Former Levy associate opens up copycat brokerage firm

Homestate Properties office at 102-104 Fulton Street

A new sales and rental brokerage with ties to embattled developer Yair Levy has opened at 102-104 Fulton Street, the former home of now-defunct firm Homestead New York.

And with a remarkably similar name — Homestate Properties — the new firm may be trying to piggyback on the success of its predecessor, which ceased operations in 2008 in the midst of the real estate downturn.

The new firm is being run by Daniel Deutsch, Levy’s son-in-law and onetime business associate, and is headquartered in office space owned by Levy in the Fulton Chambers building, a nine-story building that Levy and partners converted to 14 condo units in 2004. 

After selling out Fulton Chambers, Levy retained ownership of commercial condos in the building, according to city documents, and leased space to sales and rental firm Homestead, founded by Eli Adahan and Danny Shamooil. Homestead had about 35 agents and three offices by the time it closed. Its co-founders, who are not involved in Homestate, have now moved on to other ventures.

Levy himself may not be involved in the new venture, either. Homestate filed for incorporation with the Department of State in November 2009, according to the agency’s Web site, listing as its address Park Columbus at 101 West 87th Street — a stalled condo conversion, owned by Levy, which is now in foreclosure. But Homestate’s real estate license lists 102-104 Fulton Street as its headquarters, naming Deutsch as a salesperson and attorney Lior Aldad as the broker.

When reached by phone, Aldad said he is only temporarily longer involved in the firm and Deutsch is running the show.

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Deutsch has worked with Levy for years and is listed on the Web site of Levy’s company — YL Real Estate Developers — as executive vice president. But Levy said through a spokesperson that that he is not involved in the new firm other than being its landlord, and that Deutsch no longer works for him.

Reached by phone at Homestate’s office yesterday, Deutsch declined to answer questions about the new firm, and did not respond to follow-up calls.

Some brokers speculated that the Homestate name is an attempt to capture what remains of Homestead’s customer base.

But Kathy Braddock, head of brokerage Charles Rutenberg Realty in New York and co-founder of the new broker-rating Web site, said it may not make much difference, since customers are usually loyal to individual agents, not firms.

“I don’t think the consumer so much cares if they go to Elliman or Corcoran — they stay with the broker,” she said. “I don’t think [the new firm] is going to attract people who used to be with Homestead. They’ve got to market [themselves] like everyone else.”

Adahan, who is now a broker at Charles Rutenberg Realty, declined to comment about the similarity in names between Homestate and his former company, but said: “I wish them all the best.”

Shamooil, head of the new residential real estate firm Prime New York, also declined to comment.