In the real estate business, curb appeal is often a key factor in attracting prospective buyers. In a twist on that principal, Hunt Real Estate is hoping a street-level office in the heart of downtown Buffalo will drive business to its doors.
The local real estate company will open a new ground-floor office in the Brisbane Building, at 403 Main St., next month.
"We've created some very interesting and beautiful space that gives us retail-type exposure," said Peter Hunt, president and chief executive officer of Hunt Real Estate ERA. "We want people to know we're open for business as the only full-service, commercial/ residential real estate firm in downtown Buffalo. And all they'll have to do is walk by or drive by, and they'll see us at work."
The price tag for the new office build-out is approximately $250,000.
Hunt's commercial real estate division is currently headquartered on the seventh floor of the downtown building, and a group of residential real estate staffers have worked out of the Brisbane for the past year.
The newly-created space, stretches over 2.5 floors, from a basement level area, where a conference room and private offices will be located, up through the main floor, accessible through a central open staircase. The street-level offices at the North end of the building, will be visible from Main, Washington and Clinton streets.
"Real estate is essentially a retail business, so it makes sense to be in a retail setting. It gets us in front of the public. It would be great if clients felt welcome to walk in to see us for one-stop real estate service," Hunt said.
The relocated office will employ about 35 staffers, including commercial and residential agents, financial and legal advisers, and support staff. Hunt-owned title company, Network Title of NY, will move to the Brisbane from its current quarters on Niagara Square, taking over some 5,000-square-feet of space which now houses the real estate division.
Hunt has sold the Niagara Square building, located at 64-68 Niagara Square, to a law firm.
"We had an opportunity to consolidate everything to the Brisbane Building, and it makes sense to have all downtown operations under one roof," he said.
The historic, 150,000-square-foot Brisbane Building, which is owned by the Hunt family, has a long history of first-floor retail traffic. Once the home of Kleinhans Co., the ground floor of the building has seen a number of tenants, including several office-related service and goods providers.
Hunt's residential real estate division will retain its corporate headquarters in Williamsville, along with an administrative center in Cheektowaga, along with several offices around Western New York.
Founded in 1911, the company employees 860 residential agents and 42 commercial brokers.