Coldwell Banker is closing one of its two Malibu offices and reducing its presence in Los Feliz, as brokerages face mounting financial strains in a market that was hit hard by the coronavirus lockdown.
The company attributed the downsizing in part to agents who say they are content to work from home. But the moves also come a few months after Coldwell shuttered one of its two Beverly Hills offices. The brokerage, a perennial leader in residential sales in Los Angeles County, is owned by Realogy, which in March enacted substantial cost-cutting measures as the coronavirus took hold.
California’s statewide stay-at-home order that has since been partly lifted mostly seized up home sales, with only virtual tours allowed.
Jamie Duran, president of Coldwell Banker Southern California, said April 15 was the low-point for sales. Duran declined to provide figures but said the brokerage “started coming out of that” afterwards.
Coldwell is leaving its space at 23676-23712 Malibu Road, which it has leased for 20 to 30 years and still has about seven or eight years remaining. The office is 2,700 square feet, according to CoStar. Duran said Coldwell is still paying rent on that space.
Staff and agents will be reassigned to the company’s remaining Malibu office at 29178 Heathercliff Road, which is only about 600 square feet. Duran called that office “very hip, and very architecturally stunning.”
Coldwell is also reducing its footprint at the Los Feliz office at 1917 Hillhurst Ave., where it now leases 1,670 square feet, according to CoStar. As with the Malibu location, the brokerage has several years left on the Los Feliz lease. It may sublet half the space, Duran said.
That office serves a swath of affluent L.A. areas including Silver Lake, Echo Park, and Eagle Rock. Duran said a larger office is no longer a necessity.
“Agents are now saying, ‘I don’t need a space,’” she said. “We are giving them what they are asking for.”
Duran said Coldwell has made all its Southern California office lease payments during the pandemic, a contrast to other shops, which have struggled, or have had to defer payments.
The Agency co-founder Mauricio Umansky acknowledged that the Beverly Hills-based luxury brokerage negotiated rent deferrals on several of its leases.