The Real Deal New York

Somerset Partners, EXR join forces to create new Bronx brokerage

EXR Somerset will launch with 20 agents and operate out of the Bruckner Building
By Eddie Small | October 11, 2018 01:30PM

From left: Keith Rubenstein, Mario Faggiano, Joe Monteleone, and a view of Mott Haven in the Bronx (Credit: Getty Images, Twitter, Somerset Partners, and Max Touhey via Curbed NY)

Keith Rubenstein’s Somerset Partners is teaming up with EXR to bring a new residential and commercial brokerage to the Bronx.

The two companies have established a joint venture called EXR Somerset that aims to accommodate the growing need for landlord services in the Bronx, according to representatives for both firms. It will launch its first office out of Mott Haven’s Bruckner Building with 20 agents, and everything should be up and running by Nov. 1, EXR co-founder Mario Faggiano said.

The South Bronx has exploded in popularity among real estate investors in recent years, but it still does not have much in the way of residential brokerages. The new venture from Somerset and EXR aims to change that, according to Faggiano.

“There’s no serious landlord representation happening from a brokerage north of 96th street even,” he said.

Somerset has been an active player in the South Bronx for years. The company and partner Chetrit Group recently sold a pair of waterfront sites at 2401 Third Avenue and 101 Lincoln Avenue to Brookfield Property Partners for $165 million. The firms had previously planned to construct a seven-tower project with 1,300 residential units on the properties.

Rubenstein said after the sale that he was still committed to being in the Bronx and announced plans to launch a $200 million investment fund for the area a few months later under the new federal tax law’s Opportunity Zone provision.

It is unclear whether Brookfield and their South Bronx project will be one of EXR Somerset’s clients.

Joseph Monteleone, CEO of Somerset Residential, said in a statement that EXR was a “natural fit” to help Somerset meet the “ever-increasing demand for landlord-focused services” in the Bronx.

EXR was founded in 2014 as a Brooklyn-based company, and The Real Deal ranked it earlier this year as one of the fastest growing firms in the borough by agent count. Faggiano said many of the clients the firm has in Brooklyn have properties in the Bronx as well, which was another reason behind the partnership and expansion.

Although the brokerage will be based in the South Bronx, it will operate throughout the borough, Faggiano said.

“A lot is happening in Mott Haven — a lot of new development stuff will be focused there,” he said. “But we’re servicing the landlords across the borough.”