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HousingWire's 2021 Spring Summit

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An Honest Conversation on minority homeownership

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Real Estate

What Compass is doing in Rhode Island

Brokerage's acquisition of Lila Delman Real Estate raises eyebrows in the nation's smallest state

Compass wants to make a big splash in the nation’s smallest state, and it’s fueling intrigue and apprehension in a close-knit brokerage ecosystem.  

The New York City-based company announced in January they acquired Lila Delman Real Estate, a Newport, Rhode Island-based brokerage that has been around since 1964 specializing in the grand mansions that dot the state’s seashore.

The deal was announced just prior to Compass’s acquisition of Bold New York, which focuses on high-end New York City rental leasing.

Like Bold, Lila Delman reports having 120 real estate agents. In other words, it is another mid-sized buy for Compass, which after years of accumulating venture capital investments – at least $1.6 billion in all, filed confidential paperwork for an IPO in January.

Compass’s legion of skeptics see the deal as a molehill for a company that needs to demonstrate that their heady growth of three years ago, when they purchased much larger brokerages like Pacific Union in San Francisco, can get back on track. “Why aren’t they thinking a lot bigger now in advance of their IPO?” said Jonathan Miller, real estate appraiser at Miller Samuel.

But for Rhode Island real estate, the deal is a mountain.

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