Century 21 Metropolitan adding another office

Fifty-agent firm to set up second shop on East 28th Street in December
By Ann Imperatore | October 24, 2014 12:14PM

After quietly launching earlier this year, Century 21 Metropolitan is expanding to a second office, The Real Deal has learned.

The franchise brokerage opened in January in Lenox Hill with 21 agents. Principal and co-owner Ryan Sherman said that he and partner Doug Magid preferred to keep the firm under the radar until it was firmly established. But at this point, Century 21 Metropolitan has grown to 50 agents. That increase convinced the pair to add another office to the brokerage.

The partners inked a lease this week, and, in December, will open a 500-square-foot storefront at 36 East 28th Street, serving the Kips Bay, Murray Hill and Gramercy areas. With 12 shareable desks, they anticipate 30 agents by spring and a total of 100 agents throughout the entire firm by next summer.

This is the third shot at Manhattan for Century 21, which, like other national brokerages, has had a tough time making it in the New York City market.

Magid held the title of CEO for a franchise called Century 21 William B. May, which opened in 2004, created by a merger of the venerable residential boutique firm’s Midtown office and Century 21. Headed by Kevin Brown as chairman, the company changed its name to Century 21 Kevin B. Brown and Associates in 2005 following a legal dispute over the May name.

Sherman was sales director of that firm.

Brown sought additional financial backing in 2006, and Magid and Sherman made an offer to purchase the entire company. Brown struck a different deal instead, bringing in Bob Cohen and Mike Simon and becoming a minority partner. Sherman said they were asked to remain part of the management team but declined “because we did not agree with the direction they were taking to establish the brand in Manhattan.”

The firm acquired Dwelling Quest and relaunched in 2006 as Century 21 NY Metro. In 2008, then-President and CEO Simon was out and replaced by Marc Lewis. The firm expanded rapidly, including buying out some smaller brokerages and adding a commercial unit. But despite a few management shuffles over the following years, by 2011 the firm was shuttered and the remaining agents moved to boutique brokerage AC Lawrence with Lewis.

Meanwhile, Sherman and Magid formed an independent boutique shop, Metropolitan Residential. From 2010 to 2012, Sherman said, they doubled their numbers each year.

After Century 21 NY Metro closed, Sherman said, they decided to revisit the franchise opportunity.

“We felt we have really spent the time exploring the right ways of how a Century 21 should emerge in Manhattan, sensing it was worth another look because the corporate people at Century 21 are different now — and wonderful.”

Sherman explained that the vision is to have “small, visible and manageable neighborhood locations in Manhattan.”

The firm, however, plans to operate throughout the city.