ICONIC PROPERTY: The Pomona YMCA, listed on the National Registry
of Historic Places, was built in 1922.
When the historic YMCA building in a key location of Pomona, Calif., went on the market, RE/MAX Commercial Practitioners Jorge (George) Yamzon and his partner Eric Chavez knew they wanted the listing.
The property, built in 1922 and llisted on the National Registry of Historic Places, includes over 50 dorm rooms, a swimming pool, a basketball court, sauna and steam rooms, a gym and four racket ball courts. The main building is an imposing, three-story, brick structure whose high windows face a row of towering palm trees on the main thoroughfare leading to the heart of the city.
This was more than just a high-profile deal: Whoever handled the sale would be entrusted with nothing less than a piece of Pomona’s past, and the two agents looked forward to the challenge.
Yamzon, Chavez and Marketing Manager Charles Clegg, all with the Commercial Division of RE/MAX 2000 in Ontario, Calif., aren’t new to handling historic properties, but this listing came with obvious hurdles. They were also competing against other companies for the listing, and the sale had to move fast - in just 30 days.
The sellers – and the city -- wanted a specific kind of buyer, someone who’d respect the site and fit well into its artsy neighborhood.
POMONA TRIO: Jorge (George) Yamzon, Eric Chavez
and Charles Clegg
“We spent hours and hours on research,” Yamzon says. “We put together a team of experts to advise us on possible solutions for all the key issues with this property, like the mandated seismic retrofitting, for example.”
An international fine arts school looking to open its first site in the U.S. inquired about the property, and the trio got to work.
With an intense marketing campaign that included many calls to their network, Yamzon, Chavez and Clegg booked over 20 showings in the first few weeks. They marketed the property to more than 3,000 commerical-only agents within the RE/MAX network and reached out to possible clients in the artistic/educational community.
Drawing on their connections with city leaders, Yamzon and Chavez enlisted local officials like the Pomona Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Pomona Association and the mayor's office to make the school’s representatives feel welcome.
“The city of Pomona deserves a lot of credit here,” Yamzon says, “They were very accommodating and really sold the city as a hub for education, entertainment and economic opportunities."
Today, with the deal closed and an astonishingly short 18-day escrow, Chavez and Yamzon look back at the transaction with satisfaction and a sense of pride.
“When dealing with historic properties, it’s all about putting in hours of research," Yamzon says. "Learn the history, understand the challenges, and work with experts to explore every possible solution. Pay attention to your client and anticipate their needs."