Behind Knakal’s plans for a territory system at JLL

Brokers may need to bring Knakal in on any deal over $100M

Bob Knakal and Manhattan (Credit: iStock and Pixabay)
Bob Knakal and Manhattan (Credit: iStock and Pixabay)

The territory system Bob Knakal plans to implement at JLL could split New York into about 14 different areas, according to the broker.

Knakal, who was fired from Cushman & Wakefield over the summer and joined JLL in early September as chairman of New York investment sales, said his new company is still figuring out exactly how its version of the territory system will work and what the boundaries will be. However, he said they will definitely implement a system that includes a geographic orientation, and it will not just be a rehash of the famed system he used at Massey Knakal.

“There will be parts of the team that focus on larger institutional sales, and there will be parts of the team that focuses on middle-market sales,” he said, “but we will all be operating as one team.”

Knakal has so far brought a total of 53 people with him to JLL from Cushman/Massey Knakal, including Stephen Palmese, Brendan Maddigan and Winfield Clifford. Brokers may need to bring Knakal in on any deal north of $100 million.

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(When Cushman brought on Doug Harmon and Adam Spies, the company advised brokers to bring them in on all deals priced at $75 million or more in exchange for a referral fee, a move that critics said could demotivate some of the firm’s more ambitious employees. Knakal shortened his contract at Cushman by almost two years shortly after the advisement.)

Cushman bought Massey Knakal for $100 million about four years ago and chose to adopt the company’s territory system. That system divided the city into about 50 territories, with a broker in charge of each one who is paid part of the commission if a different broker from the company originates a deal there.

Knakal’s move to JLL is widely expected to help the firm improve its performance in the investment sales market. The company has been struggling in that arena since its top sales team of Richard Baxter, Yoron Cohen and Scott Latham left at the end of 2016 for Colliers International.

Details about how JLL will implement the platform, the number of territories it will include and pricing thresholds for who will be involved in what deals have not been finalized yet, according to Knakal.