rented the space as a retail shop, she said. But now she’s reveling in the new arrangement.

Asked her age, she said, “Chronological age is not something I feel or ever think about. I still clean my own gutters and haul a sizable amount of wood into my house from what I call ‘the lower 40’ part of my property every cold day before I start my work day.

She admits to a brief moment of “terror in my heart at learning the Corcoran system,” but credits Josh Horton, the Corcoran Group’s senior managing director of North Fork, Shelter Island and Westhampton Beach offices, with dispelling her fear.

She quotes him as saying, “Not to worry; I’m always here to help.” Ms. Dinkel called Mr. Horton “an artist in the field of office/people management” and said she was looking forward to taking direction from him.

Mr. Horton said he expects the transition to be “seamless” and that he welcomed Hannah and Hally Dinkel to the Corcoran team.

The deal will increase the staffing level of Corcoran agents from 10 to 12 and an administrative assistant.

He said he was in the market for new office space because the company’s existing lease was soon to expire. Since the Dinkel building is next door, it “made for an easy decision.” Renovations are beginning this week and, once they’re complete, the Corcoran Group will move into the former Dinkel space.

It won’t be the first time either Dinkel has worked with a large firm. Ms. Dinkel started her real estate career with Allan Schneider, opening that firm’s Sag Harbor office in 1978. Allan Schneider later combined with Corcoran, making the new arrangement a little bit like coming home. Hally Dinkel worked for Lehman Brothers before joining the family real estate firm.

Daughter Sarah Gardiner Dering Dinkel, an experienced leasing professional in New York City, assisted her mother in negotiating the arrangement with Corcoran.

“It didn’t surprise me,” she said about her mother’s decision to join Corcoran. Since her father’s death, it has been difficult for her mother to both manage the business and broker deals, Sarah said.

“I’m sad to see something my father started in the 1960s come to an end but I think it’s for the best,” she said.

“After the holidays, we will sort out the licensing for me and Hally,” Ms. Dinkel said.