Bob Knakal Starting BK Real Estate Advisors

Bob Knakal Starting BK Real Estate Advisors

Bob Knakal is getting back in the brokerage game after a tumultuous exit from JLL weeks ago.

The veteran dealmaker is launching a new company, BK Real Estate Advisors, which will use AI to help sell property.

“We’re in the Knakal map room, which is probably the most analogue place in the world,” Knakal said during an interview with The Real Deal in his paper-and-poster-board-strewn map room. “Everything is paper and very old school; we’re going to take that and blend it with AI to take advantage of what AI can deliver today.”

Knakal said artificial intelligence can help with things like leaving personalized voice messages during the prospecting phase, as well as with data analytics. He’s hired a chief operating officer with an AI background to get things off the ground.

The new business launch comes after Knakal’s sudden departure from JLL in February, and nearly a decade since he sold his former company Massey Knakal Realty Services to Cushman & Wakefield for a reported $100 million in 2015.

Knakal was fired from JLL after he appeared in a lengthy article in the New York Times about his map room that made just a passing reference to JLL. Tensions between two sides had been simmering for some time, sources said, and the public slight was the straw that broke the camel’s back. 

Knakal had also been fired from Cushman & Wakefield in 2018, leading many to speculate that he would not go back to another big brokerage this time.

The 61-year-old Knakal said he feels reinvigorated to build something new.

“I think what was reawakened in me shortly after my departure from JLL is the entrepreneurial spirit,” he said. “For 10 years working at the big shops, it muted that very significantly and immediately I felt this rush like the old MK days.”

Read more

Unlike Massey Knakal, which had 250 employees covering the entire city and had grown to dominate the mid-market sales space, Knakal said his new venture will be a boutique company focusing on investment sales, debt and equity.

Knakal’s longtime approach to brokerage was centered on his company’s famous territory system, which assigned brokers to be experts in particular neighborhoods. But he said that doesn’t work today the way it did when he started Massey Knakal in 1988.

“Today, all of the information that took us a long time to get back in those days is so readily available, it’s not really that beneficial and doesn’t really differentiate you,” he said. “I think product specialization is a much better way to achieve that in today’s environment.”

Originally Appeared Here

About Caroline Vega 228 Articles
Caroline Vega combines over a decade of digital strategy expertise with a deep passion for journalism, originating from her academic roots at Louisiana State University. As an editor based in New Orleans, she directs the editorial narrative at Commercial Lending News, where she crafts compelling content on commercial lending. Her unique approach weaves her background in finance and digital marketing into stories that not only inform but also drive industry conversations forward.