HGAR, Bronx-Manhattan North Assoc. Agree to Merge

John Jordan | June 2020

BMNAR CEO Eliezer Rodriguez

WHITE PLAINS—At press time, the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors, Inc. and the Bronx-Manhattan North Association of Realtors, Inc. have scheduled votes of their respective memberships to approve a proposed merger of the two Realtor organizations, Real Estate In-Depth has learned.

The Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors has scheduled a special virtual meeting on July 1 to approve the merger deal as well as necessary bylaws amendments to facilitate the merger deal. The merger plan also calls for the creation of the Bronx Chapter of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors, Inc., with a Chapter representative serving on the HGAR Board of Directors in accordance with the amended bylaws. Vincent Buccieri of Today Realty Corp. will serve as the Bronx Chapter representative until Dec. 31, 2020 if the merger is approved by members of both organizations. Buccieri currently serves as the president of BMNAR.

The Board of Directors of HGAR and BMNAR have approved the merger transaction in separate votes. The BMNAR Board of Governors approved the proposed merger with HGAR at a virtual session on Thursday, May 21. The Board of Directors of HGAR and BMNAR have approved the merger deal, including proposed bylaws amendments by HGAR, in separate votes.

Editor’s Note: See Official Notice of Special Meeting. The Bronx-Manhattan North Association of Realtors has scheduled a virtual Zoom meeting to approve the proposed merger transaction on Thursday, June 18.

The proposed merger is the result of negotiations between the two associations that began more than a year ago. HGAR President Gail Fattizzi said the deal would be a “win-win” for both HGAR and BMNAR and is” natural fit” for HGAR as BMNAR’s footprint lies between the rest of Manhattan and Westchester, areas already represented by HGAR. She noted that many Bronx Realtors, particularly residential practitioners, are currently members of HGAR and/or participants of OneKey MLS, so synergies already exist. The deal would also add veteran Bronx-Manhattan commercial brokers that will strengthen HGAR’s Commercial Investment Division.

“The geography makes perfect sense, but there are many other clear benefits that will make this merger mutually advantageous,” Fattizzi states in her column in this month’s edition of Real Estate In-Depth. “HGAR has an extensive history of legislative advocacy throughout our geography. BMNAR’s strengths include years of dynamic relationships with local politicians, community leaders and housing advocates in the Bronx and Manhattan. Uniting forces gives us even greater strength in both numbers and influence,” Fattizzi noted.

“The BMNAR has had tremendous history of leadership and advocacy for Realtor interests for decades. This merger brings together two strong organizations who have collaborated very effectively in the past on common goals and issues,” said HGAR Chief Executive Officer Richard Haggerty. “It’s truly a win-win for our respective memberships.”

HGAR has served the New York real estate community since 1916 with the formation of the Westchester County Realty Board. The present-day Realtor organization is the result of six local New York associations coming together to build a better, bigger and stronger organization for its members.

In 1947, the Pelham Realty Board merged with the Westchester County Realty Board. In 2009, the pace of consolidation took on speed, first with the Putnam County Association of Realtors, followed by the Rockland County Board of Realtors and the Orange County Association of Realtors in 2011. With those two merger deals, the association formally became the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors and HGMLS.

In 2016, the Manhattan Association of Realtors merged with HGAR, increasing the association’s coverage area to include the city. Earlier this year the association’s MLS merged with LIBOR’s MLS to become OneKey MLS.

The roots of the Bronx-Manhattan North Association of Realtors date back to 1924. The association, which is headquartered at 1867 Williamsbridge Road, is the local chapter for the New York State and National Association of Realtors. In 1997, NAR approved its expanded jurisdiction to include both the Bronx and Manhattan. The merger transaction would also involve the purchase of the three-story BMNAR headquarters building.

BMNAR CEO Eliezer Rodriguez, who has led the organization since 2013, will join HGAR to assist with the expanded organization’s legislative advocacy agenda and the development of a stronger CID. Rodriguez succeeded Nunzio Del Greco, RCE, who led BMNAR from 1983 through 2012.

Rodriguez told Real Estate In-Depth that BMNAR currently boasts approximately 175 Realtor members and affiliates. The merger deal with HGAR will also include the 31-member offices of the Bronx-Northern Manhattan Association of Realtors’ MLS, which will join OneKey MLS.

Noting that HGAR has grown over the past decade with multiple merger transactions, Rodriguez noted that the merger process has been a lot smoother than he had first expected.

“Initially when we started the negotiations two years ago I thought it would be more complicated than it turned out to be… But, the (BMNAR) membership responded and thought that this was a good move,” Rodriguez noted.

He also related that members of the Bronx association will be able to maintain their identity as Bronx-based Realtors and small business owners once they become members of HGAR, which was a key consideration by members of BMNAR.

“We chose HGAR for several reasons,” Rodriguez said. “The primary reason is that we thought they were in a better place to help our membership since a lot of our members are already members of HGAR, so it made sense to move in that direction.”

He added that adding HGAR’s services platform is another key benefit for BMNAR members and that the deal with HGAR made sense because the association wanted to maintain its affiliation with the National Association of Realtors and the New York State Association of Realtors and its adherence to the NAR Code of Ethics.

If both memberships approved the proposal, the merger will not become effective until it is green-lighted by the New York State Attorney General’s office and the National Association of Realtors.

John Jordan
Editor, Real Estate In-Depth