The Real Deal New York

Bedbugs creep into Prudential Douglas Elliman’s Madison Avenue headquarters

June 24, 2011 04:33PM
By David Jones

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Bedbugs descend on Elliman’s 575 Madison Avenue headquarters (building photo credit: PropertyShark)

Prudential Douglas Elliman’s headquarters at 575 Madison
Avenue were evacuated yesterday after bedbugs were spotted on
the building’s fourth floor, The Real Deal has learned.

The bedbugs were initially spotted yesterday morning in the office
of a senior broker at the firm, according to sources who asked
not to be identified, and Elliman, the largest residential broker in
New York, later asked workers to leave the offices and treated the
affected three floors of the property.

“They said it was pretty bad,” said an industry executive familiar
with the firm. “It seems to be in one wing of the fourth floor,
which is the executive floor.”

It is not immediately known why the bedbugs suddenly appeared,
but sources said that Elliman’s offices at 575 Madison, near 56th
Street, recently went through a renovation, which could account
for the bedbug sightings.

Elliman officials initially issued a “no comment,” but an official
who asked not to be identified later said that “one small office of
one agent” was affected by the bedbugs.

Barry Beck, COO of Assured Environments, issued an emailed
statement through Elliman’s spokesperson, confirming that the
offices were treated for bedbugs.

“We discovered a bedbug on the fourth floor of [575 Madison],”
he said. “To be proactive, we treated the entire fourth floor, as
well as the third and fifth last night. Our service team reported
no infestation was found during our remediation process on any
floors.”

He added that are “no active insect conditions” in the building and
the three floors were being monitored. Evan Rosenblum, marketing director at the exterminator, later said that there was a call for service at the building in 2010, but did not have specifics on who the client was.

The 385,000 square-foot property boasts of some pretty high-end
tenants, including the law firm of Katten Muchin Rosenman and
the flagship of Italian footwear retailer Geox USA.

A receptionist at the landlord, Steinberg & Pokoik Management,
could not immediately comment, but was looking for officials who
would be able to speak on the matter.

Bedbugs have become an increasing problem in New York City,
with the city convening a bedbug advisory panel in April 2010, as
the pests were reported at hundreds of hotels, apartment buildings
and other properties.

New York was ranked as having more bedbugs than any other city
in the country last year, and while the pests are usually found at
night in residential apartments and homes, they have been sighted
in commercial buildings, including the Empire State Building.

The Real Estate Board of New York held a seminar on bedbug
infestation just last month
, as the landlords are ramping up to
fight bedbug problems during the summer selling season.

George Shea, a public relations executive and partner at
Manhattan-based Bed Bug Super Dogs, said that his firm has
inspected more than 400,000 square feet of commercial office
space for bedbugs in the last week to 10 days, and the critters can
adopt to daylight hours once they enter an office building.

“It is quite common for people to see a bedbug crawling over the
papers on their desk,” Shea said.

Officials at the New York City Department of Health said they do
not usually get involved in commercial building issues, but they
were looking into the matter to see if they had any comment.

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