Sotheby's real estate office to open in Lexington

A new Lexington real estate firm is bringing one of the most famous names in the auction world to Lexington.

Bluegrass Sotheby's International Realty will have 23 agents, including broker Becky Reinhold, when it opens above a Starbucks restaurant on East High Street on Jan. 7.

The 23 agents for Bluegrass Sotheby's International Realty includes some from five of Lexington's largest real estate firms — Coldwell Banker, Prudential A.S. de Movellan Real Estate, Rector-Hayden, Re/Max Creative and Turf Town Properties — and independents like Reinhold.

Kirn said the timing is right to open the firm because he believes the real estate slump has bottomed out. “I don't think it can go anywhere but up,” he said.

“The economy is always cyclical,” he added. “There are always ups and downs ... but houses are still selling and people need representation.”

The staff will include a licensed auctioneer, but only for real estate clients who request that type of sale.

The Sotheby's auction house, which was founded in 1744, licenses its name to the operators of Sotheby's International Realty, said Riley Kirn, manager and part owner of the Lexington firm.

The auction house and the real estate offices exchange referrals and can call on each other's expertise, Kirn said.

Bluegrass Sotheby's International Realty is the first Sotheby's office in Kentucky and only the fourth start-up office in Sotheby's U.S. network of about 330 offices, he said. Generally, Sotheby's affiliates with an established firm.

The new office also will be located in one of the smallest cities served by Sotheby's International Realty, Kirn said. Lexington's reputation, especially in the horse industry, is the reason.

“Everybody in the world knows Lexington,” he said.

The new firm will handle real estate of all types and price ranges, despite Sotheby's reputation for upscale clientele.

“They have a standard of how they care for a client,” Kirn said. “That doesn't change whether it's $50,000 or $500,000.”