The Rise of Massey Knakal’s I-Sales Empire

Massey Knakal’s spinoffs credit their success to discipline, hiring, training, and a strong team culture. Wall Street’s commercial real estate debt operations improved, increasing financing costs for landlords. Lionel Messi’s arrival in Miami excites real estate brokers and raises Inter Miami’s championship prospects.

The Rise of Massey Knakal's I-Sales Empire

Massey Knakal's spinoffs credit their success to discipline, hiring, training, and a strong team culture. Wall Street's commercial real estate debt operations improved, increasing financing costs for landlords. Lionel Messi's arrival in Miami excites real estate brokers and raises Inter Miami's championship prospects.

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Good morning. Massey Knakal's spinoffs credit success to a winning combination of discipline, hiring prowess, training, and a stellar team culture. Wall Street's commercial real estate debt operations rebounded in May, increasing financing costs for landlords. Meanwhile, Lionel Messi's arrival in Miami raises Inter Miami's championship prospects, exciting real estate brokers.

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From Brokerage to Powerhouse: The Rise of Massey Knakal's I-Sales Empire

Center: Bob Knakal and Paul Massey. Clockwise from top left: Alfonso Holloman, Shimon Shkury, James Ventura, Ofer Cohen, Josh Lipton, Timothy King, Craig Waggner, James Nelson, Robert Shapiro, Thomas Donovan, Marco Lala, and David Simone (Illustration by The Real Deal)

Former building sales firm Massey Knakal has produced an impressive coaching tree of successful spinoffs, attributing their achievements to discipline, careful hiring, comprehensive training, and a unique team culture. But there's more to their story, with remarkable growth and a legacy that defied expectations.

Impressive coaching tree: Massey Knakal, a former building sales firm, has produced a remarkable coaching tree comparable to legendary NFL head coaches Bill Belichick and Bill Walsh. Since being acquired by Cushman & Wakefield in 2015, Massey Knakal has spawned a dozen successful spinoffs and investment sales divisions, led by 18 MK alumni. Notable individuals like Paul Massey, Bob Knakal, Robert Shapiro, Craig Waggner, James Nelson, Ofer Cohen, and Josh Lipton now head their own thriving firms or divisions in the real estate industry.

Factors driving success: Bob Knakal attributes Massey Knakal's numerous success stories to several key factors. First, while investment sales is not a complex business, it requires discipline, consistency, and a focus on fundamental tasks. Massey Knakal instilled discipline in its employees, leading to exceptional performance. Second, the company prioritized hiring individuals with backgrounds in sports, the military, or those who displayed excellence in other areas. These individuals thrived in a competitive environment and functioned effectively within a team structure. Lastly, the company emphasized personal compatibility during the hiring process, recognizing the importance of fostering a positive work environment with enjoyable colleagues.

Training and territory system: Upon joining Massey Knakal, agents underwent an extensive six-month training program. This comprehensive training covered market knowledge, business prospecting and pitching, and executing transactions. The firm's territory system played a vital role in preventing internal competition among employees and promoting a collaborative team culture. Agents were assigned exclusive territories, enabling them to specialize in their areas without worrying about undermining each other's business.


A family-like atmosphere: The emphasis on teamwork and camaraderie at Massey Knakal created a family-like atmosphere within the company. Outside of work, employees engaged in activities like playing softball, renting vacation homes, and attending parties together. Former employees praised the company for not only producing exceptional brokers but also for fostering a community of genuinely great individuals. Despite humble beginnings as a three-employee operation in a small office, Massey Knakal experienced remarkable growth, expanding to 250 employees across four offices and occupying 100,000 square feet of space at its peak.

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2023 Contractor Pay Report: The Cost of Hiring

What does best-in-class, contingent real estate talent cost?

Whether you're staffing a single development project or building a bench of talent for the long-term, Bullpen gives you the ability to tap into a network of contract real estate experts from firms like CBRE, Goldman Sachs, and Related…but what do they cost?

