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Marine Park residential brokerage extends reach to brownstone Brooklyn.

Byline: Candace Taylor

Gerard Longo is expanding his business to brownstone Brooklyn.

Marine Park-based residential brokerage Madison Estates and Properties is expanding into brownstone Brooklyn and is planning a leap into Manhattan.

The 60-agent firm will open a new office in a renovated brownstone at 53 Douglass Street in Carroll Gardens by mid-June, according to Gerard Longo, the firm's president. The move doubles the number of company offices from its lone location at 2922 Avenue R in Marine Park in the southeastern section of Brooklyn.

Longo said his aim is to take advantage of the down market to grow the name brand in the rest of Brooklyn.

"We are being proactive in our thinking and increasing our market share," he said, adding that while sales volume is down, his agents have been able to gain more clients as other salespeople leave the industry. "We have less competition."

Currently, the majority of Madison's business is centered in neighborhoods like Marine Park, Midland and Sheepshead Bay, where much of the housing stock is detached and attached one- and two-family homes. But the company does have some listings in Park Slope and other neighborhoods closer to Manhattan, which are difficult to manage from Marine Park, he said. "For all of Brooklyn -- [from] one office -- it's a lot," he said.

Longo, who is also the developer of Tribeca projects the Fairchild and the Pearline Soap Factory, said he also owns property in Manhattan and is planning to open Madison Estates offices there in the next two years, though he did not say where. The company previously had a Staten Island division, which it closed three years ago.

For now, however, "we're focusing on Cobble Hill," Longo said.

Madison Estates, which owns the spaces where it has offices, purchased the Cobble Hill brownstone a year ago, said Longo, adding that he was attracted to its location just off Smith Street.

"There's a lot of action over there," he said.

Five agents will be based in the new office, which eventually will hold 40 people, he said, adding that recruiting for the new location is underway.

Longo, who purchased William J. Foulkes Real Estate in the midst of the early 1990s real estate slump and shortly thereafter changed the name to Madison Estates, said he isn't afraid of the current real estate slump.

"I'm getting into the market when there are more opportunities," he said. "This is the best move for us."
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Author:Taylor, Candace
Publication:The Real Deal
Date:May 20, 2009
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