James P. Nelson

Vice Chairman


James Nelson brings to every real estate transaction he works on the determination to win, the tenacity and hard work to succeed, and the confidence that comes from years of experience in the field. At Massey Knakal Realty Services since 1998 and a partner since 2004, James has been involved in the sale of approximately 300 properties and loans with an aggregate value of over $2.5 billion. He is also a partner in MKRO I, Massey Knakal’s value-added private equity real estate fund.

James has won numerous awards and been recognized for his well-earned success both inside Massey Knakal, as well as by his peers in the real estate community. Between 2002 and 2012, he has been awarded Massey Knakal’s top honor, The Annual Gerald W. Bridges Award for Annual Salesperson of the Year (company-wide) six times (’02, ’03, ’08, ’10, ’11, ’12). He was awarded REBNY’s Most Promising Commercial Sales Person of the Year Award in 2002. In April 2011, he was included by The Real Deal as one of the Top 35 and Under NYC Real Estate Players and was recently ranked as the #1 Top NYC Deal Maker by LoopNet, an online Commercial Real Estate Publication.

His market knowledge extends across a wide range of properties including townhouses, apartment buildings, retail stores, and development sites. James thrives on challenge, most recently exemplified with his sale of a 1.2 million square foot development site in Hudson Yards for $238 million, two recent Portfolios, the first consisting of an 11 multifamily walk-up apartment buildings in Greenwich Village, Murray Hill, and the Upper East Side for $73 million, and the second consisting of a three building portfolio of both mixed-use and multifamily assets, in Greenwich Village, SoHo, and the Lower East Side for over $49 million. All three sales required a mix of strong market understanding and a disciplined strategy to achieve the best possible results for his clients.

James is a licensed New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts’ real estate broker. He also holds a salesperson’s license in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

He credits his success to a work ethic ingrained in him since his days as captain of his college swim team and more recently as a triathlete. Never giving up with a finish line clearly in his sights, James has been his firm’s top salesperson for 9 of the past 10 years, surpassed only by the founding partners. His access to the largest audience of qualified bidders enabled him to successfully close on the $34 million Bleeker Street retail portfolio, garnering the third highest price per square foot ever paid in the U.S. at that time.

Although James represents sellers, his sense of fair game, transparency, and integrity guide him to create win/win situations for both buyers and sellers. His depth of knowledge, extensive buyer outreach, and honest feedback result in properly priced properties, widest exposure to qualified, motivated buyers, an extensive inventory, the highest closing prices and timely results.

James works with a dedicated team of four associates, a sales team manager, and an analyst who help support his business. The team includes Caroline Hannigan, Mitchell Levine, Matt Nickerson, David Shalom, Brandon Polakoff, and Matthew Tarpley.

His noteworthy sales have included: 435 Tenth Avenue to Tishman Speyer for $238,000,000, 30 West 21st Street for $38,500,000, 200 East 11th Street for $57,000,000, 102-08 West 57th Street to Hilton Land Vacations for $63,000,000; 625 Broadway for $60,900,000; The Portman Portfolio for $55,000,000; the 99 year land lease of 10-12 Bond Street valued at over $60,000,000; the Bleecker Street Retail Portfolio for $34,000,000; and the former VillageCare Nursing Home for slightly over $33,000,000; and 100 Vandam Street for $27,500,000.

His client list includes The Archdiocese of New York, Argo Real Estate, Bank of America, Beck Street Capital, The Bromley Companies, CIM, HFZ, HJ Development, Dime Savings, Icon, Jakobson Properties, LLC, J D Carlisle, JP Morgan Chase & Co., Kimco Realty, The Lefrak Organization, Midwood Development Corp, New York City Regional Center, R A Cohen, RAL, Related Companies, Time Equities, Toll Brothers, US Bank, Village Care New York, Wells Fargo, The Witkoff Group, Zeckendorf Development, as well as many private individuals.

James’ involvement in the real estate community extends beyond the walls of Massey Knakal. He has taught as an adjunct professor and is currently a guest lecturer at New York University’s Continuing Education program. He is a member of the Commercial Board of Directors, a panelist, and instructor for the Real Estate Board of New York. He has been quoted and has been a source for articles on real estate in the New York Times, New York Post, New York Magazine, Real Estate Weekly and Mann Report. He is a member of the Mortgage Bankers Association of New York, National Realty Club, and the Young Real Estate Professionals. He also co-founded the Colgate Real Estate Council.

The need to give back to the community and to those who need a helping hand was an early call for James. James is on The Catalog for Giving’s honorary board, a NYC non-profit that provides funding to 10 local charities devoted to at-risk youths through a variety of programs that include education, mentorship, extra-curricular activities, and the opportunity to expand their horizons beyond their immediate neighborhoods. James has also been honored by the Varardi Ovarian Initiative for Cancer Education (VOICE) as their corporate honoree.

James graduated from St. Andrew's Boarding School in Middletown, DE in 1994 and Colgate University in 1998 where he received a degree in English. Originally from Bethesda, MD, he and his wife, Allison, live in Old Greenwich, CT with their sons, Luke, Austin and Trevor. He can be reached in the Manhattan office at 212.696.2500 x7710.


  • National Realty Club
  • New York University
  • Real Estate Board of New York
  • Young Real Estate Professionals of New York
  • Board of Directors, The Real Estate Board of New York “REBNY” (Commercial Division)
  • YMBA
  • Real Estate Services Alliance, Founder
  • The Catalog For Giving Honorary Board
  • Colgate Real Estate Council, Co-Founder


    Real Estate Investing For The Non-Professional
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    Valuing Properties In Today's Market
    In a Manhattan property sales market where there were 63% less transactions in the first quarter of 2010, compared to the same quarter in 2007, how is it possible to accurately value a property? In some cases, such as multi-family sales, there have been enough sales to make a determination. Whereas with other product types such as land, it becomes a real art, as there have been virtually no sales.View Article

    End Users Step Up To The Plate
    Some would think that user groups would be paralyzed from purchasing in today’s transitional marketplace. However, many user groups are stepping up to expand their operations and take advantage of pricing that is well below previous levels. These organizations range from schools to cultural centers to foreign governments.View Article

James P. Nelson
Vice Chairman
(212) 696-2500 x 7710
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Mitchell Levine
Associate Director
(212) 696-2500 x 7761
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Matthew Nickerson
Associate Director
(212) 696-2500 x 7742
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Caroline Hannigan
(212) 696-2500 x 7708
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Brandon Polakoff
212-696-2500 x 7755
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David Shalom
Senior Associate
(212) 696-2500 x 7767
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Matthew Tarpley
(212) 696-2500 x 5139
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Carly Weinreb
212.696.2500 x 5114
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Notable Recent Transactions

640 Broadway, New York, NY 10012/$35,000,000 Mixed-Use Investment Buildings, Mixed-Use User Buildings, Development/Conversion Sites, Commercial Buildings, Apartment Buildings, Live Plus Income Buildings, Greenwich Village, New York


607 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014/$33,250,000 Apartment Buildings, Greenwich Village, New York


37 W 10th Street, New York, NY 10011/$9,500,197 Townhouses, Development/Conversion Sites, Apartment Buildings, Live Plus Income Buildings, Special Use, Greenwich Village, New York