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Corcoran is coming to Chicago

by Meg White

The Corcoran Group announced today that it’s launching its first Midwestern outpost: Corcoran Urban Real Estate of Chicago.

Matt Farrell, managing partner at Corcoran Urban Real Estate

If the name sounds somewhat familiar, that’s because Corcoran’s latest affiliate was known up until today as Urban Real Estate, a boutique brokerage run by Matt Farrell, founder and managing broker, and Michael Emery, the brokerage’s senior partner.

The new Corcoran office will be led by Farrell and Emery, and will start out with more than two dozen agents from Urban Real Estate, which has traditionally focused on the neighborhoods surrounding its headquarters in the New Eastside neighborhood. 

Farrell, known by many local real estate professionals as a past president and Realtor of the Year with the Chicago Association of Realtors, will remain at the helm as managing partner of Corcoran Urban Real Estate. In an interview with Chicago Agent, Farrell said that while Corcoran offers a lot of the tools they’ve been looking to bring into the brokerage to benefit agents, developers and clients, it was more the two companies’ shared sense of putting “real estate first” that brought them together.

“What I see now are so many companies that are all about the tech and the data … and the real estate part is a sort of an ugly byproduct,” he said. “It’s not about price points. It’s not about apps. It’s not about how you want to be perceived by other brokerages in the marketplace. It’s about finding people homes. Finding the right place, finding the right investment is just so much more important than people are giving credence to these days.”

Founded by Barbara Corcoran in 1973, the eponymous company has long been a powerhouse in New York real estate, but the brand isn’t nearly as recognizable in the Midwest. “Chicago offers a very promising and exciting future ahead,” Pamela Liebman, Corcoran’s president and CEO, said in a press release announcing the news. “As Corcoran expands its presence across the U.S. and around the world, we look for opportunities for growth and development and for firms like Corcoran Urban Real Estate that align with Corcoran core values and believe in the primacy of the client.”

Michael Emery, senior partner at Corcoran Urban Real Estate

Today’s announcement comes on the heels of other expansion news across the country for the Realogy brand. In late January, Corcoran joined forces with Oliver Luxury Real Estate (in Lake Tahoe and Reno) and Zephyr Real Estate (San Francisco) to form Corcoran Global Living. A couple of weeks later, the brand announced that Corcoran Premier Realty would be expanding into Central Florida. In that announcement the company characterized the moves as being part of a “strategy to expand its presence throughout America and the world in major urban centers and luxury resort communities.”

Farrell is looking forward to being the local broker in charge of bringing Corcoran to Chicagoland. “They’re expanding nationwide, and Chicago is obviously an important market,” Farrell said. “It’s exciting for us, I think it’s great for our brokers, and, most importantly, I think it’s great for Chicago consumers.”

When asked how the new company will fit in to the overall Chicago real estate market, Farrell said Corcoran Urban Real Estate will focus on building relationships. He said his firm, which he founded in the early 2000s, has always had some of the lowest agent attrition rates in the area due to this concentration on the people side of the business. “We’re not this revolving door,” Farrell said. “I’m not looking to be funded by venture capital … I want to do business with real people.”

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