The 50 Most Important People in Commercial Real Estate Finance
Power and influence take center stage once again with our second annual Top 50 list. This is our subjective take on who reigned supreme since March 2013, when our last list came out. Our team pored over the submissions that were sent in and reached out to request some that weren’t. Some choices seemed obvious, but we did our best to weigh each one carefully. We again left off our lawyer and developer friends. Both of these are covered in our sister publication Commercial Observer’s Power 100 list. There are many familiar faces, but there are also some new names this year, like Chase’s Chad Tredway, Blackstone’s Michael Nash and Natixis’s Greg Murphy. Then some on the list for the second year simply switched firms or banks, such as Ken Cohen, who moved from UBS to Bank of America. Check out all the changes and ups and downs in the pages that follow.—Carl Gaines and Damian Ghigliotty
Additional reporting by Gus Delaporte, Matt Egan and Daniel Edward Rosen
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Evidenced by his Starwood Capital Group loaning out $6.7 billion since March 2013, Barry Sternlicht is easily one of the most powerful figures in commercial real estate.
Mr. Sternlicht, the chairman and CEO of both Starwood Capital Group and Starwood Property Trust, presided over 23 acquisitions worth $2.3 billion. These deals covered eight different property types and included $1.72 billion in the U.S., $525 million in Europe and $47 million in Brazil.
Starwood Capital Group has also been a big player on the CMBS front, highlighted by a pair of single-borrower deals in the U.S. and Canada worth more than a total of $1.1 billion. The firm also closed approximately $2 billion worth of CMBS deals in Europe.
Chief Investment Officer, Blackstone Real Estate Debt Strategies, and Executive Chairman, Blackstone Mortgage Trust
Since Michael Nash joined Blackstone in 2007 to launch Blackstone Real Estate Debt Strategies (BREDS), he has helped turn the business into a platform with $10 billion in assets under management across a wide spectrum of vehicles.
BREDS, where Mr. Nash serves as chief investment officer, has originated nearly $4.5 billion of commercial real estate debt in the United States and Europe since the start of 2012.
Blackstone has also expanded its commercial real estate business through the December 2012 acquisition of Capital Trust, a publicly traded REIT focused on first mortgage originations.
In May 2013, the firm rebranded Capital Trust as Blackstone Mortgage Trust, where Mr. Nash serves as executive chairman. Blackstone Mortgage Trust has since completed two offerings totaling $1 billion.
Last year, Blackstone also closed on a second BREDS mezzanine-debt-focused fund, which is called Blackstone Real Estate Debt Strategies II, and raised $3.3 billion of commitments.
After lending approximately $2.5 billion for multifamily real estate projects in the New York area in 2012, Alan Wiener’s team at Wells Fargo upped its game in 2013, lending more than $4 billion in permanent and construction loans for residential developments in New York in 2013.
Wells Fargo’s lending ran the gamut of affordable mixed income, 80/20 and condominium projects and included deals at Coop City in the Bronx, Hunters Point in Queens and Mercedes House on the west side. Mr. Wiener calls the Coop City deal “the most unique done in years.” Wells Fargo provided a $621 million 35-year, self-amortizing loan at a rate less than 3 percent, saving the co-op $150 million over the next decade.
Mr. Wiener is keen to stress the bank’s versatility, including the ability to do deals across the affordable, middle-income and high-end spectrum. “We do debt, we do equity, we do balance sheet, and we do long-term financing. It’s a big real estate platform,” he said.
James Carpenter, who oversees all lending activity at New York Community Bank, manages a commercial real estate portfolio totaling $28.4 billion as of Dec. 31, 2013.
The savings bank subsidiary of the publicly traded New York Community Bancorp, Inc., originated $9.6 billion in commercial real estate transactions last year with $7.4 billion for multifamily properties and $2.2 billion for all other asset classes.
Among its standout deals, the bank originated an $85 million refinancing of a 428,000-square-foot retail center located in Westbury, N.Y., for a Queens-based sponsor and a $142 million refinancing of two mixed-use residential, office and retail towers located in Midtown Manhattan.
“It is the long-term focus and strength of our business model that has allowed us to continue to maintain our lending niche in the New York City marketplace,” Mr. Carpenter said. “We know and respect the marketplace and are committed to it.”
