On the Market

Co-op Asking Combined $5.2M for UES Retail Spaces

Madison Avenue frontage

Carlyle House, an Upper East Side Co-op, has tapped Massey Knakal Realty Services to find new tenants or a new master lease starting in May 2016 for the co-op’s 6,956-square-foot retail spaces that front Madison Avenue between East 76th and East 77th Streets, Commercial Observer has learned.

The co-op, which sits next to the Carlyle hotel, will deliver the spaces on the basement, first and second floor of the building fully vacant with a total asking price of $5.2 million per year when the hotel’s lease on the currently-divided stores expires on April 30, 2016 in the locations on the bustling street, said Massey Knakal broker Jill Lovatt. Read More

Sales Beat

Massey Knakal Arranges Canal Street Record Breaker

159-165 Canal Street

Massey Knakal has arranged the sale of two Chinatown office buildings that the firm said broke the previous price per square record for an office building on Canal Street.

Isaac and Joseph Oved of The Oved Group purchased the adjacent office buildings, at 40-42 Elizabeth Street and 159-165 Canal Street, at the corner of Elizabeth Read More

Power Broker

Silver Foxes: Massey Knakal Turns 25

Messrs. Knakal and Massey at their firm's 275 Madison Avenue headquarters. (Credit: Will O'Hare)

In the midst of the Savings and Loans Crisis of the early 1990s, Massey Knakal, a three-year-old commercial sales brokerage, was facing the prospect of going out of business for the second time in a matter of months.

By late 1990, the commercial sales market had all but dried up. Rather than pounding the pavement closing deals, Paul Massey and Robert Knakal were instead sitting in the office cold calling and playing solitaire—not on a computer but with a real deck of cards. Things got so bad that the firms’ partners had to fill out applications for numerous credit cards—$60,000 worth—to make ends meet. Read More

ICSC 2013

Minute By Minute: The First Day and a Half at the International Council of Shopping Centers RECon Expo


On Sunday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber made the fans squeal and the paparazzi snap. But just off the strip, at the Las Vegas Convention Center, the real action got underway with the start of RECon. Below, The Commercial Observer’s
reconnaissance work at The Global Real Estate Convention, where 35,000 registered attendees are helping to shape the future of retail real estate. Read More

Sales Beat

Massey Knakal Sells LES Apartment Building for $5.5 M.


Massey Knakal has arranged the $5.5 million sale of an apartment building at 104 Suffolk Street on the Lower East Side to a foreign investor, demonstrating the city’s continued status as one of the world’s few safe havens, The Commercial Observer has learned.

The 10,000-square-feet five-story walk-up consists of 20 residential units, 14 free market and six rent stabilized, with 18 one-bedroom apartments and two duplexes.  Recent renovations include the entrance, common areas, roof and a dual fuel burner was recently installed.

“104 Suffolk Street was purchased by an overseas investor, which is a testament to the growing interest among the international community,” said Massey Knakal’s Michael DeCheser, who exclusively represented the seller in the transaction with CEO Paul Massey, Jr. and Guthrie Garvin. Read More

Power Broker

Each One Teach One: Massey Knakal Broker James Nelson


James Nelson recently ushered a dozen Colgate University undergraduate students on a tour through The Abingdon, a West Village nursing home-turned-luxury condo where some units, which sold out this month, ran for more than $10 million.

With the help of his team, Mr. Nelson, a partner at Massey Knakal, sold the property at 607 Hudson Street for just over $33 million to Flank Architects in 2011 on behalf of nonprofit group VillageCare, which previously ran a nursing home there.

Much like the undergrads, the investment sales heavyweight traveled The Abingdon’s hallways with looks of awe, as Jon Kully, a principal at Flank, led the group into its sprawling condos. The building bore no resemblance to the nursing home Mr. Nelson had first stepped foot into in 2007. “They had 200 beds packed in there, and it wasn’t up to code, and it was in desperate need of renovation,” he said. “This was a complete transformation. It really was amazing what they did, and to know that I had a small part in making that happen was great.” Read More

Lease Beat

Focus Financial Partners Takes Nearly 12,000 SF at 825 Third Avenue

825 Third Avenue

Focus Financial Partners has signed an 11,923-square-foot office lease at The Durst Organization’s 825 Third Avenue in Midtown East.

