New York City-based Massey Knakal Realty Services was sold to international real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield on Dec. 31 for $100 million. Stephen Preuss, a former vice president at Massey Knakal in Queens, talked with real estate editor Liam La Guerre about how the sale to the international firm will impact the Queens division and its clients.
La Guerre: Congratulations on now being with a larger firm. Will there be any changes to the Queens division now that Massey is with Cushman & Wakefield?
Preuss: We have a very successful strategy with a territory system, and we have seasoned agents here that have a high market share and are very successful at doing what we have been doing, which is selling properties in Queens. Nothing is going to change here; it’s just going to improve with the CW name and resources.
La Guerre: Massey Knakal was on some large sales in Queens for the year. Some highlights include a garage and commercial strip in Jamaica for $22 million, the 1,270-unit apartment complex in Kew Gardens for $216 million and the Astoria commercial building for $32 million. Any idea of how much in sales Massey did in Queens in 2014?
Preuss: We’re still tallying up, because we did do a lot of transactions toward the end of the year. For Massey Knakal as a whole, we are going to be right around the $5 billion mark. In Queens, again we are still counting, but it will be in the several hundred million dollar range.
La Guerre: How does this sale help your clients now that you are with a bigger firm?
Preuss: [Cushman & Wakefield is] a full-service, global commercial firm that does all types of real estate advisory services. Now we can deliver a higher level of service and get better results for our clients and our buyer pool, which was mostly Tri-State investors, is going to increase now that we have offices all over the world.
La Guerre: That exposure to the international network will be helpful to your Queens clients since the borough’s real estate market is exploding.
Preuss: I agree. I think it’ll not only help the mid-level pricing assets that we work with, but it’ll also help us achieve, attain and excel at some of the higher-price assets that we really didn’t handle before. All across the board this is a very positive move for people at Massey Knakal and the Cushman Wakefield brand.
La Guerre: Queens is still an emerging market when compared to the city, and there are some areas that people just don’t know about. Did Cushman see value in Queens when it was acquiring Massey?
Preuss: Yes, actually. Cushman & Wakefield executives made it very clear that the boroughs are going to be a big focus and is a big reason why they acquired Massey Knakal, and Queens in particular is going to be big for them. They are going to put a lot of resources behind us to really continue on with Queens as an emerging market.
La Guerre: How does 2015 look for real estate in Queens?
Preuss: Queens will continue to be an area where not only Queens-based investors look, but Brooklyn and Manhattan investors are going to continue to trend toward Queens because of the value here. I believe 2015 will even surpass 2014.