The Daily Dirt: City’s largest brokerages cut staff

An analysis of New York's top real estate news

TRD New York /
Apr.April 03, 2020 07:00 PM

The city’s largest residential brokerages are facing a near-total market shutdown.

Firms have responded to the crisis by, in part, laying off and furloughing a significant portion of their employees and finding other ways to cut costs, E.B. Solomont and Erin Hudson report.

Douglas Elliman, the city’s largest residential firm with nearly 2,500 agents, laid off roughly 100 people on Friday. The second-largest, the Corcoran Group, halved the budget for assistants and enacted other company-wide cuts, sources said. The firm also furloughed some staff and suspended ad budgets this month. Terra Holdings, the parent company of Brown Harris Stevens and Halstead, said it would cut executive pay and furlough employees.

In an email to agents, Howard Lorber, chair of Elliman, and Scott Durkin, its president, described “meaningful budget cuts across the company.”

“We are not immune to the economic realities that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to almost every sector of the world economy, including real estate,” they wrote. “By every measure, be it listing volume or closed sales volume, we are experiencing an unprecedented economic slowdown.”

Though New York has declared residential agents essential workers, they are still not permitted to do in-person showings. Brokers have been figuring out ways to do showings and closings remotely.

Statewide, New York saw 88 layoff notices over Thursday and Friday, which could result in 7,300 workers losing their jobs because of Covid-19.

What we’re thinking about: A landlord in Williamsburg has reportedly canceled April rent for his tenants. Do you know of any others doing that? Send a note to [email protected].

CLOSING TIME

Residential: The priciest residential closing recorded Friday was for a condo unit at 220 Central Park South in Midtown, at $52.2 million.

Commercial: The most expensive commercial closing of the day was for an industrial building at 3041 Webster Avenue in Riverdale, at $6.4 million.

BREAKING GROUND

The largest new building filing of the day was for a 110,603-square-foot residential building at 491 Herkimer Street in Stuyvesant Heights. Stephen McCarthy filed the permit application.

NEW TO THE MARKET

The priciest residential property to hit the market was for a townhouse at 215 East 12th Street in the East Village, at $7.8 million. Sotheby’s International Realty’s Michael Bolla has the listing. — Research by Mary Diduch

A thing we’ve learned…

The National Guard is renting about 120 rooms at David Marx’s Courtyard by Marriott hotel near Javits Center to support the emergency medical facility. The NYC Department of Health is renting another 60. The room rate is $262 per room per night for both organizations. The hotel has nearly 400 rooms, and occupancy had previously fallen to 10 percent because of the coronavirus pandemic. Thank you to Kevin Sun, who spotted this information in Tel Aviv Stock Exchange filings.

Elsewhere in New York

— Former Police Commissioner James O’Neill just started his unpaid gig as the city’s supply czar, Politico New York reports. Mayor Bill de Blasio tapped him to oversee supply and distribution of medical equipment and personal protective gear. “What really eats at everybody and causes great anxiety is the uncertainty of all this,” O’Neill said. “We’re not at the apex yet … It’s probably personally affected just about everybody in the city. They know somebody — a family member or a friend. So this has such a broad impact on people. I think that’s the biggest difference.”

— The NYPD is partnering with three health care groups to provide free coronavirus testing to police officers, the New York Post reports. “This comes at a crucial moment, as testing for the presence of coronavirus is integral in our ongoing mission to protect the city we serve,” Commissioner Dermot Shea wrote in a department-wide email.

— Nurses protested outside Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan to demand masks, caps and protective clothing, the New York Daily News reports. “Here we are, against the worst enemy, because this one we can’t see,” said nurse Diana Torres. “We can’t touch it. It’s killing us all. And we have nothing to fight with.”


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