ASTORIA -Amorelli Realty is one of the numerous Greek-American businesses which retain their family character and yet resist the incursions of major Manhattan competitors, like the Corcoran Group and Douglas Elliman, which have turned their attention to the increasingly dynamic markets of Astoria and Long Island City.
The Wall Street Journal featured the firm and the Halvatzis family in its November 24 edition and shined a spotlight on the way Anita Halvatzis built the family business in Astoria.
The article emphasized that the family are active in at least seven area nonprofits. During Thanksgiving week, in collaboration with the Astoria-Long Island City Kiwanis Club, Amorelli, distributed turkeys and other food to needy families of Astoria, an endeavor overseen by Paul Halvatzis. He and his brothers George and Jim are very active in civic endeavors.
Paul told TNH that the article validates the decision by his mother, backed by his relatives, to retain the firm’s family character and its commitment to serving Greek-Americans and other Astorians. WSJ noted that the in-depth knowledge of the Astoria market of Astoria is a comparative advantage not only for Amorelli but for all other Greek real estate agents there.
Anita Halvatzis told reporters that the times have changed, and that today knowledge of Greek is not considered a major asset because over the past two decades many young professionals all nationalities have moved in from Manhattan.
Paul, however, does not think things have changed that much. Ties to the Greek-American community and a longtime presence in the neighborhood are still assets because he says that in real estate, value does not come from a big name and information – even if delivered on the technological cutting edge – but from whom you know and whom you trust.
Perhaps Anita, despite her great success, is being modest, due to her humble beginnings
The Wall Street Journal noted “Anita Halvatzis had no real-estate experience in about 1973, when she was facing a divorce and needed to find a way to raise her three boys alone…But she had one thing going for her when she answered an ad listed by Amorelli Realty…she spoke Greek.”
She was thus able to serve new immigrants coming from Greece and Cyprus as well as those who moved from Washington Heights and other parts of Manhattan to Astoria.
She was hired immediately and six years later she bought the company where her children and grandchildren now work along with other Greek-Americans, including Fotios Gerasopoulos, past president of the Pan-Macedonian Association and current president of the parish council of Saints Constantine and Helen in Jackson Heights.
Many Greek families left long ago for the suburbs, but are still a powerful Greek presence, and the influx of young professionals has raised property values ??in Astoria – a bonus for the Greeks who remained.
“The average home price in Northwest Queens…hit a record in the third quarter reaching $726,000, up 24% from a year earlier,” the Journal reported.
There is no equivalent Greek phrase for “I told you so,” but none is necessary.
Left to right: George, Matthew, Jim, Anita, Christina, and Paul Halvatzis outside Amorelli Realty in Astoria. The family makes sure philanthropy is also on the firm’s agenda.