Bond launches commercial division

TRD New York /
May.May 13, 2009 11:07 AM
From left: Bruno Ricciotti, Bond’s commercial listing at 33 Canal Street and Frank Gerage

Boutique residential brokerage Bond New York is diving into the commercial real estate game and, appropriately, taking on new office space.

The firm is in the process of leasing an additional floor at its Union Square office at 21 West 19th Street to accommodate a new 10-agent commercial sales and leasing division, according to Bruno Ricciotti, a principal at Bond.

The nine-year-old firm plans to lease a third floor of the building, where it already has 3,300 square feet of space on two levels, adding another 2,500 square feet and 67 desks, Ricciotti said.

Since it launched in January, the new division has garnered some $70 million in commercial sales exclusives and has sold two mixed-use buildings, said Frank Gerage, Bond’s new managing director of commercial properties. Bond hired Gerage away from Coldwell Banker Hunt Kennedy, where he was the commercial director, this winter.

The expansion wasn’t the original plan. In the midst of this fall’s economic fallout, Ricciotti said, Bond was considering closing the 19th Street office, which is the oldest and smallest of the company’s five offices.

“We thought, ‘if we’re going to cut any expenses, why not that one?'” he said.

Instead, Gerage approached them about joining the company and almost immediately became “a raging success,” Ricciotti said, by specializing in sales of mixed-use buildings priced between $5 million and $20 million. Gerage brought two agents from Coldwell Banker and hired several more, and the office is now overcrowded, necessitating an expansion of the 53-desk office, Ricciotti said

“We were very excited, and rather than take a step back to cut expenses, we increased revenues instead,” Ricciotti said.

Gerage said he saw a unique business opportunity in launching a commercial division at Bond, which started out primarily as a rental firm, he said.

“Bond is in a unique position to capitalize on the commercial market,” he said. “These landlords have great relationships with the agents because for years they put tenants in their buildings. That’s a huge referral base for commercial.”

Instead, Bond agents generally sent building sales referrals to other firms, like Massey Knakal Realty Services, which specializes in small building sales. Residential firms Mark David Real Estate and Century 21 NY Metro have also recently started doing commercial business.

“[Bond] would get this business and refer it to other companies,” Gerage said. “I said, ‘look, we’re really giving a lot of money away here.'”

Ricciotti said he had considered starting a commercial division, but didn’t think the current downmarket was the time to start a new venture. That is, until Gerage convinced Ricciotti and co-principal Noah Freedman of the idea’s merits.

“We thought, ‘there’s no way this guy’s not going to pull it off,'” Ricciotti said. “He did everything he said he would do.”

Gerage said the key to his success is that Bond allows him a “seller-friendly” flexible listing agreement that has allowed him to scoop up exclusives. Instead of a set 6 percent commission, he said, the commission varies based on the size of the property.

“It’s really given me the opportunity to grow market share in a big way,” he said, adding that Bond also allows him to work on open listings.

The company’s  exclusive listings include a five-story, mixed-use walk-up at 33 Canal Street priced at $4.35 million, and 73 Thompson Street, a 22-unit apartment building with  a commercial tenant, priced at $8.25 million.

Gerage has two deals in contract, he said: a $5.5 million listing in Hells Kitchen and a $3 million building in Kips Bay.

He said while higher-end building sales are suffering, the market for small mixed-use buildings seems healthy.

“I’d be very happy to develop a niche market in small buildings,” he said.


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
As widespread protests sweep the country, the real estate industry reflects on its decades-long support of the NYPD (Photo illustration by Alexis Manrodt for The Real Deal, Getty, iStock)

As Black Lives Matter protests rage on, NY real estate bleeds blue

As Black Lives Matter protests rage on, NY real estate bleeds blue
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo (Getty, Paul Dilakian)

Despite looting, NYC reopening on track: Cuomo

Despite looting, NYC reopening on track: Cuomo
(Photos by Sylvia Varnham O'Regan, Getty)

After looting, BIDs reverse guidance on boarding up stores

After looting, BIDs reverse guidance on boarding up stores
“5 years ago, people would say, what’s a TikTok?” Bill Rudin on why NYC’s office market may be more resilient than you think

“5 years ago, people would say, what’s a TikTok?” Bill Rudin on why NYC’s office market may be more resilient than you think

“5 years ago, people would say, what’s a TikTok?” Bill Rudin on why NYC’s office market may be more resilient than you think
Clockwise from bottom left: Robert Reffkin of Compass, John Gomes, Scott Rechler of RXR Realty, Rich Barton of Zillow, Gary Keller of Keller Williams and Don Peebles of The Peebles Corporation (Getty)

“America is in crisis:” Real estate leaders address George Floyd protests

“America is in crisis:” Real estate leaders address George Floyd protests
A mass timber project in Cleveland is now under construction and could be the nation’s tallest when completed. Harbor Bay Real Estate Advisors’ Intro development will rise nine stories with 298 residential units (Credit: Harbor Bay Real Estate Advisors)

Mass timber project in Cleveland could be nation’s tallest

Mass timber project in Cleveland could be nation’s tallest
Joy Construction’s Eli Weiss (left), Maddd Equities’ Jorge Madruga (top), and Drew Katz with 20 Bruckner Boulevard in the Bronx (Getty; Google Maps)

“Dream” comes true for long-vacant Bronx ice house

“Dream” comes true for long-vacant Bronx ice house
“We’re not in the business of land-grabbing:” Hana CEO on the future of flex space

“We’re not in the business of land-grabbing:” Hana CEO on the future of flex space

“We’re not in the business of land-grabbing:” Hana CEO on the future of flex space
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...