The Daily Dirt: Greetings from brokerage consolidation nation

An analysis of New York's top real estate news

TRD New York /
Feb.February 25, 2020 09:00 AM
From left: Ryan Schneider, Ryan Gorman, Philip White, and Pam Liebman

From left: Ryan Schneider, Ryan Gorman, Philip White, and Pam Liebman

Realogy is renaming parts of its business. Basically, it’s giving each unit a name that starts with “Realogy” and ends with whatever the subsidiary does.

The company is changing NRT, the arm that includes Corcoran Group, Sotheby’s International Realty and Coldwell Banker, to Realogy Brokerage Group, E.B. Solomont reports. (Unfortunately for Realogy, someone has already claimed “the notorious R.B.G.”)

TRG, its title insurance business, will be known as Realogy Title Group. The company’s franchise division is already called Realogy Franchise Group.

The brand overhaul comes amid broader consolidation efforts by Realogy. The company announced plans last year to cut $70 million from its 2019 expenses. Realogy has since closed Coldwell Banker offices and sold other parts of its business. And last month, the Corcoran Group announced a merger with Citi Habitats (though representatives from the firms said the move was not a cost-cutting measure).

Broadly speaking, the residential brokerage world is facing pressure from increased competition as well as political and market forces. Firms are on the lookout for ways to cut costs and consolidate business, and — as Erin Hudson reported this month — are even teaming up in some cases.

Got $1 billion? Come on down!

CBS is hoping to unload its Sixth Avenue headquarters for more than $1 billion, Rich Bockmann reports.

In December the company announced it was looking to sell the black granite skyscraper at 51 West 52nd Street, known as “Black Rock.” The news came shortly after CBS’ $25 billion merger with Viacom closed.

“We anticipate the sale to close in 2020 and we expect to use the proceeds from this transaction for a mix of debt reduction and opportunistic share repurchases,” said Christina Spade, ViacomCBS’ chief financial officer, on the firm’s earnings call last week.

This isn’t the first time the combined companies have considered selling the 52-story tower. Viacom first purchased CBS in 1999, and reportedly looked to sell the landmarked building for $370 million, though no deal ever materialized. The two firms split up in 2006. Unclear if the pricing this time around will be right.

What we’re thinking about: What do you think of Joe Biden’s housing plan? Send a note to [email protected].

CLOSING TIME

Residential: The priciest residential closing recorded on Monday was for a condo unit at 53 West 53rd Street in Midtown, at $11 million.

Commercial: The most expensive commercial closing of the day was for a development site between Overlook Terrace and Fort Washington Avenue in Hudson Heights, at $16.9 million.

BREAKING GROUND

The largest new building filing of the day was for a 23,825-square-foot manufacturing building at 53 Scott Avenue in East Williamsburg. Erika Warehouse Corp. filed the permit application.

NEW TO THE MARKET

The priciest residential listing to hit the market was for a townhouse at 292 West Fourth Street in the West Village, at $26.3 million. Sotheby’s International Realty’s Serena Boardman has the listing. — Research by Mary Diduch

A thing we’ve learned…

Steve Wynn just bought two Picasso paintings for $105 million, according to the Wall Street Journal. Wynn, who resigned as CEO and chairman of Wynn Resorts following reports of allegations of sexual misconduct against him, purchased “Woman with Beret and Collar” and “Seated Woman (Jacqueline).”

Elsewhere in New York

— Watchdog groups aren’t happy that Mayor Bill de Blasio now uses Signal, an encrypted messaging app, the New York Post reports. One of the issues is that it’s unclear whether using the app gets him around the city and state’s archiving laws. The app includes an option that permanently deletes messages.

— Where have you gone, Train Daddy? Gothamist reports that the first workday without Andy Byford at the helm of the New York City Transit Authority was a disaster. The L train experienced some sort of “mechanical problem” Monday morning, which led to massive delays and a full-blown shutdown of the line.

— Him? The latest Siena College Research Institute poll, released Monday, found that Sen. Bernie Sanders and Mike Bloomberg are the top Democratic presidential contenders in New York, Politico New York reports.


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