Boutique real estate firm JC DeNiro & Associates has closed its Upper West Side office, choosing to focus instead on its Downtown clientele.
Located at 2265 Broadway between 81st and 82nd streets, the small storefront office opened in 2005 and closed several months ago, according to S. Hunie Kwon, an executive vice president at the company and one of the company’s managers.
The manager of JC DeNiro’s Upper West Side office, Steven Kopstein, left the company in August, around the time the office closed, and has formed his own self-titled real estate brokerage. Other staff members and the eight agents in that office have been relocated to offices within the company.
The 26-agent firm has decided to concentrate on its two tried-and-true Downtown locations rather than building a business on the Upper West Side, Kwon said. “There’s a big saturation of companies up there,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of success Downtown and we want to embolden that Downtown business.”
JC DeNiro was started by Jack DeNiro, uncle of actor Robert De Niro, who works out of the Miami office, in the 1960s as a commercial firm. The company’s remaining New York City locations — which the firm refers to as “galleries” — are at 174A Ninth Avenue at 21st Street in Chelsea, and in the West Village at 34 Eighth Avenue at Jane Street. The firm plans to open a new office downtown on the East Side sometime in the next two years, Kwon said.
An obstacle for the Upper West Side space was cost. Rent there was “outrageous,” said Kopstein, a five-year employee of JC DeNiro, who said he used the planned closure of the office as an opportunity to strike out on his own.
“I felt the timing was right with the office closing,” said Kopstein, who is currently working out of his home in Hamilton Heights, focusing on residential sales and some commercial leasing.
At less than 500 square feet, the Broadway office was smaller than the other two offices, but it cost more to rent than did the other two, while generating less business, Kwon said.
“For the price we were paying for that sliver of an office, it didn’t make sense,” he said.
Many New York real estate companies are discovering that reducing office space is a smart strategy in the current economic environment.