Link Real Estate to triple size with purchase of Key New York

By Adam Pincus | July 11, 2013 02:30PM

The fledgling residential brokerage Link Real Estate NYC acquired the larger Key New York, more than tripling its number of brokers to about 50, company managing member Dan Arev told The Real Deal.

With the acquisition of Key, Link will have two offices: its headquarters in Soho, on the ground floor of 147 Grand Street, and another at 39 West 14th Street near Union Square. Link is expected to sign a lease in the coming weeks for a third office in the Upper East Side in the East 90s, Arev said, and is hunting for a retail location in Williamsburg.

Link, a young firm launched days after Hurricane Sandy battered the city, is owned by Arev and overseas investors, whom he declined to identify. The full service firm does residential marketing and leasing, as well as sales.

As part of the acquisition, Key’s founder and former principal broker Shane Kramer will take a position as director of leasing at Link.

Arev targeted Link in part because Kramer, with experience in hiring and training agents, would be helpful in growing the combined firm.

Kramer has more than a decade of experience in real estate in New York City, including several years working with Arev and his father, Abe, at Best Apartments, where Kramer started in 2002. Later he was hired as director of leasing at Bond New York, which he left to found Key in late 2008. He began talking with the younger Arev about selling the firm early this year.

In addition, Arev said, “by buying [Key’s] database we felt we could expand ours by having more access to listings than we had before.”

Kramer, explaining why he decided to sell, noted it was difficult to run a company, and added that his experience hiring and training brokers would complement Link.

“It was really about resources and relationships. Dan has resources and relationships that will benefit me, and I have [those] that will benefit him,” Kramer said.

The deal was finalized July 2 but the actual merger of the two firms is ongoing, Arev said. Kramer and Arev declined to disclose the purchase price.

Lawrence Link, president of brokerage firm Level Group, who is not involved in either firm, said the acquisition comes at a pressure-filled time for rental firms, which are starved for product in the tight leasing market.

“The rental market is extremely competitive,” Link said. “It is making for a difficult set up for rental companies.”

Link Real Estate focuses on Manhattan and Brooklyn listings, with deals concentrated on apartments renting for about $3,000 to $6,000, a review of data on StreetEasy reveals. However, the firm has done far pricier exclusives and non-exclusives, Arev said.

Currently, Link has 12 brokers affiliated with the firm, and Key has 38, according to the New York State Department of State, which licenses real estate brokers and salespersons.

Kramer said the number of active brokers and salespersons was less than that figure, and Arev said his firm had more agents being added.