Massey Knakal shrinks in Jersey but adds leasing in Manhattan

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From left: Landon McGaw and Kobi Leifer

And then there was one.

The New Jersey office for investment sales firm Massey Knakal Realty Services is down to one salesperson from a peak of five following today’s resignation of the region’s managing director.

The news comes a day before Massey Knakal is set to announce that for the first time it has hired a retail leasing broker, and one week after one of the firm’s top producers, Shimon Shkury, departed with his entire team to form Ariel Property Advisors.

In related news, two sources said Massey Knakal has hired a new retail leasing broker focusing on Manhattan. Company CEO Paul Massey would not comment on the new hire or identify the individual.

The near collapse of the New Jersey office is far from company predictions as the economy turned sour in 2008. That summer, the firm picked managing director Landon McGaw to spearhead an expansion into the state. In October that year, Massey said he expected to open 12 territories — each normally handled by one broker — in New Jersey over the following 18 months.

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The company at its peak had five agents in the Rutherford, New Jersey office. Now there is just one, first vice president of sales Kobi Leifer.

Massey declined to comment on why brokers would depart at a point in time when sales for the firm have improved. He said the company would not pull out of New Jersey.

“We are fully committed to the New Jersey market. It is a valuable market full of the type of investment properties that we sell,” he said.

McGaw, 28, left Massey Knakal today for a job as managing director at Silverstone Property Group, an affiliate of lender and owner Madison Realty Capital, with which it shares common ownership.

At Silverstone, McGaw will oversee expansion of the firm’s own properties and its third-party management and construction businesses.

Since it was founded about a year and a half ago, Midtown-based Silverstone has acquired $25 million in real estate, most of it in New York City, and has contracts on another $25 million, company president Martin Nussbaum said.