In this data release, Bullpen is sharing hourly pay rate data points from thousands of verified commercial real estate experts based in the US. Data included covers the following roles:

  • Accounting

  • Acquisitions

  • Asset Management

  • Brokerage

  • Capital Markets

  • Construction

  • Copywriting

  • Development

  • Graphic Design

  • Investor Relations

  • Lease Administration

  • Leasing

  • Marketing

  • Operations

  • Research

  • Underwriting


Landlords Feel the Pinch as Borrowing Costs Soar to 7%

In May, Wall Street saw a resurgence in its commercial real estate debt operations, signaling a return to activity after a period of inactivity. However, this revival has brought a notable downside for landlords: the cost of financing has increased.

Increased financing costs: Goldman Sachs analysts have reported that the average coupon on new loans from Wall Street to finance hotels, shopping centers, and other commercial property types stands at slightly over 7%, approximately double the lows experienced during the pandemic at around 3.5%. This indicates that property loans provided by Wall Street are now significantly more expensive compared to the previous year.

CMBS market significance: Although the CMBS market is not the primary source of loans for landlords, it holds importance as it often offers the cheapest mode of financing. In this market, loans are not retained by the originator but bundled into bonds sold to investors, who assume the risks of borrower defaults. CMBS is priced at a spread or premium above the risk-free 10-year Treasury rate.

May uptick: In May, Wall Street experienced a frenzy of bond deals, resulting in approximately $5B in new property loans. This added to the already dealt $8B in the first four months of 2023. However, there was a significant drop in commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) volumes compared to the previous year, with an 80% decline. Buyers aimed to minimize their risk exposure due to liquidity challenges, particularly in the office market. Deutsche Bank has responded to concerns about credit availability by reducing its issuance forecast for the year from $78B to $31B.


Why it matters: While May brought a glimmer of hope for a CRE rebound, the haunting concerns of credit accessibility for landlords still loom large. As billions of dollars in loans come knocking and property prices play a game of rollercoaster, some industry giants have opted for a dramatic exit by handing back the keys to lenders instead of wrestling with struggling properties. These challenges highlight the risks and uncertainties in the commercial real estate market, where obtaining financing has become increasingly difficult.

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In Case You Missed It
Get up to speed on the trending topics from last week.

1️⃣ Shifting Landscape: The commercial real estate landscape is changing rapidly as firms reassess their business models and asset management strategies.

2️⃣ Sunbelt Under Pressure: An influx of new apartments in cities like Atlanta is cutting into the profits of the largest publicly traded property owners.

3️⃣ Treasury Vacuum: The US Treasury is reducing borrowing power for CRE owners and raising short-term loan rates

4️⃣ PacWest Loans: Beverly Hills' Kennedy Wilson has sold most of its PacWest loan portfolio to Canadian insurer Fairfax for $2.1B.

5️⃣ Market Outlook: CBRE’s chief economist says that although a mild recession is certainly still in the forecast, he expects a rapid recovery by the end of 2024.


From Goals to Growth: Messi's Impact on Florida Tourism and Real Estate

Lionel Messi, considered one of the greatest soccer players of all time, is heading to Miami. With his arrival, Inter Miami is poised to reach championship heights. And as for the real estate world? Brokers cannot wait.

Messi in Miami: Lionel Messi, the soccer maestro, has chosen Miami as his next stop, rejecting a staggering offer from Saudi Arabia. By joining Inter Miami, co-owned by David Beckham, Messi's decision not only boosts Miami's global sporting aspirations but also attracts other superstar athletes and their wealthy fans. Even real estate brokers are buzzing with excitement over the ripple effects of Messi's choice.

Settling in: Messi is set to play his first game in July at the Drive Pink Stadium in Fort Lauderdale. He may stay at his current property, the Porsche Design Tower in Sunny Isles Beach, along with two additional units. But the GOAT may need an upgrade for his family's needs. Rumor has it he's eyeing properties in Key Biscayne or South Coral Gables.

