Urban Properties to close


Urban Properties Inc., a Columbia-based real estate brokerage that has been in business 16 years, has decided to close its doors because of the downturn in the real estate market, its president, Richard J. Wilkinson, said yesterday.

"The business will wind down its operations and expect to close by the end of January," he said.

The company, in Symphony Woods Office Center, has 30 agents, most of whom will be transferring to Long & Foster's two Columbia offices, he said.

Urban Properties has had one of the largest real estate sales volumes in the Columbia area since its founding, Mr. Wilkinson said. The company's sales peaked in 1986 at $100 million, he said.

Mr. Wilkinson said sales volume during the past year was about $40 million, which he said was "not enough to sustain the company in the way I wanted to operate. I did not want to cut corners and lower the quality of service to our clients."

He added that "unless the economy snaps backs soon, you will see a lot more real estate offices closing in the area."

Mr. Wilkinson, an attorney, said that he sold his interest in the title company, Columbia Town Center Title Co., to Chicago Title last year.

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