HARLEM — Eugene Giscombe, who made his mark on Harlem real estate as the founder of Giscombe Realty Group and became known by many as the “Mayor of 125th Street,” has died at the age of 76, according to a publicist.
Giscombe, who was born and raised in Harlem but lived in Rockland County, died at Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern, New York, on July 10 of a brain aneurysm, the publicist said.
Giscombe became rooted in the Harlem real estate market 30 years ago, but his family’s involvement in real estate dates back to his grandfather, Lawrence Giscombe, in the 1930s.
Giscombe started his real estate career in 1972 as head of the sales department at Harlem’s real estate firm Webb & Booker. In 1982 he founded Giscombe Realty Group, which became one of Harlem’s leading commercial real estate firms.
The Harlem real estate icon said that at the time he started his firm, he knew that “prime real estate exists past 96th Street,” according to the publicist.
His company dealt extensively near the 125th Street corridor in Harlem, earning him the nickname the “Mayor of 125th Street.”
Giscombe Realty's deals in Harlem included Chase Manhattan Bank, Fourth Federal Savings and Loan, the Harlem Commonwealth Council, New York College of Podiatric Medicine and the Jewish Theological Seminary, among others. The company was headquartered for more than 30 years in the Lee Building, at Park Avenue and 125th Street, which sold for $48 million in 2015.
Giscombe's roots are not only in the real estate world. He was involved in several community groups and was the former chairman of Manhattan Community Board 10. He also served as a trustee at Harlem Academy.
He is survived by his wife Shirley, three children, two brothers, and several nieces and nephews.
Giscombe’s family is planning a memorial service in September, the publicist said.
The family requests that donations in his name be sent to the Harlem Academy or the Harlem branch of the YMCA.