CRAIN'S New York BusinessBY JOE ANUTA
Feb. 25, 2014
Residential broker signs up for midtown digs
Nest Seekers International's new office on Fifth Avenue, between East 47th and East 48th streets, will help the firm meet the rising demand for nearby residential space.
Residential brokerage firm Nest Seekers International recently inked a lease at 587 Fifth Ave., between East 47th and East 48th streets, taking the entire fifth floor in an effort to pounce on midtown's changing landscape and provide a new hub for its agents.
Along Fifth Avenue, residential and retail rents have skyrocketed both farther north in the 50s, and farther south in the 20s, according to Nest Seekers Chief Executive Eddie Shapiro. But between these two markets has long existed a relative no-man's land that is just now finding its identity. That convinced Nest Seekers to set up their 4,000-square-foot office in the 10-story building, where asking rents are in the $60 per square-foot range—a move that gives it a leg up on serving the area, since more commercial tenants are moving into the area as well.
"We wanted to be there a little bit ahead of the curve, and secure the space at rates that are more affordable for long term," said Chief Executive Eddie Shapiro, who committed to two five-year leases.
Nest Seekers, which has seven locations in the five boroughs, already has a smaller space near the corner of Madison Avenue and East 49th Street, which they are debating keeping open. And though Mr. Shapiro considered setting up a new office in the Flatiron district, midtown's growing demand for retail and residential space, both of which are connecting the two Fifth Avenue markets, led him to stay there. In addition, the centralized spot provides easy transit access for his agents, who not only need to commute to and from the office, but also fan out across the city on a daily basis.
Mr. Shapiro is an old friend of Asher Zamir of landlord Zamir Equities, and after a chance run-in between the two, decided to take the space in the latter's 1920s-era building.
"The building has that old New York charm," Mr. Shapiro said. "There are few buildings left that are not glass towers."
Both sides were represented in-house, and Nest Seekers plans to open in early March.
The new office is just part of Nest Seekers' expansion. The firm has been trying to connect several luxury markets across the country, with offices in The Hamptons, Beverly Hills and Miami.