New Ventures

Blackstone officially wins EOP bid
Equity Office Properties shareholders voted last month to accept Blackstone Group’s $39 billion buyout offer. The deal closed after Blackstone defeated Vornado Realty Trust in a fierce bidding war for the REIT in the largest leveraged buyout in history. Blackstone’s original $48.50-per-share bid rose to $55.50 a share.

New brokerage courts first-timers
Two independent New York rental brokerages have merged to form a firm that will focus on clients hunting for their first apartment. The merger brings together partners Anthony DeGrotta and Larry Friedman of A.C. Lawrence with Ty Byrd of Aventana Real Estate under the A.C. Lawrence and Company name, said the owners. The new firm will have a combined 40 agents in two offices, at 151 West 25th Street and 14 East 34th Street.

Bond New York opens Tribeca office
Residential real estate firm Bond New York opened its fifth location with the launch of a Tribeca storefront at 25 Hudson Street. The 3,300-square-foot office has 32 feet of frontage and will house 48 agents.

Brown Harris Stevens launches condo group
Residential real estate firm Brown Harris Stevens announced the formation of the Russell Condominium Group, a new internal broker group specializing in luxury condominium purchases and sales. Senior vice president and managing director Doug Russell founded the group.

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Mortgage company to relocate and expand
Refinance.com, formerly known as Homebridge Mortgage Bankers, will be relocating its Manhattan office to the entire fourth floor of 55 East 59th Street in spring 2007. The new 15,000-square-foot space will allow the company to expand by hiring 80 new loan officers.

Shea Commercial changes name to SAXA
Arizona-based Shea Commercial announced last month that its development operation will now be known as SAXA. Daren Hornig, the managing partner based in New York, will continue his role as head of the development division in the tri-state area.

Icon Funding Group launches with Manhattan office
Richard Martin has launched the Icon Funding Group with offices located at 100 Park Avenue. The company specializes in both residential and commercial mortgage financing with an emphasis on servicing affluent clients.

SL Green, Reckson merger complete
SL Green Realty’s $6 billion buyout of Reckson Associates Realty is complete, SL Green announced in late January. The deal added 5.6 million square feet of New York City office space to SL Green’s portfolio, making the REIT the largest commercial landlord in the city.