Brooklyn sales and rental brokerage aptsandlofts.com has joined the ranks of other New York City firms consolidating office space as a cost-cutting strategy in the current real estate slump, though the company has managed to double its total square footage in the process.
Aptsandlofts.com, founded in 2003, formerly maintained a 1,000-square-foot sales office at 171 Bedford Avenue at the corner of North Eighth Street, which it opened in 2006, and a 2,200-square-foot corporate headquarters at 496 Driggs Avenue at North Ninth Street, just a few doors down from the new space. Corporate staff had begun moving into the new space in the fall of 2008, but the move was completed Sunday.
All of Aptsandlofts.com’s sales agents and staff are now located in the new space, along with Union Square Mortgage Group, the mortgage brokerage Maundrell recently launched in conjunction with Ross Weinstein.
Maundrell said the though company’s total
monthly rent will now be about $2,500 higher than in the past, the move
will mean “a tremendous cost savings” overall for the company because
it will spend less on heating, air conditioning and other overhead
“Even though the rent went up, we’re going to save money,” he said, adding that no one was laid off in the move.
While the company is “in very good shape,” is not leveraged and has a “great balance sheet,” Maundrell said he felt it was smart to save money on overhead costs in the current climate. “That’s what you have to do right now,” he said.
Maundrell said he’ll miss having a presence on the highly-trafficked Bedford Avenue, which led to increased exposure and more deals for the company.
“A couple of developers said to me, ‘You have an office on Bedford,'” he recalled. “I definitely got a job or two from it.”
But both of the former offices were too small for their staffs, and ultimately he felt he didn’t need two branches so close together.
“I had two offices in the same neighborhood,” he said. “It helped me to an extent, but it’s not going to help me going forward.”
When the new Driggs Avenue space, formerly the home of the boutique Ylli, became available, Maundrell negotiated with his landlord, who owns both his old and new Driggs offices, to move there. He was then able to work with the landlord at 171 Bedford to get out of his lease early.
As the housing slump has squeezed New York real estate, brokerages all over the city — including the Corcoran Group, Bellmarc Realty and Warburg Realty — have closed offices and reduced space to cut costs. Others have closed completely or been absorbed into other firms, like longstanding white-shoe firm Edward Lee Cave, which was recently acquired by Brown Harris Stevens.