Brokerage moving into Jane Jacobs’ former Village pad

The Next Step Realty leasing space at property that was home to influential urban activist
By Rich Bockmann | November 25, 2014 03:50PM

Check out New York City, just the way Jane Jacobs did.

A startup brokerage that targets recent college grads is opening an office in the West Village home where the famed urban activist formed her influential ideas on big-city living.

The Next Step Realty, which helps recent grads find apartments when they move to New York, plans to open its fourth Manhattan office early next year at 555 Hudson Street. The property is the three-story, red brick townhouse Jacobs referred to several times in her groundbreaking 1961 book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities.

“Like Jane Jacobs, the Next Step organization carries a genuine appreciation for New York City,” company CEO Blair Brandt said. “We are honored to preserve her home and continue her mission of creating a Manhattan that is welcoming to the many first time renters who dream of living in New York.”

Brandt said the new office is located near the neighborhoods where roughly a third of his clients prefer to live: Tribeca, the West Village, the Meatpacking District and Chelsea.

Back in Jacobs’s days, the ground floor of her townhouse was home to a candy shop she frequented as she observed the “sidewalk ballet” and “eyes on the streets” she would write about in her seminal work.

The writer and activist lived in the home from 1947 to 1968 when she and her husband left for Toronto to keep their sons out of the Vietnam War draft. In 1971, she sold the home, which was most recently purchased in 2009 for $3.3 million.

Next Step signed a two-year lease for the 1,000-square-foot space. Past retail tenants include a children’s bookstore and Glassybaby, a purveyor of hand-blown glass cups and candle holders.

Next Step launched in South Florida in 2010 as an online referral service and opened its first office in Manhattan in 2012. The company’s campus-to-keys approach aims to seamlessly guide recent grads through their move to the city.