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Three firms announce plans for outer-borough expansion

As recovery of the residential market appears to be taking hold, three city brokerages have announced plans to expand further. Halstead Property and Modern spaces are moving into Brooklyn and Prudential Douglas Elliman has become the first major Manhattan firm to open a branch in Long Island City.

“We anticipate experiencing a tremendous amount of activity in this already popular neighborhood,” said Prudential CEO Dottie Herman, noting the rise in sale prices in Long Island City this year. The median sale price for an LIC condo has jumped nearly 60 percent in the past year, according to the brokerage giant’s own data, as apartment hunters turned to the area in search of more space for less money.

The PDE Long Island City office at 4737 Vernon Boulevard will house retail space on the ground floor, and the downstairs will be outfitted as a creative space with pool table and lounge where agents can “ brainstorm and recharge.” 

The office will be managed by Rick Rosa, a Long Island City resident since 1999 and the first Elliman agent to do work in the neighborhood. Rosa originally joined Elliman in 2004 and left briefly in 2009, but has returned especifically to open and manage the new office.“We are very fortunate to have Rick heading up our new Long Island City office, as he is an incredibly seasoned agent with strong leadership skills and an ‘inside-and-out’ understanding of the neighborhood,” said Yuval Greenblatt, executive vice president of Prudential Douglas Elliman.  

He is a great advocate of Long Island City and is the perfect choice to manage this office.”As a longtime resident of Long Island City, Rosa said he see’s the area as an extension of Manhattan. “It’s convenient, accessible, and great for families.”

Halstead Property, meanwhile, has purchased Cobble Heights Realty, Inc. and Heights Berkeley Realty, Inc. taking its storefront office count in Brooklyn to five (Park Slope, Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill and Brooklyn Heights.) The company now has 23 offices throughout the tri-state area.

“Halstead has experienced tremendous growth in the last few years and we are committed to growing the firm in a smart and strategic way,” said Diane M. Ramirez, president of Halstead Property. “These two reputable boutique firms are the perfect addition to our brand and it is the ideal opportunity to expand our Brooklyn presence. We are incredibly excited to welcome Jeri Griffin, Matthew Miller, Rod Murray and their talented team of agents to the Halstead Property family.” 

Cobble Heights Realty, Inc. and Heights Berkeley Realty Inc. were founded more than 20 years ago by Griffin, Miller and Murray. Effective immediately, all the agents will be joining Halstead Property under the leadership of Trish Martin, director of sales of Brooklyn.

The founders will be joining as associate brokers and senior vice presidents. Earlier this month the LIC-based Modern Spaces also expanded their company to Brooklyn with a new office at 135 Kent Avenue in Williamsburg.

The new office will have a concierge for the public, a conference room and five offices for agents. Keeping it “green,” Modern Spaces will have several orange Modern Spaces branded bicycles available for agents to use if they need to do showings or to go from borough to borough. Modern Spaces is now recruiting an additional 45 to 60 agents throughout 2012 to lead leasing and sales.

“We want agents that can serve as more than just a broker but also a neighborhood guide,” said Eric Benaim, CEO and president of Modern Spaces. The 4,100 s/f new location with 120 feet of store frontage will be shared with coffeehouse Sweetleaf, which will occupy 1,100 s/f of space while Modern Spaces will occupy the remaining 3,000 s/f.

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