From left: Ori Allon, Leonard Steinberg, Kyle Blackmon and Robert Reffkin
Brown Harris Stevens’ Twitter handle reads, simply, “@Established1873.” The brokerage trades upon its distinguished lineage and generally manages to keep its white-gloved hands out of industry drama. But when real estate startup Urban Compass poached elite broker Kyle Blackmon last week, BHS president Hall Willkie decided it was time for those gloves to come off.
“Kyle has made the decision that the equity proposition offered to him trumps a singular focus on brokerage,” Willkie said in a statement to The Real Deal. He questioned the wisdom of that decision in an internal BHS memo that stated: “The value of Kyle’s or anyone’s equity will be dependent on the success of Urban Compass’ founders implementing their vision of selling their company for substantially more than many industry experts believe is possible.”
Willkie’s statement echoed what many in the industry have whispered – or shouted under the cloak of anonymity – for months. Urban Compass, these sources say, is merely an idea – albeit a well-choreographed, Ivy League and McKinsey-branded one. But even with a $360 million valuation, they ask, is it really the future? [more]