Brooklyn native Ralph Herzka is a dominant force in the New York City real estate market, with his Meridian Capital closing almost $18 billion of financing there in 2013 alone.
Overall, Meridian closed a record $25.8 billion in commercial real estate financing across the country in 2013.
It has also been a busy few months for Mr. Herzka’s other ventures.
Mr. Herzka is a founding investor in Ladder Capital, the commercial real estate lender and CMBS originator that raised $225 million in an initial public offering last month, and he remains an active member of Ladder Capital’s board of directors.
Meanwhile, Beech Street Capital, the mortgage-banking firm co-founded by Mr. Herzka, was sold to Capital One in a deal that closed in November 2013.
Thanks to his recent promotion, Gino Martocci oversees a vast loan portfolio of $25.5 billion across New York City, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Delaware, Baltimore and Washington, D.C.
Mr. Martocci is a 19-year veteran of Buffalo, N.Y.-based M&T Bank and was elevated to executive vice president and the bank's management committee in January.
In that role, he oversees M&T Realty Capital Corporation, which provides financing for commercial real estate and multifamily projects.
Peter D'Arcy is M&T’s New York City regional vice president, putting him in charge of one of the most active commercial real estate shops in New York City that has a portfolio of over more than $7 billion.
Notable financing deals that Mr. D'Arcy has overseen include a $230 million construction loan with Wells Fargo for the 150 Charles Street condominium in Manhattan's West Village and a $94 million loan for the sale of the 12-acre Domino Sugar factory in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn.
Capital One garnered headlines in August 2013 when it announced plans to acquire Beech Street Capital, the national originator of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA multifamily loans co-founded by Meridian Capital Group’s Ralph Herzka. Bolstered by the $4 billion Beech Street Capital originated in 2012, the merger of the two firms has created one of the top five multifamily loan originators nationwide.
The firm’s real estate debt portfolio surged 17 percent year over year to $20.8 billion in 2013. Deals closed last year included the syndication of a $220 million credit facility for American Realty Capital New York Recovery REIT to facilitate the acquisition of institutional properties in New York and the provision of a $150 million, 10-year loan to the LeFrak Organization to refinance 40 West 57th Street.
Michael Lehrman oversees the real estate business at BGC Partners, the voice and electronic brokerage that stormed into the commercial real estate business with the acquisition of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank in 2011. A clearly busy man, Mr. Lehrman holds executive titles at BGC, NGKF, CCRE, Cantor Fitzgerald and Global Gaming Asset Management, yet another Cantor-affiliated unit.
Howard Lutnick, Cantor Fitzgerald’s chief executive since 1991, is presiding over a burgeoning real estate empire through various ventures at Cantor Fitzgerald, BGC Partners and Cantor Commercial Real Estate.
Launched in 2010, Cantor Commercial Real Estate has quickly become a leader in the world of commercial real estate finance. The Cantor Fitzgerald-affiliated unit specializes in first mortgage loans and has originated $10.5 billion in commercial real estate loans since its founding, with $5.3 million closed in U.S. multi-borrower CMBS in 2013.
What’s more, the firm announced last year that it was expanding into the investment management business. Reports in early 2014 indicate CCRE, led by Anthony Orso, has tapped Deutsche Bank to explore an initial public offering, with investors CIM Group and Cantor Fitzgerald keen to realize their respective investments.
Correction: This article originally misstated that CCRE has originated more than $5 billion in commercial real estate loans since its founding. That number reflects the amount of originations done in 2013.
When we last spoke to Robert Merck in November 2013, he said his team’s loan originations were on track to meet or exceed 2012’s $9.6 billion.
The final results are still up in the air as the New York-based life insurance giant has yet to release its year-end numbers for 2013. Nonetheless, MetLife’s commercial mortgage loan portfolio stood at an impressive $42 billion as of September 2013, making it the No. 1 life insurance lender.
One of the biggest deals the head of the company’s real estate debt and equity businesses oversaw last year was a $500 million loan on 1095 Avenue of the Americas, which houses MetLife’s corporate headquarters. That served as the leading loan of a $1 billion floating-rate mortgage taken by Blackstone.
In 2013, the Macon, Ga., native and his team also closed a $360 million loan to refinance and fund additional upgrades on the Americana at Brand, a large outdoor shopping center in Glendale, Calif.
