Mr. Knakal is the Chairman and Founding Partner of Massey Knakal Realty Services, a full service property sales firm located  in New York City. The firm has three offices and employs about 150 people. Massey Knakal sells more properties in New York City than any other firm.

Mr. Knakal graduated from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics in 1984. He majored in real estate finance and entrepreneurial management and was a member of the Wharton School’s Real Estate Club.

In 1981, Mr. Knakal was hired by Coldwell Banker Commercial – now CB Richard Ellis – as a market research intern. He returned the following summer as co-leader of its summer market research group and in 1983, obtained his real estate salesperson license. He worked that summer at CB as an assistant to a senior broker. After graduation, he started as a full-time investment property specialist with CB’s midtown Manhattan office.

In 1984, Mr. Knakal collaborated with Paul J. Massey Jr. to establish a property sales group in Manhattan. They served as co-directors for the new specialization and in 1986, shared CB’s prestigious top salesman award in New York. At that time, CB employed an average of 60 people in its Manhattan office. Mr. Knakal and Mr. Massey retained this top ranking until they left the firm in November 1988 to start their own business – Massey Knakal Realty Services. To date, Mr. Knakal has been responsible for the sale of more than 1000 buildings worth over $5.8 billion.

In 1993, Mr. Knakal was elected president of the National Realty Conference, which made him the youngest president in the organization’s 58-year-old history. He is also a very involved member of the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY). He has served on numerous of its committees including the Ethics Committee, Arbitration Committee and Chairman of its Sales Brokers Committee. He has also served on the Commercial Division’s Board of Directors, and was elected to its Board of Governors.

In 1998, at the age of 36, Mr. Knakal was named to Crain’s New York Business’s Forty Under Forty/New York Rising Stars list for his outstanding achievement in the New York City business community. He was also named a Top Dealmaker by Real Estate New York magazine and in 2002, won the prestigious Robert T. Lawrence Award in the Real Estate Board of New York’s Most Ingenious Deal of the Year contest for the nine-year assemblage of the easterly blockfront of Second Avenue between 54th and 55th Streets. In 2004, Mr. Knakal won the award again for his sale of the Gotham Book Mart building at 41 West 47th Street. His creative negotiating strategy increased the sales price of the property by 31%, which won acclaim from the judges.

In 2003, he handled the two largest multi-family portfolio sales in New York City. The Manhattan portfolio consisted of six elevatored buildings in prime Manhattan locations and contained 450 apartments which sold for $102,000,000. The Simkowitz portfolio consisted of 786 apartments in 12 Northern Manhattan and Bronx buildings with a sale price of $109,000,000. Also in 2003, Mr. Knakal and Mr. Massey were named New York’s Top Entrepreneurs by Crain’s New York Business, a prestigious recognition out of scores of nominations. Also that year, The Real Deal magazine listed Massey Knakal as one of New York’s best boutique firms and Mr. Knakal was appointed to REBNY’s prestigious 20-member Executive Committee.

In 2004, Mr. Knakal handled the sale of Massey Knakal’s largest multi-family portfolio to date. The Macklowe portfolio consisted of 345 apartments and 17 stores in seven elevatored buildings. The sale price was $179,000,000.

In 2005, Mr. Knakal led the marketing team for the sale of the Vanderveer Estates in Brooklyn, the largest privately-owned apartment complex in the borough. The property consisted of 2,500 apartments in 59 elevatored buildings. The sale price was $138,500,000. In 2006, Mr. Knakal led the marketing team in the assemblage of the entire western blockfront on Sixth Avenue between 30th and 31st Streets. This marked Massey Knakal’s largest development transaction to date at a price of $117,500,000.

In 2008, Mr. Knakal sold the 1,000th building of his career with the sale of the parking garage at 301 East 69th Street. Mr. Knakal’s partner, Paul Massey, has said that he does not believe any other broker has achieved this level of success in the New York City market. In 2009, Real Estate Forum magazine named Mr. Knakal one of the top 10 investment sales brokers in the United States.

Mr. Knakal has been a featured speaker at Columbia University’s Real Estate Roundtable Series titled Legends of the Street. He is a frequent guest lecturer at Columbia, New York University, The Appraisal Institute, The Metropolitan Mortgage Bankers Association and The Institute for Real Estate Management. He also teaches continuing education classes for the Real Estate Board of New York and The Continuing Education Academy. In addition, he teaches a class on real estate investment at The Learning Annex.

Massey Knakal has a rich history of serving the communities in which it works through charitable giving and volunteerism. In 2005, all the firm’s efforts in this area were formalized by the incorporation of the Massey Knakal Charitable Foundation. All the company’s charitable endeavors are implemented through the Foundation.

Mr. Knakal’s personal civic involvements are numerous and are highlighted by his presidency of the 153-year-old Prescott Fund for Children and Youth, which makes grants to disadvantaged children for educational purposes. He is also the President and member of the Board of Directors of Ice Hockey in Harlem, an after-school program that allows children to participate in hockey if they attend special classroom sessions to supplement their education.

