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During the past four months that I have been writing Concrete Thoughts, I have received dozens of reader emails asking me to address the qualities and skills that I see in our industry's most successful brokers. While there are many skills required, below is a summary of 10 characteristics that I have observed in brokers who have made it to the top of the pack. They appear here in no particular order.


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Agents: Robert Knakal

A 75’ foot wide, 31 unit (2 super units), walk-up apartment building located on the north side of 172rd Street between Broadway and Fort Washington. The unit break down is nine (9) 3 room apartments, eighteen (18) 4 room apartments and four (4) 5 room apartments.. Columbia Presbyterian is a neighborhood anchor which draws a tremendous amount of traffic from patients, visitors, doctors, along with medical and support staff every day. The amenities which service this neighborhood include many national retail tenants including Chase, Dallas BBQ, Starbucks, as the demand for higher quality goods and services is abundant. The rental apartments in this portfolio are always in high demand from medical students, and employees of Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. Access to public transportation is just two short blocks away on 169th Street and Broadway with the A, C, and 1 trains along with numerous MTA bus lines.

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Neighborhoods: Washington Heights/ Agents: Robert Shapiro

Last week, we witnessed Scott Brown’s historic victory in Massachusetts as he captured a senate seat which had been held by Edward M. Kennedy for 46 years. Moreover, it hadn’t been since 1972 that the state last elected a Republican senator.

The people of the Bay State have spoken, but what did they say? Clearly, not all voters were saying the same thing. Some were protesting, some were fearful, some were angry, some were vacillating and some were rallying to old causes. Ted Kennedy was the U.S. senator most closely associated with the century old goal of universal “free” healthcare for every American. Astonishingly, the people who sent Kennedy to Washington for that cause 9 times rejected his legacy last Tuesday.

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Agents: Robert Knakal

I was sincerely humbled to learn that I was going to be this year's recipient of the Real Estate Board of New York's Louis Smadbeck Broker Recognition Award. I'm extraordinarily appreciative to REBNY, Steve Spinola, Bill Montana and the commercial board of directors for this honor-and to everyone who has, even tangentially, been a part of this wonderful ride.

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Agents: Robert Knakal

1121-1123 First Avenue is a five story mixed-use building located between East 61st and East 62nd Streets. The property has been extremely well maintained where pride of ownership is evident. This is a prime mixed-use opportunity in the East 60's, where very few multifamily opportunities come to market. This walk-up property consists of two strong retail tenants on the ground floor - presently El Perron Restaurant and a nail salon - as well as 16 residential units upstairs. Of these residential units, four are studios, three are one bedrooms, and nine are two bedroom apartments featuring generous space and living areas. Fifteen of the units are rent stabilized and one is rent controlled. Although the units are above luxury decontrol, they are still registered as rent stabilized due to J51 tax abatements. Tenants receive rent stabilized leases with preferential rent riders. Additionally, there are 17,500sf of air rights in-tact, providing the opportunity to reposition as a development site for the future. There are also tenant washers and dryers operated by the landlord.

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Neighborhoods: Midtown East/ Agents: Clint Olsen, Robert Shapiro

Making their first foray into the Manhattan real estate market, Mo Vaughn’s Omni NY affordable housing development company recently closed on their first Manhattan property: 2059-71 Madison Avenue. The property closed in an all cash transaction valued at $5,500,000.

Massey Knakal’s Shimon Shkury and James Nelson represented both the seller, who is a private investor and Omni in the transaction.

2059-71 Madison Avenue consists of two adjacent buildings spanning the entire eastern blockfront of Madison Avenue between East 130th and 131st Streets. Together, the properties contain a total of fifty-three residential units, all of which are under a Section 8 contract with HUD. Omni NY plans on significantly renovating the buildings and will continue to operate them as affordable housing.

“This transaction received an overwhelming amount of attention from the city’s many reputable affordable housing operators,” said Mr. Shkury, Partner at Massey Knakal. “In the end, we are very happy to have sold the buildings to Omni NY, a group that is quickly establishing themselves as some of the best operators in the city,” added Mr. Nelson, Partner at Massey Knakal.
    
Massey Knakal Realty Services, NYC’s #1 building sales firm, was the sole broker in this transaction.

