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Keller Williams real estate company expanding in Erie County

One of the world’s biggest residential real estate brokerages is moving its Amherst office to much larger space and opening a second location as it seeks to expand its Western New York presence.

Keller Williams Buffalo Northtowns, the local franchise of Keller Williams Realty International, is relocating from 4,000 square feet in a Benchmark Group building at 4955 North Bailey Avenue, at Maple Road, to the Williamsville Executive Center at 5500 Main St. in the village of Williamsville.

Starting next March, the office will occupy 7,000 square feet of space on the first floor of the centrally located office building.

That will make it one of the building’s largest tenants, according to Richard Schechter of Pyramid Brokerage Co., who represented the local Keller Williams agency. The brokerage firm will have its sign on the building, and owner and broker Keith Carlins cited the availability of parking both on-street and behind the building as a benefit along with the location.

“It’s a great combination of having prime space and not having to deal with a ton of traffic,” he said.

At the same time, Carlins plans to open a second office in the next few months, at Transit Commons at 2701 Transit Road in Lancaster, as part of an ambitious plan to significantly grow the business in the Buffalo Niagara region over the next few years. That office is slated to open in January.

Carlin’s franchise, the only one for Keller Williams in the area, has 135 agents locally – including a few who rank among the region’s top 20 real estate agents. He said he wants to have 200 agents by 2016, and 400 to 500 a couple of years later, with a target of surpassing RealtyUSA and Hunt Real Estate Corp. to take over the top spot locally by 2020. The two leaders have about 750 agents each.

“Our business model is built on growth,” he said. The local franchise grew 40 percent in number of agents last year.

Globally, Keller Williams is now the biggest real estate franchise firm in the world, with 125,000 agents and more than 700 offices in more than 20 countries. The Austin, Texas-based firm was founded in 1983, began franchising in 1990, and launched its first expansion outside of North America in 2010.