The Real Deal Miami

Brown Harris Stevens in talks to acquire two more Miami brokerages

Move would bring 86 agents to BHS' roster in Miami area
From left: Vivian Dimond of Avatar Real Estate Services, Hall Willkie of Brown Harris Stevens and Chris Blackman of Ocean Club Realty

From left: Vivian Dimond of Avatar Real Estate Services, Hall Willkie of Brown Harris Stevens and Chris Blackman of Ocean Club Realty

New York’s Brown Harris Stevens is on the verge of acquiring two more brokerages in its quest to solidify a sales pipeline between Miami and New York, including Vivian Dimond and Toni Schrager’s Avatar Real Estate Services and Chris Blackman’s Ocean Club Realty, The Real Deal has learned.

Sources told TRD that Brown Harris Stevens is in late-stage talks to acquire both Avatar, which is based in Coconut Grove, and Ocean Club Realty, which is based in the Ocean Club condo complex in Key Biscayne.

With these two acquisitions, BHS would add 86 agents to its roster of realtors in Miami. Among those are heavy-hitters Toni Schrager and Josie Wang, both Avatar agents who landed on TRD’s recent list of top 20 residential real estate agents based off sales volume for 2015.

A representative for Brown Harris Stevens declined to comment. Dimond, the managing broker and majority owner of Avatar, said she couldn’t discuss a deal just yet. Ocean Club Realty broker/owner Chris Blackman also said he couldn’t talk about a possible acquisition.

BHS made its first foray onto Miami Beach’s sandy shores last year when it bought Mark Zilbert’s eponymous Zilbert International Realty, giving the New York brokerage a major foothold in the city’s luxury market practically overnight.

Having had a small presence in Palm Beach since 1999, the company announced it was going on a South Florida offensive last year starting with its acquisition of Zilbert’s firm. William Lie Zeckendorf, co-chairman of Brown Harris, said at the time that Miami was a “natural referral market” to New York City and that “like Palm Beach, it’s where New Yorkers go.”

The company also acquired a luxury brokerage in Lake Worth called Manatee Cove Realty in March.

Founded in 1873, Brown Harris Stevens is well-established in New York as a high-end brokerage with nearly 500 agents and $2.2 billion worth of listings at its Manhattan offices, according to TRD’s latest breakdown of NYC brokerages from May.

The firm is owned by Terra Holdings, whose principals are Swig Equities president Kent Swig, investor David Burris, developers Arthur Zeckendorf and William Lie Zeckendorf, and Eric Hadar of Allied Partners.