The Real Deal New York

Kyle Blackmon leaves BHS for Urban Compass

Hall Willkie takes the gloves off in statement about Urban Compass' future
By E.B. Solomont | November 21, 2014 12:05PM

Kyle Blackmon, one of the city’s elite luxury brokers and the holder of the distinction of New York City’s priciest closed sale, has jumped to Urban Compass from Brown Harris Stevens, The Real Deal has learned.

Blackmon brokered the $88 million sale of Citigroup chairman Sanford Weill’s penthouse at 15 Central Park West to Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev in 2012 — a deal that is still New York’s City priciest closed apartment sale. He’s closed about $1 billion in sales since 2003, according to Brown Harris Stevens’ website.

Blackmon’s departure is Brown Harris Stevens’ highest-profile exit of the decade. President Hall Willkie said in a surprisingly no-holds-barred statement that “Kyle has made the decision that the equity proposition offered to him trumps a singular focus on brokerage.”

“Selling real estate has always been and will always be what we do at Brown Harris Stevens,” Willkie continued. Blackmon couldn’t be reached for comment.

A memo circulated today to Brown Harris agents and staff said the value of Blackmon’s equity in Urban Compass “will be dependent on the success of Urban Compass’ founders implementing their vision of selling their company for substantially more than many industry experts believe is possible – especially considering their recent switch to a traditional brokerage model.”

Blackmon, who started his real estate career at Brown Harris as an intern 12 years ago, was the firm’s No. 1 broker in 2012. He ranked 24th on The Real Deal’s annual list of top brokers, with $135.8 million in listings.

It’s unclear what listings he’ll take with him to Urban Compass. The startup brokerage, now valued at north of $350 million, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. Blackmon is Urban Compass’ biggest recruiting coup since Leonard Steinberg came over from Douglas Elliman in June.