Rutenberg to open Brooklyn office

By Candace Taylor | August 03, 2010 11:30AM

Scott Morrow (left) and Jesse Temple

Fast-growing brokerage Charles Rutenberg Realty is expanding into Brooklyn.

Rutenberg will open a 1,000-square-foot storefront office at 1214 Eighth Avenue in Park Slope, between 12th and 13th streets, in early September, the company said. The new office will be headed by Rutenberg senior vice presidents Jesse Temple and Scott Morrow. The two have plans to hire and train five new agents to work out of the Park Slope office as members of their team, Temple said, but other Rutenberg agents will be free to use the space as well.

Rutenberg, which has a different commission model than most brokerages, was founded in Manhattan in 2006 by former Elliman executives Paul Purcell and Kathy Braddock. Instead of giving a portion of each commission to the firm, agents pay fixed monthly and transaction fees. In exchange, they don’t have dedicated work stations; instead, they only stop by Rutenberg’s 1,800-square-foot Manhattan Office On 56th Street to pick up commission checks or prepare co-op board packages. The new office will follow that model, Temple said.

“We’re pretty much looking to duplicate the setup of the Manhattan office,” he said, but noted that he’s not sure yet how many desks the new office will hold. The Brooklyn office will be just second for the firm in the city.

Rutenberg, which has grown by over 50 percent in the past year, already does “a lot of deals in Brooklyn,” Braddock said. So when Temple, a Park Slope resident, came across the Eighth Avenue space, it “just seemed to make sense,” she said.

Braddock added: “We think it’s exciting to have a presence there.”

Temple said around 25 Rutenberg agents live in Brooklyn, so the new office will be convenient for them. But perhaps more importantly, the Park Slope branch will help Rutenberg grow its visibility in the area.

“I felt like I wanted to take this model that’s so great and bring it to Brooklyn,” Temple said. To do that, he felt he needed a physical presence, especially since “it’s the land of the storefront offices over here.”

After an invasion of Manhattan real estate firms in recent years, Park Slope’s Seventh Avenue is dotted with real estate offices, from large city firms like Brown Harris Stevens and the Corcoran Group to local companies like Warren Lewis Realty and Berman Realty. That’s no accident: many Brownstone Brooklyn residents prefer storefront offices, Temple said.

“They live in Brooklyn for its row houses and stores,” he said. When it comes to real estate offices, “people like something they can see, walk into, meet the agents.”

He said Rutenberg’s new office has an advantage because it’s one of The Only Real Estate Offices On Eighth Avenue. “We’re in a part of the Slope where we’re not overcrowded with tons of other real estate companies,” he said.

The space is currently occupied by a Kumon Learning Center, which has outgrown it and plans to relocate at the end of August, he said.

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