The Agency enters NYC new development

Brokerage heads sales at UWS project one year after city debut via Triplemint acquisition

The Agency's Mauricio Umansky and Mike Leipart with 15 West 96th Street

The Agency’s Mauricio Umansky and Mike Leipart with 15 West 96th Street (The Agency, 15 West 96)

The Agency has arrived for New York City new development.

The California-born brokerage is handling its first new development sales in the city at Sackman Enterprises’ 15 West 96th Street, one year after debuting in the city by way of its acquisition of local firm Triplemint

The Agency will be looking to score $1.6 million for one-bedrooms in the 21-unit, 22-story building overlooking Central Park, with prices up to north of $20 million for the duplex penthouse. The expected sell-out at the building, dubbed Fifteen, is $130 million.

“We’re kind of in our own bubble because there’s nothing really we can compare it to,” said broker Shane Boyle, who’s leading sales at the building. 

A spate of new development projects that have recently popped up on Broadway, including The Westly, which recently broke a price-per-square-foot record for condos north of 86th Street. But Boyle said Broadway’s status as a retail corridor sets it apart from the Fifteen. 

The Agency, founded in 2011 by Umansky and Billy Rose, has been expanding aggressively since 2021. The company has launched new locations via a franchise model, which has yielded 17 new businesses in the three years before February. 

The company initially landed in New York City by buying Triplemint in an all-equity transaction in May of last year. 

At the time of the acquisition, The Agency said it had raised $35 million in growth capital from strategic investors, giving it a valuation of $350 million. Sources previously told The Real Deal the brokerage was attempting to raise further capital last winter, but the company declined to comment.

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The Triplemint acquisition brought Boyle, who was already on sales for the Fifteen, into The Agency’s ranks.

But the growth didn’t spare The Agency from layoffs this winter. The firm became one of several residential brokerages to let go of staff as a result of the downturn in the market. The brokerage let go 15 people, or 4 percent of its staff, in February. 

Mike Leipart, managing partner of new development for The Agency, said the firm is taking a deliberate approach to entering the new development market.

“It’s a different business model,” said Leipart. “In resale you can recruit some agents, and you know how to do back office stuff, and you’re up and running. New development is a much more insular community … It’s a relatively small group of people that do it.”

Leipart said the brokerage is looking to expand its new development arm in the city, including a second project coming online soon at 8 Palmetto Street in Bushwick.

“We’re not going to try to get big in the next six months,” said Leipart. “We’re not going to show up, look stupid and turn tail. We’re in it for the long haul.”

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