Raveis-Bellmarc deal scuttled

By C.J. Hughes | May 10, 2011 01:38PM

From left: Neil Binder, president of Bellmarc, and Chris Raveis, managing partner of William Raveis

The planned purchase of a large stake in Bellmarc Realty by William Raveis Real Estate, which would have been one of the larger real-estate acquisitions in recent memory, is dead.

Neil Binder, Bellmarc’s president, confirmed today to The Real Deal that during negotiations in recent weeks the two sides could not bridge their differences about how a brokerage should be run.

“As we continued to progress on trying to create a framework for marriage, it appeared to both sides that we had different business models,” Binder said, without elaborating about whether the disagreement was over price or how the combined company might function on a day-to-day basis.

But, Binder added, there is no bad blood about the deal’s being killed. “I have great respect for Mr. Raveis,” he said. “I think he runs a great organization.”

The deal, Binder explained, was prompted by the retirement of Bellmarc principal Marc Broxmeyer, who owned a 50 percent stake in the firm that he founded with Binder in 1979.

After Broxmeyer announced his intention to leave the business two years ago, Binder began to shop around Broxmeyer’s stake to local real estate firms. He declined to say which ones other than Raveis he has spoken with.

Yet Binder denied that his bringing in new investors has anything to do with his exiting the real estate business.

“I’m not retiring. I’m not going away. I’m very much dedicated to staying in the game,” he said.

Supriya Anand, a spokesperson for Raveis, also confirmed the deal was off, though she would not provide further details.

“We would like to thank Neil Binder and his team for the time they have spent with us,” said Anand in an email, adding “we are continuing to look for further opportunities in the city.”

The purchase, which was supposed to close this month, was viewed as a chance for Raveis, based in Shelton, Conn., to push significantly deeper into the New York market.

That effort began in summer 2009, when the firm entered Westchester County by buying Realty 3 Real Estate of Rye. And subsequent acquisitions in Westchester have boosted Raveis’s presence to about 80 agents in the suburban region.

At the same time, Bellmarc appeared to be sharply downsizing. In winter 2009, the firm ditched its corporate headquarters at 352 Park Avenue South in a cost-cutting bid.  

And a year later, the firm got out of property management by selling that arm of its business, which managed 50 rental buildings, to Prudential Douglas Elliman. 

Today, the independently owned firm has 250 agents and five Manhattan offices, according to its website, and 540 listings, mostly in Manhattan but also scattered among Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens.