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Legendary Broker Bob Knakal Out At JLL

Bob Knakal, the legendary New York commercial real estate broker, is no longer working at JLL after six years with the Chicago-based firm.

Bob Knakal

The news was first reported by independent real estate journalist Hiten Samtani, and Bisnow confirmed Knakal's departure via a source with knowledge. 

Knakal, who was the head of the New York Private Capital Group at JLL, declined to comment to Bisnow when reached by phone Wednesday afternoon. He posted on LinkedIn and X confirming his exit.

It is unclear what precipitated his departure from JLL. A spokesperson for the firm didn't immediately respond to Bisnow's request for comment.

Knakal has been an active commercial sales broker in New York City for more than 40 years, starting with a summer job at Coldwell Banker in 1981. He co-founded Massey Knakal Realty Advisors in 1988 with his former partner, Paul Massey. Cushman & Wakefield bought the firm in 2014 for a reported $100M, and Knakal joined as part of the acquisition. 

He left Cushman & Wakefield in June 2018 when the firm terminated his contract shortly before it was set to expire. He joined JLL a few months later, telling Bisnow at the time that he spoke with every major brokerage in the city to decide where he would ply his trade — and bring his team of 14 professionals with him.

Since the pandemic arrived, Knakal has repositioned himself as a social media real estate champion for an industry that has seen better days. The Knakal Map Room, which he created after walking every block of Manhattan south of 96th Street, embodied his online celebrity and was featured in many publications recently, including Bisnow and The New York Times, which splashed the star broker and his secretive room on its pages over the weekend.

No reason was given for Knakal's departure, but JLL New York Region Chairman and President Peter Riguardi told The Real Deal Wednesday that Knakal was a “consummate professional” he enjoyed working with.

“At JLL the client comes first, JLL comes second and the individuals come third,” Riguardi told TRD. “That’s the true recipe for success.” 

Riguardi didn't immediately respond to Bisnow's request for comment.

Knakal is the second NYC investment sales goliath to leave a major firm in the past three weeks. Darcy Stacom, long CBRE's top sales broker in the city, left the Dallas-based Fortune 500 company to start her own firm, she announced Feb. 6.

UPDATE, FEB. 14, 11 P.M. ET: This story has been updated with a post from Knakal confirming his departure from JLL.

Related Topics: JLL, Bob Knakal