Benjamin James loses offices, cuts staff

Taking a cue from other real estate companies, Benjamin James Real Estate has cut staff and closed offices amid a still-ailing real estate market.

The company is down to one office, located at 120 West 21st Street, down from three a year ago, according to Douglas Wagner, the company’s president and general manager.

The company closed its Soho office, at 96 West Houston Street at LaGuardia Place, around a year ago, Wagner said, then closed its Union Square branch, at 900 Broadway, May 1. Fitting into one 1,000-square-foot office required the company to reduce its workforce by about 14 people during a “very unpleasant Friday afternoon” in April, Wagner said.

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“Given the current climate, you do what you have to do to survive,” Wagner said. “I felt that the best strategy for our short-term sustenance and growth is a very back-to-basics approach.”

The company, whose chairman is James Benjamin Ferrari, now has 20 agents working in the 21st Street office and 12 virtual employees who do business remotely, Wagner said.

This story first appeared on The Real Deal’s daily blog.