Annual List of NYC’s RE Firms with a Dozen Brokers or less – Commercial Observer
Welco Realty made the list!
Founder: Jerry Welkis
Date established: 1990
Number of brokers/agents then: 1
Number of brokers/agents now: 12 (plus 5 employees)
When the Mall at Bay Plaza opened in the Bronx two years ago next month, it was billed as the first suburban-style fashion mall to be built in New York City in nearly 40 years. New Rochelle-based retail brokerage Welco Realty was tapped to lease the entire $300 million, 780,000-square-foot mall for the developer, Prestige Properties & Development, also behind the adjacent Bay Plaza Shopping Center (which Welco also leased with its over 50 department and specialty stores).
“It’s the only borough without an enclosed fashion mall,” Jerry Welkis, the president and principal of Welco Realty, told Commercial Observer before the project’s grand opening. He noted last week, “When we opened, it was just about I’d say probably in the 70 to 75 percent level.” Today it is 90 percent occupied.
The brokerage represents landlords and developers like Prestige, Urban Edge Properties (a spinoff off of Vornado Realty Trust), RREEF Property Trust, The Real Estate Equity Company, aka TREECO, and Hartz Mountain Industries. (And with a dozen agents, it’s also the largest one featured in this boutique brokerages issue.)
Welco, which is part of a national retail brokerage network called the X Team with over 30 retail brokerage offices throughout the U.S. and Canada, works exclusively for a number of chains like J.C. Penney in New York and New Jersey; TJX Companies, parent company of T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, in New Jersey; Pier 1 Imports in New York and New Jersey; AMC Theatres in New York and New Jersey; and Party City in New Jersey and parts of New York.
“We handle millions of square feet of retail properties throughout the tri-state area,” Welkis said. Welkis came from the world of corporate real estate and said he and his team approach projects “as merchants more than as real estate brokers.” So, as a merchant would do, the Welco teams focuses on “making sure we have the right proportionate mix of specialty retailers to make it the most synergistic for the marketplace,” he said. “We see what need there is for retail, what’s missing in the marketplace, and merchandise it the same way a merchant would merchandise a department store.” Of utmost importance is to ensure there is a good “representation of each category,” so people have a reason to shop in the brick-and-mortar store. “We want to create that mix of tenants,” he added.—L.E.S.