James Nelson began his real estate career by chance: in 1998 - the year he graduated from Colgate University - he saw a posting at the college's career center for a position at Massey Knakal. The job would entail working alongside founding partner Robert Knakal.
James got the job and never looked back. He's been with Massey Knakal since then, and was made a partner in 2004. "It's been very good to be here. They've allowed me to grow and support my business," he notes. "I have a great team behind me."
Over the years James has been inspired by his company's founders, Robert Knakal and Paul Massey. "Bob is the ultimate power broker, and Paul has offered tremendous guidance," James says. "It's the best platform and industry to represent."
Each broker at Massey Knakal has a specific niche, a neighborhood they're an expert in. For James it's the East Village, Greenwich Village and NoHo. His focus is on investment sales - representing sellers - and he's recently been a part of several exciting deals.
A building on West 10th Street that had three rent stabilized apartments in it recently sold for $9.5 million. "It was the highest price ever for this type of asset on a price for square foot," he noted. James also recently sold a 500,000 square foot development site on 10th and 30th, adjacent to the High Line. "I'm excited to be a part of the Manhattan skyline."
In terms of work outside the office, James has taught as an adjunct professor and is now a guest lecturer at NYU's Continuing Education program. He's also on the board of The Catalog for Giving, a program that picks 10 local charities for children, and gives those charities unrestricted funding for three years. "It's a wonderful thing to be a part of, to see these charities grow," James affirms.
Still, he counts his greatest accomplishment as being a father to three kids: Luke, Austin and Trevor. "Balance is important in this business," he notes. "I put in my hours as early as possible so I'm there [for my sons]."