The impact: Real estate analysis firm RentCafe suggests that Messi's stardom could impact the real estate market in South Florida, potentially driving up prices in specific neighborhoods if he purchases a property there. His international popularity may also attract more tourists to Miami, increasing the demand for short-term rentals. However, it is too early to determine if there will be a noticeable "Messi effect" on real estate and tourism.

Florida's celebrity magnet: The Sunshine State, particularly Miami and Palm Beach County, has a history of attracting celebrities who have influenced the real estate market. Notable figures like Madonna and LeBron James have brought attention to the region and contributed to real estate growth. However, the post-pandemic housing surge has slowed down, indicating a retreat in prices and stagnation in the built-to-rent construction market.


Big picture: Lionel Messi's decision to make Miami his new home not only amplifies the city's sporting ambitions but also generates a ripple effect across various sectors, including real estate, tourism, and business. As one of the greatest soccer players of all time, Messi's presence is expected to leave an indelible mark on Miami's sporting and cultural landscape. The allure of Miami's luxurious lifestyle and thriving celebrity culture continues to attract renowned personalities, making the city a magnet for superstars from all walks of life.

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📰 Daily Picks
  • Harsh reminder: Canadian wildfire smoke swept through NYC and the Northeast, exposing inadequate ventilation systems in newly renovated office buildings, leading to severe air pollution.

  • Loan portfolio buy: London-based Cain International is expanding its US business with a $1.2B acquisition of New York construction loan commitments from Pacific Western Bank.

  • Bullish on Seattle: Reflecting the ongoing growth in one of Seattle's major suburbs, a real estate developer purchased a vacant office building with intentions to convert it into apartments.

  • Save CBDs: JLL offers solutions to revive CBDs and make them more appealing and competitive amid the rise of remote work and suburban attraction.

  • Last-ditch effort: Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission voted to reclaim Fairfield Lake State Park, a 5,000-acre property recently purchased by Todd Interests, through eminent domain.

  • Office purgatory: PGIM CEO David Hunt anticipates that 60% of office buildings will face difficulties as they fail to meet companies' standards, suggesting a significant shakeout in the industry.

  • Missed opportunities: Consumer behavior changes have greatly affected CRE, but a study by Near suggests that CRE organizations may not be fully utilizing consumer behavior data compared to other industries.

  • The tilting trend: San Francisco's Millennium Tower, known for its sinking and leaning issues, is now tilting more to the west, according to NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit.

  • Restructuring: Pacific Oak Capital Advisors and Savanna Real Estate Fund have restructured $334M+ debt on Manhattan's 110 William Street after securing a major tenant from a New York City agency.

  • Value-conscious customers: Nordstrom is relying on Nordstrom Rack to fuel its revival, despite lagging behind competitors and the flagship Nordstrom brand.

  • Pushing it: Sub-3 percent mortgages are being marketed by real estate agents as a sought-after amenity, comparable to marble countertops or picturesque mountain views.

📈 Chart of the Day

Inland Empire Industrial Sublet Space is on the rise

Port volumes have experienced a slowdown, leading to inventories returning to pre-pandemic levels. As a result, there is now an excess of space available for certain tenants, resulting in a rise in sublet space. Currently, there is a total of over 8.5 million square feet of sublet space, significantly higher than the 3.2 million square feet available at the end of 2019 and the pre-pandemic level of 1.7 million square feet.

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*Past performance is not indicative of future results. This information should not be used as a basis for an investor's decision to invest. Investment opportunities on the RealtyMogul Platform are speculative and involve substantial risk. Nothing on this page should be regarded as investment advice. Please carefully review all Defined Terms herein and the additional Disclosures on the RealtyMogul website. All information and any calculations used herein is based on information from inception through December 31, 2022.2024 or Bust: Rapid Recovery on The Horizon

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