Massey Knakal name headed for retirement

Brokerage will adopt Cushman & Wakefield branding

From left: Robert Knakal, Paul Massey and signage (Photo credits: Vanishing New York, Sheepshead Bites, Google)
From left: Robert Knakal, Paul Massey and signage (Photo credits: Vanishing New York, Sheepshead Bites, Google)

Even as Paul Massey and Robert Knakal intend to plant long-term roots at their new firm Cushman & Wakefield, the name of their eponymous brokerage is being uprooted in short order.

While the exact timing is still up in the air, “Massey Knakal Realty Services,” one of the most recognized brands in Manhattan real estate and a titan in the outer boroughs, will be replaced by “Cushman & Wakefield,” Paul Massey told The Real Deal.

“We will change the name to Cushman & Wakefield and we plan to communicate that to our clients and constituents,” Massey said. “And our people are excited about being part of a global brand. Very excited.”

On the last day of 2014, Cushman purchased Massey Knakal for a reported $100 million. Though Massey would not comment directly on any retention agreement, he stressed that both he and Knakal hoped to be at Cushman for “a good long time.”

The timeline for phasing out the name will be ironed out as part of the overall integration process, which will be laid out by the end of the first quarter. Some industry sources said it would happen “quickly.”

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The move will extinguish a brand worth millions. While Cushman has a strong presence both in Manhattan and worldwide, Massey Knakal is arguably the most prominent brand name in the outer boroughs, brokers said.

“I find it interesting that Cushman intends to do away with the brand, as so much effort went into creating this incredibly recognizable market presence over all the years of their success,” said Robert Hebron IV, a broker with the family-owned Brooklyn commercial brokerage Ingram & Hebron Realty.

Some noted that it took a great deal of grunt work and sign-hanging to gain recognition for the now-ubiquitous green-and-white Massey Knakal logo. Now, agents have to roll up their sleeves all over again to bring the Cushman name to local investors, in places such as Queens, the Bronx and Brooklyn.

Just days after the merger, Knakal was handing out business cards with Massey Knakal on one side and Cushman on the other. “I always give them out with the Cushman side on top,” he said.

Hiten Samtani contributed reporting.