JC DeNiro closes up shop for good

By Candace Taylor | April 21, 2009 05:28PM

alternate textLeft to right: Jack DeNiro, JC DeNiro’s Chelsea office, Raphael DeNiro

Boutique residential brokerage JC DeNiro & Associates is closing its doors, and the bulk of its nearly 30 agents likely will move to Prudential Douglas Elliman, according to Elliman executives.

The arrangement between the two companies is not a formal acquisition, said Gary Cannata, a sales manager at Elliman. Rather, it’s an outgrowth of the family ties between Jack DeNiro, the founder of the small but respected firm, and Raphael DeNiro, a managing director at Elliman who leads the company’s DeNiro Group, an eight-person team which includes his wife, Claudine.

Jack DeNiro is actor Robert De Niro’s uncle (the two spell their names differently), while Raphael DeNiro is the “Raging Bull” star’s son.

Cannata said that the two companies have never had a formal partnership but “have always been cordial in business,” adding, “We all know each other. It made sense to talk.”

Elliman won’t necessarily hire all of JC DeNiro’s agents; all of the new recruits will be interviewed, said Howard Lorber, chairman of Elliman.

“Jack is basically encouraging his people to come over,” Lorber said.

Cannata said he has already interviewed around eight JC DeNiro brokers, three of whom will work under him at 51 East 10th Street office. Others will be placed in Elliman’s Tribeca, Upper West Side and Brooklyn offices. Lauren DeNiro Pipher, Jack DeNiro’s granddaughter, will return to the DeNiro team, where she previously worked for two years before joining her grandfather’s company, Cannata said.

Elliman also may take on some of the JC DeNiro’s pending deals.

JC DeNiro has 28 agents, according to its Web site.

Jack DeNiro, now semi-retired, started working in commercial real estate in the 1960s before founding residential brokerage firm JC DeNiro, which sold properties in New York and Florida.

This fall, JC DeNiro closed its Upper West Side location at 2265 Broadway at 81st Street, leaving the company with two New York locations, at 174a Ninth Avenue at 21st Street in Chelsea, and in the West Village at 34 Eighth Avenue at Jane Street.

None of the DeNiros could be reached for comment, but Cannata said the difficulty of the market likely played a role in the closure.

The current market is “hard for small companies,” Cannata said.

He said he hoped Elliman can help soften the blow for JC DeNiro agents. “We’re taking the high road and embracing fellow real estate brokers,” Cannata said.

Robert De Niro has also tried his hand at the real estate game, opening restaurants all over the world and developing the Greenwich Hotel in TriBeCa along with his son.