Bellmarc opens one office, closes another

Co-founder Neil Binder continues to shop stake in firm once eyed by William Raveis

TRD New York /
May.May 21, 2012 06:30 PM

Bellmarc Realty plans to close its second-floor Madison Avenue location in favor of A New Storefront On Lexington Avenue scheduled to open at the end of May, firm co-founder Neil Binder told The Real Deal. The 3,000-square-foot office, under construction at 1178 Lexington Avenue on the corner of 81st Street, will have space for 60 agents, who will move from the shuttering location at 1051 Madison Avenue, Binder said.

“There’s real value for street exposure,” he added, explaining his motivation for the move, which comes as the lease at the Madison Avenue space is set to expire.

“I felt that by not having the street exposure on Madison, it didn’t give us a chance to invite customers to come in and meet with us to the same level” as at the firm’s other four offices, which are all ground-floor retail spots.

With roughly 250 agents, Bellmarc is one of Manhattan’s largest residential brokerages.

The Lexington Avenue facilities could serve as a template for upgrading Bellmarc’s existing offices, located in Midtown, the Upper West Side, the Flatiron District and Greenwich Village, Binder said.

Formerly occupied by a women’s clothing store, the space will have an open plan design, with eating areas, conference rooms and technology that incorporates Bellmarc’s proprietary software, he said.

The 12-story building, also known by its alternate address at 140 East 81st Street, contains 83 co-op residences on its upper floors and about 6,000 square feet of retail and office space, according to Property Shark.

This is not the first Bellmarc location to close in recent years. The company left its corporate headquarters at 352 Park Avenue South in January 2009 in an effort to trim costs at the height of the recession.

Meanwhile, Binder has been looking for investors for the last year and a half to purchase a share of the firm that belongs to co-founder Marc Broxmeyer, who retired three years ago.

Last year, Bellmarc was negotiating with New England brokerage William Raveis Real Estate to purchase a significant stake in the company. But, as The Real Deal previously reported, talks fell apart last May after the two sides realized their businesses were not a match.

Binder is still intent on finding a partner who has more to offer than just a financial contribution, including the possibility of a connection with a regional firm. While he declined to go into details, he said that he is “talking to” a couple of investors.

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