UPDATED, 12:39 p.m., August 14: In February, Epic Commercial Realty promoted one of its senior brokers to be a partner, principal and head of the Manhattan division alongside CEO Yona Edelkopf. That leadership structure didn’t last very long.
Just a few months later, the broker, Ido Tzaidi, and his colleague, Sasi Elya, bought the Brooklyn-centric middle-market investment sales brokerage from Edelkopf and have begun shifting its focus to Manhattan, while also making forays into Queens and the Bronx.
Like many investment sales brokerages amid the market slowdown, Epic has seen its business take a hit.
The brokerage landed in 33rd place in The Real Deal’s 2016 investment sales firms ranking with $155 million across 58 investment sales deals, a 43 percent year-over-year drop. The firm was behind main Brooklyn rivals TerraCRG (No. 23) and Pinnacle Realty (No. 25), and just slightly ahead of CPEX Real Estate (No. 35).
In an effort to grow a presence citywide, Tzaidi said the firm is about to undergo a “heavy expansion” that will see the firm’s agent roster swell to at least 100 by next year.
Tzaidi and Elya, president and CEO respectively, acquired the company from Edelkopf for an undisclosed price in June. That transaction was previously unreported. They had joined in 2014 as senior associate brokers, from Netmore Realty and Citi Habitats respectively.
Edelkopf, who is seen as a Brooklyn specialist, is no longer affiliated with the firm. He and has launched his own brokerage, EMH Commercial Realty.
In a joint call with TRD, Tzaidi and Edelkopf said the decision to sell was mutual.
“We discussed how Brooklyn is more street smart and how Manhattan has more established owners and it was going to be very different route to get more deals across the finish line in Manhattan,” Edelkopf said.
“We thought it was best to go two separate ways,” added Tzaidi.
The Soho-based brokerage was founded as Itzhaki Properties in 2001. Founder Erez Itzhaki, who now runs Itzhaki Acquisitions, left in 2006 to focus on development. Edelkopf joined Itzhaki Properties in 2013 to run the firm. In 2014, it was renamed Epic Commercial Realty, with the “EP” in the name standing for Edelkopf Properties. As of now, there are no plans to change the name again.
In recent years, Epic brokered a handful of big deals, including a Michael Shvo-led group’s $130 million purchase of 100 Varick Street (in which Erez Itzhaki was a partner) in 2014 and Merchants Hospitality’s contract flip of an Upper East Side site for $112 million in 2015. Last year’s deals, however, weren’t highlight reel-worthy, with a $26 million Orbach Group buy among the biggest. Tzaidi brokered the Merchants and Orbach deals.
Epic’s core business has been deals under $20 million in Brooklyn neighborhoods such as Crown Heights, Ocean Hill and Flatbush and occasionally on areas of Manhattan such as the Upper East Side.
The firm has 24 agents as of Aug. 10, Department of State records show. In June 2016, the firm had 34 agents, and at the time of the acquisition, it had 26, according to Tzaidi. Amir Aframian and Edan Cohen, two star brokers who left in 2015 and 2016, now run their own commercial brokerage, Sector Property Group. Shay Zach, a longtime top producer at Epic, remains at the firm.
Records show that Edelkopf’s Williamsburg-based EMH Commercial Realty has six agents as of Aug. 10.
“Yona’s specialty is Brooklyn. He’s a very good friend and we want to see him succeed,” Tzaidi said. “But our aim is even higher than before.”
This story was updated to include broker information on deals Epic was involved in, as well as its roster of current agents.