“The benefit of being an insurance company is that we can own real estate, so we’re not looking to move a loan off our books just because it might have had some problems,” Mr. Merck told Mortgage Observer at the end of last year, his 31st year with MetLife.
As co-chief investment officer, David Schonbraun has taken a more hands-on role from Andrew Mathias, who founded SL Green Realty’s lending business 15 years ago.
The firm has emerged as one of the leading providers of subordinate debt capital to the New York market as well as a one-stop shop for transitional whole loans.
SL Green landed a number of high-profile deals over the past year, including preemptively signing up the entire $925 million Sony Building financing in a highly structured transaction. The bridge financing for the 37-story, 853,000-square-foot building at 550 Madison Avenue closed in March 2013.
In another Manhattan deal, SL Green arranged $160 million of financing for 295 Madison, followed by a successful syndication of the mortgage. Other transactions include a $165 million mezzanine loan for the acquisition of 237 Park Avenue by RXR and Walton Street. Half of that loan was later sold to private equity giant Blackstone.
Overall, SL Green originated $1.7 billion of loans in 2013 and syndicated $1.3 billion of mortgages and subordinate debt. The firm also enjoyed market-leading portfolio returns of 11.6 percent.
Bank of China had a banner year in 2013, highlighted by the $600 million loan the bank provided for the Chetrit Group’s acquisition of the Sony Building. Raymond Qiao’s team isn’t resting on its laurels, however, evidenced by the fact that the bank booked $1 billion of business in just the first month of 2014. Those deals include teaming with Deutsche Bank to finance the sale-leaseback transaction at the Time Warner Center and a $600 million loan to Vornado Realty Trust for the REIT’s acquisition of 220 Central Park South.
Though there is no specific limit on the amount of business the bank can do in 2014, Mr. Qiao estimates it could be between $2 billion and $3 billion, meaning Bank of China has already taken a significant bite out of its yearly target. Going forward, the bank has a number of deals in the pipeline and expects to continue to focus on lending on trophy assets in major gateway cities, primarily in New York and California.
It was a standout year for Andrew Farkas, who runs the versatile financial real estate firm C-III Capital Partners.
The Irving, Texas-based firm, which is an affiliate of Island Capital Group, nearly doubled its invested capital in 2013 to $3.6 billion as it built on recent expansion efforts.
C-III Capital Partners’ national full-service multifamily management company, U.S. Residential Group LLC, increased its portfolio by more than 25 percent on the year, while the firm’s management services area expanded into four new states.
At the same time, C-III Capital Partners’ fully invested Recovery Fund I, its oversubscribed $310 million investment fund specializing in distressed assets.
On the servicing front, C-III Capital ranked near the top of several commercial and multifamily servicing volume surveys from the Mortgage Bankers Association.
Fannie Mae is the 800-pound gorilla in the multifamily space, easily providing more financing than any other player.
In 2013, Fannie Mae shelled out $28.8 billion in financing to the multifamily market, including $23 billion over the final 10 months of the year. As of the end of the third quarter, the unpaid principal balance of Fannie Mae’s multifamily book of business was $202.3 billion.
As head of Fannie Mae’s multifamily mortgage business, Jeffery Hayward is in charge of that enormous portfolio.
Last year alone, Fannie Mae worked with lender partners to finance 507,000 units of multifamily housing, 85 percent of which were affordable to families earning at or below the median income in their area.
Fannie Mae continues to rely almost exclusively on securitization, as about 99 percent of the loans it financed in 2013 were delivered through MBS execution.
As head of multifamily at Freddie Mac, David Brickman wields serious influence in the commercial real estate industry, especially on the CMBS front.
Since the market crash in 2009, Freddie Mac has led the way by issuing $73 billion in multifamily CMBS. The government-owned entity is in the CMBS market almost every day as it has shifted from being a “buy and hold” player to a “buy and securitize” one.
Under Mr. Brickman’s leadership, Freddie Mac’s multifamily business contributed to more than $6 billion in earnings since 2010. The multifamily division also sports an eye-popping portfolio size of $167 billion.
In 2013, Freddie Mac securitized a record $28 billion of multifamily loans through 19 K-Deals, up from $21.2 billion and 17 K-Deals in 2012. K-Deals refer to a unique financing structure that Freddie Mac has employed to securitize mortgages for apartment loans, mostly affordable rental housing.
Mr. Brickman has suggested K-Deals could serve as a template for policymakers who are searching for a way to reform the secondary market while protecting taxpayers from potential losses.
David Durning was handed the keys to Prudential Mortgage Capital Company’s commercial mortgage lending business last year, and he didn’t disappoint.
PMCC provided a record $15.8 billion in financing in 2013, beating its own target of $13 billion and representing a 30 percent increase from 2012.
Mr. Durning, who took over for David Twardock and has been with Prudential since 1988, pointed to his firm’s big push into Japan as well as Europe, where it did a combined $1.2 billion in new loans. The insurance giant also made its first ever loan in the Netherlands last year.
Closer to home, Prudential provided $283.3 million last year to help finance Tysons Corner Center, a 1.9-million-square-foot super regional mall in Tysons Corner, Va.
Looking ahead, Newark, N.J.-based Prudential said it has as much as $14 billion available for financing in 2014 and it continues to search for new opportunities overseas.
As part of Groupe BPCE, the second largest banking group in France, Greg Murphy has helped steer Natixis toward a greater emphasis on a diverse U.S. platform, offering both long-term, fixed-rate loans for commercial mortgage-backed securities and transitional and construction lending.
Natixis originated nearly $2.5 billion in 2013, $1 billion of which was concentrated on the market for CMBS.
It’s most notable deal in 2013 was providing acquisition financing, valued at $248 million, for Aby Rosen’s RFR Realty and Kushner Companies (note: Jared Kushner is the owner of Mortgage Observer) in their purchase of a portfolio of Watchtower properties in Brooklyn’s Dumbo for $375 million. Natixis’ loan provides for future capital costs and lease-up costs.
Last year, the company refinanced 1760 Third Avenue, a Class A property owned by the Chetrit Group, with a permanent loan worth $160 million, $20 million of which was a mezzanine tranche. Other deals included a $55 million CMBS loan on a multifamily property in Mankato, Minn., and a $14 million CMBS loan backed by a Class A office building in McAllen, Texas. And that building’s tenant? The F.B.I.
Specializing in providing stabilized value-add and construction loans of between $20 million and $50 million to developers in the office, retail, industrial and multifamily sectors, the CIT lending portfolio topped out at 55 deals totaling nearly $1.6 billion at the end of 2013. That portfolio includes 11 loans totaling $200 million that the bank acquired from floundering Flagstar Bancorp.
Though the focus of CIT’s lending division has largely been in the northeast, CIT has closed deals throughout the country, including in California, Texas, Florida and Illinois. Since kicking off operations in 2012, the firm’s deals have included a high-profile $50 million loan for Extell Development’s One57 residential building. In 2013, CIT arranged a $35.7 million senior secured loan for New York-based Garrison Investment Group and provided a $33.3 million loan to Spirit Bascom Ventures for the acquisition of a 136-unit multifamily property in South Norwalk, Conn.
Greg Reimers serves as Northeast market manager for J.P. Morgan's real estate banking group, which originated more than $9 billion of new loan commitments in 2013.
Mr. Reimers, who has spent more than 25 years in real estate, works with a client base that includes well-capitalized private real estate companies based between Boston and Washington, D.C. His New York-based team manages a diverse loan portfolio of about $3.7 billion.
Before joining J.P. Morgan in July 2007, Mr. Reimers served as head of Bank of New York's real estate division.
Earlier this month, Ladder Capital issued more than 15 million shares of Class A common stock at $17 per share, with CEO Brian Harris, President Michael Mazzei and CIO Greta Guggenheim ringing the opening bell for the occasion.
It worked. The company raised $259 million in its initial public offering, a welcome development after the company announced that its adjusted net income for the first nine months of 2013 was $178 million, a $32.3 million increase from the same period the previous year.
Its portfolio of real estate-related securities increased in value by $429.5 million during the third quarter of 2013 to $1.3 billion, resulting it the first quarterly increase in Ladder Capital’s securities portfolio since the fourth quarter of 2011, the company announced in its third-quarter report last fall.
Ladder Capital, which specializes in the origination of commercial real estate loans worth between $5 million and $100 million, perhaps inspiring Cantor Commercial Real Estate, an affiliate of Cantor Fitzgerald, to pursue its own I.P.O.
