By James Comtois on July 30, 2013.
Citi Habitats is shuttering its two Upper West Side offices in favor of a larger, single location in the neighborhood.
The residential real estate brokerage has signed a 10-year, 8,335-square-foot lease for most of the second floor of 157 Columbus Avenue, according to data from leasing database Compstak. As a result, Citi Habitats will be closing its offices at 222 West 72nd Street and 465 Columbus Avenue.
The brokers from both offices are scheduled to move into this new larger space, at West 67th Street, no later than Dec. 1, and possibly as early as November. The firm will pay in the mid-$40s per square foot, Compstak shows.
The firm, which will have nine offices following the consolidation, is making this move as part of its ongoing rebranding of the company, Citi Habitats President Gary Malin told The Real Deal.
“Our current retail offices don’t serve our needs anymore. We needed a brighter, more modern feel,” Malin said. “This office is being built with lounges, pantries and phone booth areas for agents to make private phone calls.”
Citi Habitats has undergone some massive changes of late, including the closures of offices at 27 East 22nd Street and 32 East 22nd Street. The number of Citi Habitats agents dropped to roughly 630 agents as of May 2013, down from 673 in 2011 and 816 in 2008, according to The Real Deal’s most recent ranking of the city’s largest firms.
“We’re in the process of reinvigorating our company in terms of its offices,” Malin said in a sit-down interview with TRD earlier this year. “When you reduce the number of offices and look to secure much larger offices, there’s going to be a gap between what you are today and what you’re going to be tomorrow.”
Separately, Citi Habitats hired Fabrizio Uberti-Bona, an agent at MNS, as a managing director. He will work with senior managing director Jay Heydt in the company’s Gramercy flagship at 250 Park Avenue South. In his new role, Uberti-Bona will head up the office’s agent recruiting and training program. He will also be responsible for increasing the volume of rental and sales listings for this location.
Prior to joining Citi Habitats — or rather re-joining, as Uberti-Bona started his real estate career at the firm nine years ago — he was the managing director of MNS’ Gramercy office, and then an agent.
“I had stayed in touch with Gary, and this opportunity at Citi Habitats came up that was just too good to pass up,” Uberti-Bona said.
Andrew Barrocas, CEO of MNS, did not immediately return a request for comment.