Agents: James Nelson

MASSEY KNAKAL SELLS 41 BUILDINGS IN DECEMBER

1/21/2010 3:48:52 AM/ Massey Knakal/ Closings

Massey Knakal is reporting the closing of 41 buildings in December throughout the New York Metro area with an aggregate value of $114,442,000.
Some of the notable transactions included:
·    A ten-building portfolio sold in an all cash transaction valued at $29,000,000. The walk-up apartment buildings are located throughout Chelsea, Soho, West Village, Gramercy Park, and Carnegie Hill. Combined the properties contain approximately 87,707 square feet including 90 residential apartments, eight retail stores, three commercial units, and a rooftop antenna.

·    A nine-building, 229-unit affordable housing portfolio and associated ground-level retail in East Harlem sold in an all cash transaction valued at $26,900,000. The buildings are known as Met Paca I and Met Paca II and operate under a Section 8 rent subsidy contract with HUD.

·    A nine-story, 35,000 square foot elevatored commercial loft office building at 33 West 46th Street sold in an all cash transaction valued at $11,000,000.

·    Two adjacent buildings spanning the entire eastern blockfront of Madison Avenue between 130th and 131st Street sold in an all cash transaction valued at $5,500,000. Together the properties contain a total of 53 residential units, all of which are under Section 8 contract with HUD.

According to a recent report based on analysis conducted by Real Capital Analytics and published in the Real Deal, Massey Knakal dominated the field in terms of number of properties sold from 2007-2009 with more than 100 transactions completed.  The RCA analysis only looked at Manhattan properties sold for more than $5 million, however, if the entire NYC metropolitan area sales (from $1 million - $5 million) were included; Massey Knakal recorded over 600 transactions.



This four story mixed-use building is currently configured with three fair market residential units and one commercial tenant on the ground floor. The property is centrally located in Greenwich Village and benefits from additional air rights. It would be an excellent single family conversion or a live plus user opportunity for a commercial business with an income producing component on the ground floor. The property will be delivered vacant.

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Neighborhoods: Greenwich Village/ Agents: James Nelson

Massey Knakal has been retained by ownership to arrange for the sale of the former Stella D’oro Bakery (184-190 West 237th Street) located in the Kingsbridge / Riverdale neighborhood of the North Bronx, NY. This level 5.2 acre (226,667 SF) site is bounded by Broadway to the west, the Major Deegan Expressway to the east, and West 238th Street. The site is currently occupied by a two-story factory building and a one-story garage / retail complex, totaling over 167,000 SF of above grade space. Both buildings have basements; the factory building’s basement is accessible by ramp. The location offers superb visibility, excellent surface street access, frontage on the MTA subway #1 train, and service on multiple bus lines. Please call for a full prospectus on this exciting development opportunity.

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Neighborhoods: Kingsbridge/ Agents: Karl Brumback

Affiliates of Security Properties, a private Seattle-based multifamily investment group, sold a nine-building, 229-unit affordable housing portfolio and associated ground-level retail in East Harlem to an affiliate of Pacific Housing Advisors.  The portfolio sold in mid-December in an all-cash transaction valued at $26,900,000.  

The buildings are known as Met Paca I and Met Paca II and operate under a Section 8 rent subsidy contract with HUD.  The new owner will continue to maintain the portfolio as affordable housing.

“Our goals for the transaction were twofold: preserving the affordability of the apartment units while maximizing sale proceeds to the seller” noted Tim Overland, Managing Director of Affordable Housing at Security Properties  “We feel that both goals have been met.”  

Security Properties was represented by Massey Knakal’s Shimon Shkury and his Northern Manhattan team.  Topping the team’s previous sale of 1428 Fifth Avenue for $21.95 million, the Met Paca portfolio’s $26.9 million price tag makes it the largest Upper Manhattan real estate sale of 2009.

“This was really a win-win-win for all parties involved,” said Mr. Shkury, Partner at Massey Knakal Realty Services. “The buyer and seller struck an excellent deal, and the neighborhood will continue to have an outstanding portfolio of buildings maintained as affordable housing.”

