Keller Williams picks up boutique firm with huge rental portfolio

CitySites has the exclusive on 150-building, 3,500-unit package in Manhattan
By Rich Bockmann | October 24, 2014 11:15AM

Keller Williams NYC has acquired a boutique brokerage with an exclusive on a portfolio of Manhattan rental properties, executives told The Real Deal.  

CitySites New York, founded in 1997 by the son of a real estate family that owns more than 150 Manhattan rental buildings, will fold its 40-plus agents into Keller Williams after the deal closed last week for an undisclosed price.

“We’re very focused as a company on our inventory of sales and our rental inventory. Without inventory, it makes our world much more difficult,” KWNYC CEO Eric Barron said. “We’re going to leverage it and take it to 300 buildings and then 400 buildings.”

Barron, who took over as head of KWNYC about a year after the national franchised opened in 2011, said the firm’s priority will still be sales, which account for 75 percent of its business. The purchase is part of a two-year expansion plan for the firm.

CitySites founders Scott Hakim and Maria Goris will join Keller Williams as executive vice president of new developments and president of relocation and property services, respectively.

“After 17 years it was time for myself and Maria to step out of the day-to-day and focus on leveraging all of what we have built,” Hakim said in a statement. “KWNYC provides a thriving environment, a global platform and financially stable market center for our agents.”

Hakim is the son of Karman Hakim, an Iranian immigrant who in the 1970s began building a portfolio of properties that includes the 480-unit Anthem in Murray Hill.

CitySites has an exclusive rental agreement for 150 Hakim Organization buildings holding 3,500 apartments. The company also has a property-management arm that was launched in 2012, though Barron said that would be a separate line of business.

The move comes as Keller Williams seeks to expand over the coming years. Barron said the company hopes to grow to 1,200 agents over the next 24 months, and is looking to open a Downtown office early next year.