Rapid Realty Courts Buyers as Brooklyn Goes Hollywood
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Talking from a rented penthouse overlooking the Chicago skyline, Anthony Lolli, 36, says his New Year's resolution is to IPO or find a private equity investor for Rapid Realty , the Brooklyn-based real estate brokerage he founded in 1998.
Bankers have been kicking Rapid Realty's tires amid a booming New York City apartment rental market. Lolli is in Chicago for an annual dealmaker's summit that he says is his "Shark Tank" moment with billion dollar-sized investors.
Rapid Realty has courted media attention by offering 15% raises to staff that get the firm's logo tattooed to their bodies. Lolli's 5,000 square foot Bay Ridge, Brooklyn estate -- known as "Lolli Mansion" -- has been featured on local television and in a rap music video . The company's DUMBO, Brooklyn-based headquarters have been used in a handful of movies, including The Amazing Spiderman 2 , slated to be released by Marvel and Columbia Pictures in May 2014.
If Jay Gatsby carried a picture of Oxford University with him, Lolli dispenses a digital image of him donating "$10,000.00+" to Spike Lee's $1.25 million Kickstarter campaign for a new film.
MTV's star-studded Video Music Awards show, hosted at Brooklyn's Barclays Center on Sunday night, may turn out to be the break Lolli needs as he tries to attract new capital to expand Rapid Realty, already New York's largest real estate rental brokerage, according to the company.
This year's VMA awards may be remembered for two things: Miley Cyrus' innuendo-filled rendition of We Can't Stop and the show's red carpet embrace of Brooklyn, once considered an "outer borough" of New York City.
Advertisements for the Sunday night awards show had Seattle-based Macklemore & Ryan Lewis leading crowds of stylish teens from the Pacific Northwest towards the borough to the tune of the Beastie Boys' 1980s anthem No Sleep 'till Brooklyn . Pharrell cruised onto the red carpet with a crew of Moongoose-riding bikers, in an homage to the Brooklyn depicted in many Spike Lee films. A faux Brooklyn Bridge even graced the stage of a pre-show concert.
The Barclays Center -- a near $5 billion sports and real estate complex partly owned by Russian metals magnate Mikhail Prokhorov -- opened about a year ago to a Jay-Z performance and a transplanted NBA basketball team. Next season the Brooklyn Nets will start a lineup of former Boston Celtics stars that may do justice to the city's legacy as a rough-and-tumble high school basketball hotbed. The arena will soon host an ice hockey team that is an up-tempo alternative to the stalled New York Rangers franchise.
Brooklyn has emerged from the shadow of Manhattan in recent years. The question now is whether its artists, startup businesses, musicians and laid back attitude will soon outdraw Wall Street, Museum Mile and Broadway.