A Brokerage Firm Full of Techies
On Thursday, we snapped tech-centric brokerage company Urban Compass’ Sofia Song and the temporarily blue-bearded co-founder and head of engineering Ugo Di Girolamo. Sofia signed on recently as research head for the new firm from StreetEasy and shared the latest actionable data points: Rents are static in Carnegie Hill and Lenox Hill but have dropped 8% in Tribeca in the past year. Flatiron’s median rent, meanwhile, rose 15%. Unit asking prices in Midtown doubled from $2.8M to $5.5M thanks to new projects like One57, 432 Park Ave, and the resi portions of the Baccarat and Cassa Hotel. And among Manhattan’s existing-building for-sale units from 900 SF to 1,200 SF, condos cost 50% more than co-ops (average asking rates are $1.5M and $1M, respectively).
We were visiting Urban Compass’ Union Square office (Pandora’s former digs), which opened last week to complement its SoHo outpost. (Legend says you can still hear the Pandora music playing there. Others say that's just Mark McGrath actually living there and singing because he's hit some hard times.) The workspace affirms the 10-month-old company’s status as a tech firm: open office loaded with conference rooms, a pool table, games, free lunch, a loaded snack closet, and a bodega-worthy drink fridge. The company’s goal is to make home-searching more transparent for customers. Its info (the same as on all the other search sites) is free for anyone with Internet, clients can do all their transaction stuff like uploading financial documents and putting down a deposit via Urban Compass’ app, and the company’s brokers have a more-detailed version of the app for building and updating listings and viewing comps all on the go.