As head of the New York and New Jersey commercial real estate region, Steve Kenny has been at the forefront of a number of noteworthy deals over the past year, including office refinancings, bridge loans and new construction financing.
In addition to meeting clients’ borrowing needs, Mr. Kenny puts an emphasis on building relationships and winning trust by providing savvy advice.
“More than any particular product, real estate companies are seeking advice and counsel from their financial partners, which we are well suited to provide,” Mr. Kenny told Mortgage Observer.
Paul Vanderslice, the managing director of Citibank's CMBS Group who also oversees the origination and securitization and primary distribution process, had himself a good year.
In 2013, Citibank originated $5.6 billion in loans and completed 17 sizable deals, including nine stand-alone deals worth $2.4 billion. The company also originated and distributed $800 million in mezzanine debt.
Mr. Vanderslice is also currently in charge of the Board of Governors Nominating Committee for the Commercial Real Estate Finance Council, in which he once served as president.
With a balance sheet capacity of $2.5 billion and an origination of loans valued at $4.1 billion since its founding in 2011, Jeffries LoanCore has handled itself handsomely. Its first investment vehicle, a distressed fund that invested in 62 assets valued at $2 billion from 2008 to 2012, yielded a healthy 26 percent.
Jeffries LoanCore executed a $500 million collateralized loan obligation as an opportunistic whole loan funding vehicle, and the company has made $6.5 billion in new originations and opportunistic debt investments.
Mr. Finerman, a native of the prestigious Beverly Hills 90210 zip code popularized by the TV series of the same name, predicts that the 2014 market will have more players in the space than loans.
“Private and public equity is ramping up for the massive billion maturities through 2017,” Mr. Finerman said. “There will be a lot of restructuring opportunities since over 30 percent of the loans don't refinance conventionally.”
In the industry for nearly three decades, Steven Stern is currently global head of real estate at Morgan Stanley, which has originated about $20 billion in commercial real estate loans since the middle of 2010.
Mr. Stern, who joined Morgan Stanley 19 years ago, is in charge of a division that last year was No. 4 in overall league table in loans contributed to CMBS and No. 2 in conduit loans contributed to CMBS.
Morgan Stanley originated $8 billion of commercial real estate loans in 2013, up significantly from $5 billion in 2012 and above the firm’s target of $7 billion.
As Chase's head of commercial term lending for the Northeast market, Jason Pendergist oversees an area spanning Boston to Washington, D.C.
Chase CTL, the country's largest apartment lender, provides financing to owners of income-producing commercial properties and apartment buildings with five or more units.
The business generates almost $14 billion in loans per year nationally with a total debt portfolio of around $50 billion. Chase CTL has a current pipeline of almost $3 billion.
Chad Tredway serves as regional sales manager for Chase CTL, leading a team of 27 client managers in the Northeast market.
Now the sixth largest loan contributor to U.S. CMBS deals, the Wayne Potters-led U.S. commercial mortgage group at RBS has ballooned to $4.8 billion in securitized product in 2013, up from $237 million in 2010. The most significant deals closed by the group in 2013 include a $525 million loan for Westfield’s 2.2-million-square-foot Garden State Plaza shopping Center in Paramus, N.J., a $195 million loan for Vornado’s acquisition of retail space at 666 Fifth Avenue and a $295 million loan for the Shops at Mission Viejo in California.
Mr. Potters, whose background includes stints at Fortress Investment Group, Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse and Daiwa, has taken over as head of the bank’s commercial real estate operations from Doug Tiesi, who appeared on last year’s list.
Over the course of three years, Ken Cohen jumped from Lehman Brothers to UBS AG as the firm’s head of commercial real estate finance. Just barely two years into his tenure at UBS, Mr. Cohen relocated again, this time to Bank of America to become its global head of commercial real estate finance.
One could not blame Mr. Cohen for the move, as Bank of America is one of the top lenders in the United States and is seeking to increase its positioning in the market by packaging loans for larger projects like office towers and shopping malls into bonds.
The volume of loans Bank of America oversaw throughout 2013 was valued at $6.2 billion, and with Mr. Cohen’s increased involvement, the company is looking to expand upon his team of nearly 50 people while positioning itself as a bigger player in the securitization space.
Boyd Fellows serves as president of Starwood Property Trust, the affiliate of Starwood Capital that made $4.5 billion of investment loans in 2013, excluding the $860 million acquisition of LNR.
