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Deals & Dealmakers

Paul Massey considering running for mayor

Paul Massey, one of the co-founders of commercial brokerage firm Massey Knakal Realty Services, is considering running for mayor of New York City.

According to New York Magazine, Massey, who sold the firm he founded with Bob Knakal for a reported $100 million in 2014, has been meeting with the city’s GOP leaders to gauge support for a possible candidacy.

“Paul has been very successful in real estate. I encouraged him to get in the race,” said Joe Lhota, who lost the mayoral election to de Blasio in 2013. Lhota, a Republican who was once the chairman and CEO of the MTA, said that he had met with Massey to provide guidance on mounting a candidacy. He also confirmed that Massey had attended several Republican events.

Massey, who first started working in New York City in 1983, launched his career with a summer job at CBRE. It was there that he first met Knakal, who would be his business partner for almost 30 years. The pair, who co-founded Massey Knakal in 1987, first met while hiding from edible projectiles during a food fight.

“We had an uproarious dinner which wrapped up with a food fight,” he said in a November 2013 Real Estate Weekly profile. “We ended up under the table defending ourselves.”

Massey Knakal started as a two-man operation, with its co-founders dividing a two-room office. After almost three decades, the company’s base of operations grew to a 20,000 s/f office in Midtown. After the firm was bought by Cushman & Wakefield, Massey, who was then Massey Knakal’s CEO, became Cushman’s president for New York investment sales.

Massey first dipped his toes in politics earlier this year when he established a political action non-profit called 1NY Together. “This isn’t a tale of two cities; it’s one city and it can be great for everybody,” he told Crain’s last February, adding that the goal of his organization is to “build consensus” and allow people to “debate the city’s options.” He did not respond to a request for comment regarding his possible mayoral candidacy.

If Massey decides to run, he would have a tough opponent in de Blasio. The mayor’s approval rating rose to 50 percent in January. The previous survey, released in October, had de Blasio at 45 percent. In a hypothetical race against Comptroller Scott Stringer, the mayor was projected to win at a rate of 44% to 33%. A projected mayoral race against former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly yielded a similar result. If Kelly ran against de Blasio as an independent, the mayor is projected to win at a 50% to 35% rate.

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