Small brokerage takes Citi Habitats space

By Candace Taylor | January 13, 2009 03:42PM

Downtown residential real estate brokerage New York Living Solutions is taking over the Financial District storefront recently vacated by Citi Habitats, and will be setting up its flagship office there.

New York Living Solutions, a sales and rental brokerage with just over 100 agents, signed a lease for the space at 100 John Street about three weeks ago and is slated to move in within a week, said Mizan Ayers, the company’s CEO. The office is down the block from the company’s small quarters at 90 John Street at Gold Street, which the company is keeping open, Ayers said. The company’s other office is at 34 East 20th Street between Broadway and Park Avenue.

The 100 John Street opening comes after the real estate company closed its
Hoboken office at 84 Washington Street several months ago “due to
market conditions,” Ayers said, choosing instead to focus on Manhattan
sales and rentals. Ayers said the company has also cut back on
marketing, advertising and administrative costs to help save money.

Two of the company’s principals, Michael Roche and Arnon Barzilai, started their careers at Citi Habitats’ 100 John Street location, which was open for a decade before being shuttered last month, Ayers said.

Barzilai started working for Citi Habitats in 2000 and was promoted to manager of the 100 John Street office in 2004, when he hired Roche. The two left Citi Habitats to start New York Living Solutions in 2005.

When they noticed  that Citi Habitats was moving out of the space, their interest was piqued.

“There was some emotional attachment [to the space],” Ayers said.

The company negotiated the lease directly with landlord Joseph Moinian, CEO of the Moinian Group, Ayers said.

The new 1,100-square-foot office, located in a 221-unit luxury rental building at the corner of John and Cliff streets, will be the real estate company’s flagship, said Ayers, who did not comment on the rent the company will pay. It’s smaller than the company’s Other John Street office, which is roughly 3,000-square feet, Ayers said, and 100 John will be the firm’s only storefront location.

“It’s great visibility and exposure,” he said, adding that New York Living Solutions has listings in the rental building at 100 John Street.