PRESIDENT'S CORNER: HGAR to Grow with Next Merger Deal
Gail Fattizzi | June 2020
Over the years of my involvement at HGAR, I’ve seen the organization grow both organically and through mergers with neighboring associations. The first came when the Westchester County Board of Realtors merged with the Putnam County Association of Realtors. After that came the merger with the Orange County Association of Realtors and the Rockland County Board of Realtors simultaneously, and then another merger with the Manhattan Association of Realtors. Each merger has proved to be a win-win for each organization involved.
That brings us to today. We now have the exciting opportunity to fill in a “missing piece” if you will. It comes in the form of a merger with the Bronx-Manhattan North Association of Realtors (BMNAR), which represents Realtors in the northern sections of Manhattan and the Bronx. Geographically, this is a natural fit as BMNAR’s footprint lies between the rest of Manhattan and Westchester, areas already represented by HGAR. Many Bronx Realtors, particularly residential practitioners, are currently members of HGAR and/or participants of OneKey MLS, so synergies already exist.
The geography makes perfect sense, but there are many other clear benefits that will make this merger mutually advantageous. 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.
BMNAR also counts among its members a solid core of commercial brokers, property managers and building owner/managers. HGAR has engaged in many discussions over the past few years regarding our desire to grow our CID (Commercial Investment Division) and the influx of these BMNAR participants to HGAR will give us the foundation to move that initiative forward, becoming a valuable resource for commercial brokers and owners.
Another area that BMNAR has excelled in is its relationships with its Affiliate members. Affiliates have long supported events including an annual golf outing, holiday parties, legislative breakfasts, sporting events, banquets and other charitable events, turning out enthusiastically over many years. We look forward to introducing their Affiliate members to HGAR as well as our Realtor Foundation.
This merger proposal includes the acquisition of BMNAR’s Bronx headquarters building on Williamsbridge Road. For the short term, we will continue to operate the new HGAR Bronx Chapter from that location as decisions are made regarding potential renovation to the building or replacement with an alternate location.
Finally, but perhaps most importantly, we are acquiring talent. Eliezer (Eli) Rodriguez, who has served as BMNAR’s CEO, will join HGAR to assist with our legislative advocacy agenda and the development of a stronger CID. In addition, there are other talented individuals who have been consistent contributors to BMNAR’s operations and initiatives who we hope will now bring their strengths and knowledge to benefit HGAR.
As HGAR and BMNAR came to terms on the details of this proposed merger, it became essential to make certain changes to the HGAR ByLaws to reflect some of the agreed upon terms. Revising HGAR’s ByLaws to make them more flexible and reflective of the needs of the association had been discussed previously, so I took this opportunity to appoint a ByLaws Task Force to review and make recommendations for changes beyond those required for the merger. The HGAR Board of Directors recently approved those changes, which now go to a vote of the entire HGAR membership.
On July 1st, we will be holding a full membership meeting to vote on both the merger and the ByLaws changes. This will be a virtual meeting held via Zoom. It’s essential that we get full participation for this meeting and hope you will come out in support. In the interim, if you have any questions regarding the proposed merger, I welcome you to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.