Neighborhoods: Harlem

Vice President of Sales Swain Weiner discusses some factors that make Queens a natural for the conservative investor with a long-term strategy:

QUEENS FITS INTO A CONSERVATIVE INVESTMENT STRATEGY

Neighborhoods: Woodside, Sunnyside, Ditmars, Steinway, Jackson Heights, Astoria, Corona

And now, the conclusion of this three-part series:

7) Taxes. The tax landscape will have a huge impact on commercial real estate in 2010. Local, state and federal politicians have proven time and again that they simply do not have the will to reduce spending. “Fiscal responsibility” is not in their vocabulary.

In 2009, nationally, sales tax collections were down 9% and income tax collections were down 12%. Together, sales and income taxes make up roughly half of state and local tax collections. Property tax collections were up slightly but are expected to fall as tax assessments catch up with falling residential and commercial real estate valuations.

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Agents: Robert Knakal

MK Sells Five Brooklyn Buildings In December

1/13/2010 10:45:04 AM/ Massey Knakal/ Closings

Massey Knakal Brooklyn has closed out 2009 with the closing of six transactions in December with an aggregate value of over $6.5 million.  The transactions were spread across the entire borough and all property segments. 

The notable transactions included:

  •  A medical office building at 370 Bay Ridge Parkway and a vacant lot at 364 Bay Ridge Parkway were sold in an all cash transaction valued at $2,600,000.  The properties are located on the south side of Bay Ridge Parkway between 3rd and 4th Avenues in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.
  • A four-story mixed-use building at 414 Myrtle Avenue, located between Clinton and Vanderbilt Avenues, in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, was sold in an all cash transaction valued at $1,325,000.
  • A three-story mixed-use building at 229 Kent Avenue located between Grand Street and North 1st Street in Williamsburg was sold in an all cash transaction values at $785,000.
  • A three-story multi-family building at 31 Greenpoint Avenue located between West Street and the East River in Greenpoint was sold in an all cash transaction valued at $750,000.
  • A six-family building at 658 46th Street, located between 6th and 7th Avenues in Sunset Park was sold in an all cash transaction valued at $600,000.
  • A six-family apartment building at 160 Pulaski Street, located on the south side of Pulaski Street between Throop and Tompkins Avenues in Bedford-Stuyvesant was sold in an all cash transaction valued at $460,000.

Neighborhoods: Bay Ridge, Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Sunset Park, Bedford Stuyvesant, Fort Greene/ Agents: Mark Lively, Michael Amirkhanian, Stephen Palmese

The downtown Manhattan market below Canal Street had 10 sales in 2009 vs.19 in 2008 vs. 46 in 2007. That represents about 47% decrease from 2008 and 78% decrease in volume from 2007. 

Neighborhoods: Chinatown, Financial District, TriBeCa

Ten walk-up apartment buildings referred to as “The NYC Realty Corp. Portfolio” in Manhattan were sold by Massey Knakal Realty Services in an all-cash transaction valued at $29,000,000. Massey Knakal was exclusively retained by the seller just six weeks prior to closing.

The properties include: 120-22 West 25th Street; 124 West 25th Street; 126 West 25th Street; 122 West 20th Street; 156 West 20th Street; 464 West 23rd Street; 191 West 10th Street; 117 Varick Street; 116 East 19th Street; and 141 East 95th Street. They are located in Chelsea, the West Village, SoHo, Gramercy Park, and Carnegie Hill. This was a quintessential Massey Knakal assignment with five different neighborhood specialists working on the sales team.

Combined, the properties contain approximately 87,707 square feet including 89 residential apartments, eight retail stores, three commercial units, and a rooftop antenna. Eight of the properties are five-story buildings while one is six-stories and the remaining building has four stories. Approximately 30% of the residential units are subject to rent regulation and are operating at well below market levels. The unit mix is comprised of 41 one-bedroom apartments, 31 two-bedrooms, eight three-bedrooms, and nine studios.



