Brooklyn’s largest real estate brokerage has arrived in Greenpoint. Rapid Realty’s newest office opened its doors earlier this week, marking the latest stop in an expansion that has taken the city by storm.
Anthony Lolli, a lifelong Brooklyn resident, started Rapid Realty in 1998 to meet the needs of what he saw as an underserved market. “Everyone was so focused on Manhattan sales at that time,” Lolli says. “There really wasn’t a company out there making rentals their top priority, particularly in the outer boroughs.”
Specializing in rentals for so long meant Rapid Realty was uniquely equipped to handle the sudden surge in demand after the housing bubble burst in 2008. With business booming, the company started franchising the following year. Almost immediately, Rapid’s distinctive green-and-brown signs started appearing all over the city. In less than 30 months, the company grew from a single office to more than 50, with locations in all five boroughs.
Their growth has extended beyond New York. In September 2011, Rapid set up shop in Jersey City. Now they have a Boston franchise underway, and plan to be in several other major metropolitan markets across the country before the end of the year.
As for the latest addition to the Rapid empire, Lolli says Greenpoint is becoming a hot destination. “Renters used to ask about Greenpoint when they got priced out of Williamsburg. Now a lot of people are making Greenpoint their first choice.”
One of the neighborhood’s big draws is its glut of high-end apartments. The collapse of the housing market left many condos vacant or stalled, prompting developers to convert them into rentals. “People are snapping up these condo conversions as soon as they hit the market,” Lolli says. “It’s inspired a whole new wave of luxury rental buildings. There’s so much development going on.”
But the development is not just confined to apartments. Local businesses are also feeling the effects. “You can tell a neighborhood is really blowing up when new businesses don’t just hang a shingle and call themselves open,” Lolli says. “They put a lot of money into renovating their storefronts so they add to the curb appeal of the neighborhood.”
“The residential demand is going to be very good for businesses in the area,” agrees James Kelleher, who owns Rapid’s Greenpoint franchise along with Kamil Kosek and Kristine Fulco. He adds that there are many commercial spaces available in prime locations, like Manhattan Avenue. “If someone’s starting a business, we can definitely help them with that.”
For Kosek, opening an office in Greenpoint has personal significance. “Being of Polish descent, my family has always come to Greenpoint to shop for groceries. The neighborhood has a lot of sentimental meaning to me. It’s definitely changing, but I think it’s going in a positive direction, especially in terms of rentals.”
172 Greenpoint Avenue