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NEW YORK CITY—Paul J. Massey Jr. and his new company, Building by Building, Block by Block (B6) founded with former colleagues Neil Heilberg and Michael Wlody, are looking to hire 50 brokers. They’ve already recruited an experienced management team of 20 people.
As reported in the New York Post, B6 signed a l2,010 square-foot lease, the full eighth floor at 1040 Sixth Ave. at W. 39th St. with the building’s asking rent in the low-$50s. The paper reported Savills Studley’s Bill Montana represented B6 and Billy Cohen of Newmark Knight Frank served as brokers for DHI Group in the sublease. The Post noted that building owner Skyline Development consented to the deal.
Massey tells GlobeSt.com his team is thrilled with their central location in Midtown will be fully operational the week of July 30. In addition, B6 plans to open offices in Brooklyn, Queens and New Jersey—all within its first year.
Similar to Massey Knakal, the firm Massey originally started with Bob Knakal in 1988, which Cushman & Wakefield acquired in 2014 for $100 million, B6 will use a territory network for sales brokers exclusively representing sellers and owners. It will be different in that they will equally focus on the debt brokerage business.
“Only 15% of the debt brokerage business in the city is done by a top 10 firm,” says Massey. “There are 16,000 individual debt transactions on an annual basis in New York City and about 14,000 of them are not brokered by a top 10 firm, so there’s a huge market share opportunity.”
Compared to building sales where even though there are 200,000 buildings on an annualized average basis, there are about 3,500 buildings that sell, he explains. “People sell their buildings once every 40 years but they refinance every four or five. So, the velocity of transactions on the debt side is huge.”
B6 Real Estate Advisors is focusing on middle market transactions from $1 million to $200 million. “We’ve always enjoyed the middle market because it’s roughly 85% of the transaction velocity, so it’s where all of the traffic is. We were a very profitable operation in the past,” Massey tells GlobeSt.com. Clients were willing to pay their fees because they were incidental to the level of success and difference the firm had been able to bring, he says.
For brokers wanting to join B6, the more specialized work experience you have, the more competitive your application will be. Whether it’s insurance company debt, institutional savings bank debt, mezzanine financing, gap equity financing, construction financing or another kind of specialty—sharpen that resume to demonstrate such capabilities. Some form of geographical focus with debt brokers would also be helpful as they will work closely with sales brokers. Massey adds B6 also will train brokers without experience to fill core areas.
The firm has aspirations to consider other markets including Chicago and Miami but will first build up its core New York metro market to fuel any growth.
An immediate major emphasis is technology. B6 hired a developer who created proprietary software that’s not available elsewhere on the market.
The technology will help agents prospect new business and gain dominance in markets, obtaining exposure and recognition using online platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook. The Advanced Marketing Portal produces marketing materials integrating social media and engaging in digital outreach. The technology will integrate data that brokers gather from boots-to-the-ground intelligence, feeding information in areas such as sales, cap rates, gross multipliers in cases of residential properties and pricing trends.
“We can bring this information to the debt business and create heat maps of who and what institutions are lending where, what they are lending on in terms of product type and what their interest rates and loan values are,” says Massey.
Opening transparency in the debt markets is part of the plan to create greater efficiencies and lower capital costs for clients.
It also aims to encourage a cooperative work environment that Massey equally emphasizes in importance. “We’ve always had a collaborative culture where we had sharing between the submarkets and when people were originating business in different markets they would share that business.” That doesn’t exist elsewhere but Massey Knakal enjoyed a strong reputation for it, he says. “We’re going to have that same sharing and collaborative culture here.”
Regarding his past mayoral candidacy, Massey says now he’s 100% dedicated to the new venture, so is not looking to enter politics anytime soon. But real estate is inherently linked to civic issues and quality of life concerns involving housing, the economy, safety and education. Massey serves on the board of a not-for-profit, New Classrooms, which focuses on personalized learning. He plans to expand B6’s role with the organization with mentorship, internship, job and supportive programs—underscoring the firm’s involvement with the community.
Betsy Kim is the bureau chief, East Coast, and New York City reporter for Real Estate Forum and GlobeSt.com. As a lawyer and journalist, Betsy has worked as the director of editorial and content for LexisNexis Lawyers.com, a TV/multi-media journalist for NBC and CBS affiliated TV stations in the Midwest, and an associate producer at Court TV.
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