In 2002, Mr. Knakal and Mr. Massey were named Real Estate Men of the Year for their charitable work by the Rambam Hospital in Israel. In 2004, Mr. Knakal was recognized for his work with underprivileged children by being named the recipient of The Catalog For Giving’s prestigious Urban Hero Award. Past Urban Heroes include Major League Baseball Commissioner Allan Bud Selig and Kedar Massenburg, president of Motown Records. In 2006, Mr. Knakal was elected to the Catalog For Giving’s Board of Directors.

Mr. Knakal resides in Manhattan with his wife, Cynthia and daughter, Sophia. He can be reached in the Manhattan office at 212.696.2500, x7777. email address: rknakal@masseyknakal.com.

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14 Responses to “About Robert Knakal”


  1. 1 Paul Munguia February 4, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    I live in Dallas but interviewed with your company this past Thursday. I knew enough about the company to know that it was worth interviewing with, but after reading this I feel privledged to be given the chance to join such a well rounded and successful team of Real Estate professionals.

  2. 2 rknakal February 4, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    Hi Paul, thank you for your response. New York is a great place in which to live and work and I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors be them with MK or elsewhere. Best regards, Bob

  3. 3 rknakal February 13, 2009 at 10:53 pm

    Thank you Master Plan Capital for mentioning my article on your site. I enjoyed reading your insights.

  4. 4 Jason Fane February 18, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    You will know when land has NO value when you see owners abandoning land and letting the City take it for unpaid taxes.

    If you look at the history of land prices in Harlem over the last 30 years, you will see that 25 x 100 lots were available for $300 in 1978 and that prices approximately doubled every two years until 2008. Clearly, in the beginning of that time period there was little development premium.

    It appears that Manhattan land is losing most of its development premium, but it still has value for parking, the buildings on it and other uses.

  5. 5 rknakal February 19, 2009 at 10:51 am

    Hi Jason, thank you for your comments. I agree that land has value for the buildings on it and could have parking value if zoning would permit such a use. Even today, with very little land selling, I believe land still commands a development premium because developers are willing to pay a price based upon development of residential rental projects. The price they are willing to pay is clearly well above the value of the buildings on the land or the value of a parking lot operating on that land. I appreciate hearing from you and hope you are doing well.

  6. 6 curious09 May 6, 2009 at 6:59 pm

    Thank you for reading, knowing and referring to Orwell. Unbelievable. I refer to 1984 everyday and isn’t it so blatant now? Why we’re so far imbued with big brother that we are now using Government Speak….war on terror? terrorists? there is no ‘war’ on terror, there are no terrorists, only man made disasters. There are no terrorists – again- only those who have not been Mirandized. [Sic} “We are at war with Eurasia. We have never been at war with Eurasia!” Okay. It is sad at best but so alarming that so many people aren’t aware of what is happening to individual freedoms.And I ask about government control over capitalism: when did the government management ever increase efficiencies, economies?
    Well let’s see: hmm, the Post Office, Social Security, Defense conracts, Research….oh stop me at any time. I beg people to consider what the death of capitlism and individuals freedoms means long run! And so, Robert, thank you for your sanity.

  7. 7 rknakal May 7, 2009 at 6:34 am

    Hi Curious, thanks for your post. It does seem like Big Brother is watching these days. Let’s hope that sanity returns to our markets and our system.

  8. 8 craig January 13, 2010 at 11:57 am

    How does an individual like myself, who would strive to be a great broker, get an interview with your firm? I saw in a previous posting someone interviewed, and lived in Dallas. I reside in Fairfield County, CT, looking to become a broker in the Manhattan commercial market. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Best of Luck in 2010

  9. 9 rknakal January 14, 2010 at 9:57 am

    Hi Craig, the best thing to do is contact our Director of Human Resources, Gia LaMarca at 212-696-2500. You can also email a letter and resume to her at glamarca@masseyknakal.com. I wish you the best of luck.

  10. 10 Bay Area Com RE April 24, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    You are running a great blog. I have been writing a blog with a colleague at Cushman & Wakefield for a few months and we are starting to get great headway. We hope to emulate your quality content and your reader interation. Joe turned us onto your blog, and we have been following since. I would be happy to connect via email and share best practices. I started in the business during this recession and Jon about 2 years before, so we are learning at the worst point in the economy which will pay off in the long run. Great job, and hope to connect soon!

    Best, Justin, BayAreaComRE

  11. 11 rknakal April 25, 2010 at 10:17 am

    Hi Justin, thanks for your post. Please feel free to contact me at any time if you would like to chat. 212-696-2500 x 7777.

  12. 12 Maria April 3, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    Your rise to success is very inspiring! Would you care to share what would greatly impress you in an interview? AND in todays global economy, do you find knowledge of different national cultures, and customs helpful and strategic in your sales negotiations? If so, do you train your team on this area? Many thanks and more power to your company!!

  13. 13 eyeshadow February 16, 2012 at 2:29 am

    *very nice post, i certainly love this website, keep on it


  1. 1 Land; It’s Only Worth What Someone Can / Will Pay For It « Commercial Mortgage Loan Blog Trackback on February 13, 2009 at 12:39 pm

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