Paul Massey planning 2017 mayoral run

Former real estate executive launched a political action committee last month

Mar.March 25, 2016 08:04 AM

Paul Massey wants to be mayor of New York.

The Massey Knakal Realty Services founder is meeting with business leaders and top Republicans about a possible challenge to Bill de Blasio in 2017, New York Magazine reported.

“Paul has been very successful in real estate,” 2013 Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota, told the magazine. “I encouraged him to get in the race.”

Lhota also told the publication he met with Massey earlier this year to explain the practicalities of seeking citywide office.

Massey and his former partner Robert Knakal sold their namesake commercial brokerage to Cushman & Wakefield in 2014 for $100 million.

Last month, he announced the launch of a political action committee, called 1NY Together, that aimed to “foster a dialogue in the city” about crime, education and infrastructure issues.

“This isn’t a tale of two cities; it’s a tale of one city and it can be great for everyone,” Massey told Crain’s at the time, offering a rebuke to a famous de Blasio campaign slogan.

Massey, the president of New York investment sales at Cushman & Wakefield, would be willing to spend money from his own pocket for the race. But he would also seek donations from supporters in the real estate and finance industries who have looked for a strong pro-business candidate since Michael Bloomberg left office, New York Magazine reported. Massey’s campaign would focus on a friendlier relationship between Gracie Mansion and One Police Plaza, and increased money for charter schools, New York Magazine reported. He would use his connections and real estate know-how to encourage the construction of more affordable housing.

“The guy is not an ideologue. He is a real-estate guy who looks at issues from a management point of view,” David Catalfamo, a Republican consultant told New York Magazine. “Those are the types of folks who have been successful mayors of New York and have had success getting elected.”

He may have a tough hill to climb. Stonehenge Partners CEO Ofer Yardini told the the magazine that while he supports his friend Massey’s potential run, he feels the real estate industry is in no rush to boot de Blasio.

“When he started as a mayor, a lot of people were very, very concerned, especially when you hear the message that there are two cities here. But after he took office, he realized we needed to work together.”

Massey is not the first real estate figure to weigh a mayoral run. Peebles Corp. head Don Peebles has thrown his hat into the ring, saying in August that de Blasio is “anti-business,” “anti-wealth” and mayor of the “Socialist Party.” [NYMag]Ariel Stulberg

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