The partnership of wealth management firms relocates to the 40-story, 544,000-square-foot office tower from the 7,400-square-foot space it previously occupied at 909 Third Avenue.

“The building offered a well-priced alternative along Third Avenue with great light, city views and an efficient floor plate configuration,” said Greg Kraut, principal and managing director of Avison Young’s New York City office in a statement, who represented the tenant with Dana Trulis and Paul Massey.  “We are very pleased to have been able to identify a new office location for Focus that effectively addresses the firm’s business needs… this area of Third Avenue has become a destination for companies in search of value in a strategic Midtown locale with great access to transportation.” Read More

concrete thoughts

To REBNY With Love


If you are a regular reader of Concrete Thoughts, you know that I think networking is extremely valuable for participants in our commercial real estate market.

One of the main benefits of networking is getting to meet people face-to-face and developing relationships that are lasting and lead to business opportunities. One of the best trade organizations through which to network is the Real Estate Board of New York.

This week, REBNY is holding its 117th annual banquet, so I thought it appropriate to recognize the tremendous work that the board does on behalf of our industry. Not only does REBNY provide tremendous networking opportunities, it’s also a leading advocate for our industry. Read More

Power Broker

Paul Massey on Massey Knakal’s Growth

Paul Massey.

Paul Massey began his career at CBRE in 1984 but disembarked on his own within months after becoming disenchanted with the company’s hierarchical atmosphere. Senior brokers there, he found, were unwilling to collaborate with or groom younger talent.

It was the start of what seemed like the career of someone bent on doing things his own way.

Four years later, Mr. Massey would launch the scrappy, eponymously named startup he founded with colleague Robert Knakal, overseeing just a handful of staff. The two developed a system of brokerage that no other firm had then employed, in which employees were assigned to specific territories in the city.

Many observers of the firm thought the plan would be a death knell, limiting its ability to recruit talent. After all, what top broker would want to be assigned to some obscure neighborhood in Queens or Staten Island?

The pair eschewed the real estate establishment in more glaring ways, too. Read More

Lease Beat

Massey Knakal Arranges 99-Year Lease at 1080 Amsterdam Avenue


Massey Knakal Realty Services has secured the 99-year lease at 1080 Amsterdam Avenue (aka 501 West 113th Street), where The Commercial Observer reported in August that a partnership between SL Green Realty Corp. and Stonehenge Partners would create a luxury residential building.

The property is located on the northwest corner of Amsterdam Avenue and West 113th Street, in the heart of Morningside Heights. Read More

Power Broker

By the Numbers: Robert Knakal and the Statistics Behind his Success


Robert Knakal has long had a simple philosophy about selling real estate.

The way he sees it, there are approximately a million buildings in the city, and the broker that gets to sell any one among the multitude that will hit the auctioning block at a given moment is, sometimes, simply the person who happens to pitch their services to the right seller at the right time. Read More

2012 Outlook

Low Interest Rates, Capital Gains Spike, Could Spur Sales: Massey Knakal

Robert Knakal, Back in the Day.

Massey Knakal executives predict that the sales market for office buildings and apartment properties will pick up considerably in 2012, due in large part to a combination of record low interest rates and widespread expectations that the capital gains tax rate will rise next year.

“We’re going to see a natural regression in 2012 back to the norms,” said Robert Knakal, Massey Knakal’s chairman, noting that the volume of properties sold in the city has been below the historical average since the recession and is likely to bounce back. “The potential increase in capital gains that could take place in 2013 [is a big driver]. We saw a significant spike in sales volume in 2010 for the very same reason.” Read More