Neighborhoods: Carnegie Hill, Greenwich Village, Chelsea, SoHo, Gramercy Park/ Agents: Brock Emmetsberger, James Nelson, John Ciraulo, Robert Burton

This corner, single story brick industrial building also includes a neighboring, small, vacant lot. The ceiling of the warehouse ranges from a high of 18 feet in the middle to 14 feet on the sides and features seven large skylights. The property is fully sprinklered, has two unconnected Modine gas blowers and adequate power. there is a mechanical roll down gate and screen as well as an office and two bathrooms. It is conveniently located approximately two blocks away from the Myrtle-Willoughby G train station and a block away from Home Depot. The property will be delivered vacant at closing. This warehouse offers a unique user opportunity.

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Neighborhoods: Bedford Stuyvesant/ Agents: Mark Lively, Michael Amirkhanian

The subject is a 9,500 square foot lot with 95 feet of frontage on the west side of 36th Street between Broadway and 34th Avenue. It is located just three blocks from the R/V subway lines at Steinway Street and five blocks from the N/W subway lines at 31st Street. The property includes a playground and a four story, 13,154 square foot brick building that serves as a dormitory, learning center and House of Worship for a Church. The property’s Certificate of Occupancy also allows for the use of a Day Care Center on the ground floor. With a zoning designation of R5 and an F.A.R. of 1.25, the property has 11,875 buildable square feet for residential development. Due to it's size, location, and available air rights, the property poses an excellent development or conversion opportunity.

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Neighborhoods: Long Island City

Now that a new decade has begun, many people question what is in store for the commercial real estate investment-sales market over the next few years. Clearly, 2009 was a challenging year, to say the least, with extraordinarily low sales volume and falling prices.

As 2009 ended, it was clear that, although the volume of sales would register the lowest totals we have seen going back to at least 1984, volume was trending upward with strong activity in the third and fourth quarters. Exact 2009 year-end numbers will be released by Massey Knakal before the end of this month. The direction of value, on the other hand, was still heading south as the year closed.

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Agents: Robert Knakal

This prime corner walkup multifamily building features 24 residential units and three stores. There are 19 two bedroom apartments, 4 one bedroom apartments and 1 three bedroom apartment. Five of the units have been gut renovated (4, 6, 14, 17 & 20) and are rented at market. The super’s unit (3) will be vacant at closing.

Located five blocks away from the J/M train at Flushing Avenue and six blocks away from the Montrose Avenue L train station. Both trains run directly into Manhattan. The apartments are currently 100% leased and the apartments net rent is currently at 60% of market which provides significant upside. The vast majority of older multifamily product in Williamsburg are six and eight families.

This building provides an investor the opportunity to purchase an anchor property on one of the strongest retail corridors in Brooklyn.


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Neighborhoods: Williamsburg/ Agents: Mark Lively

One of the most architecturally distinct and vastly unique townhouses in Greenwich Village sold in an all cash transaction valued at $2,100,000.  At 25’ wide and approximately 2,813 square feet, this 1930 townhouse at 16 Minetta Lane, is located at the junction of Minetta Street and Minetta Lane between Sixth Avenue and MacDougal Street just two blocks south of Washington Square Park.

The townhouse comes with a carriage house that has been adjoined to it by a grand solarium. The façade, of Greek revival architecture, is stucco decorated with ivy pouring from each window making 16 Minetta truly unique. Upon entering the three level front house through the arched gated doorway, you will find yourself in a large living room with a concrete staircase leading up to the second floor. The second floor boasts a triple height pitched ceiling reaching as high as 24’. The lower level has an exposed stone living space, a full bathroom, the mechanical room and storage. There is a two and a half story carriage house in the rear of the property.

“This rare townhouse drew significant interest with over 60 showings and 17 offers within a six-week period,” said Massey Knakal Vice Chairman and Partner John Ciraulo who exclusively handled this transaction with Partner James P. Nelson. “16 Minetta Lane was home to the late Robert Isabell, one of, if not, NYC's most prominent floral designer and events planner. Due to the estate's timing, the transaction occurred quickly in an auction-like process that led to the eventual sale. Though the property requires significant renovation and restoration, as it stands today it would be of great interest to someone looking for a truly unique home with open air qualities, loft like space and an outdoor living experience” added Director of Sales Craig Waggner who also worked on the sale for Massey Knakal.

Massey Knakal Realty Services, NYC’s #1 building sales firm, was the sole broker in this transaction.

Neighborhoods: Greenwich Village/ Agents: James Nelson, John Ciraulo

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