Starwood Property Trust, the largest commercial mortgage real estate investment trust in the U.S., completed the spin-off of single-family REIT Starwood Waypoint Residential Trust, which has a $1.1 billion market cap, in late January 2014.
Mr. Fellows and his team have also helped lead SPT to boost its lending facilities to 11 totaling $2.9 billion, up from 10 totaling $1.8 billion previously.
Loan highlights during 2013 include a $475 million construction loan to Related Companies and its partners to build the South Tower at Hudson Yards, a 270 million pound, or $450 million, first-mortgage and mezzanine loan to refinance London’s Heron Tower and a $250 million preferred equity investment on a 41-property portfolio of single-tenant and industrial buildings sponsored by Griffin Capital Essential Asset REIT.
Starwood Property Trust also sports a current pipeline of signed-up transactions in excess of $1.5 billion.
Since the peak of the financial crisis, HFF’s New York office head Michael Tepedino has grown his team’s annual debt business in the five boroughs from $512 million in 2010 to $2.6 billion in 2013. The office’s combined debt and equity business throughout the country ended last year at $5.1 billion, up from $2 billion in 2010.
One of the many New York-based deals that Mr. Tepedino’s team closed last year was a $100 million loan through Prudential Mortgage Capital Company for Jennifer Tower, a high-rise residential property at 330 East 39th Street.
In April 2012, the Brooklyn-native broker and his former colleague Whitney Wilcox notably closed a $775 million first mortgage from Bank of China to refinance SL Green Realty Corp.’s 1515 Broadway, the largest single-asset loan that HFF’s New York office has ever arranged. That deal was nominated for a Real Estate Board of New York Most Ingenious Deal of the Year Award in March 2013.
When Mr. Tepedino took over as senior managing director and head of HFF’s New York office in 2007, about 25 percent of the office’s brokerage business was based in the city, with the remainder in other major U.S. markets, he told Mortgage Observer just before the New Year. By 2013, the portion of New York-based deals had grown to about 60 percent, he said.
Signature Bank’s veteran real estate lender George Klett continued to grow the bank’s presence last year while overseeing a commercial mortgage loan portfolio valued at nearly $10 billion.
“We probably do financing of more properties, particularly in New York City, than any other lender,” he told Mortgage Observer, emphasizing a similar point he made last year.
Mr. Klett and company originated more than 1,100 loans in 2013 totaling $3.8 billion, up from 769 loans in 2012 totaling $2.7 billion. Among those deals, Signature Bank provided $209 million in financing for a $340 million sale of 86 properties in upper Manhattan in the fourth quarter of 2013. The bank broke that financing up into 49 separate loans.
Over the course of his 40-year career, Mr. Klett has originated an estimated 20,000 loans totaling more than $45 billion for a range of property types. “I’ve lent in every single neighborhood in New York City well before it became fashionable,” Mr. Klett said.
Rob Verrone and his “small, handpicked group of experienced real estate veterans” closed $2.9 billion in restructurings and debt arrangements last year.
The biggest of those deals was $925 million in financing to the Chetrit Group for its $1.1 billion acquisition of the Sony Building at 550 Madison Avenue, which Iron Hound exclusively advised the borrower on. That deal contained a $600 million senior loan originated by Bank of China, $175 million of senior mezzanine debt, which SL Green Realty Corp. originated and sold to a private investment manager, and $150 million of junior mezzanine debt also originated by SL Green.
Another one of Mr. Verrone’s big deals last year was the restructuring and recapitalization of a $300 million securitized loan with LNR for the 6.1-million-square-foot industrial complex Bush Terminal in Brooklyn on behalf of sponsor Ruby Schron.
Iron Hound, which Mr. Verrone founded in 2009, has closed more than $11 billion in restructurings and debt transactions since the company’s inception.
Last year marked the fourth consecutive year Gregg Gerken's commercial real estate division at TD Bank booked at least $2.5 billion of business.
Mr. Gerken, a senior vice president and head of TD's U.S. commercial real estate, ended 2013 with $6 billion of business.
Roy Chin, the New York regional director of commercial real estate, can take credit for continuing to build out TD's New York business by booking $2 billion of those commitments in the New York City area last year.
Josh Zegen, who launched Madison Realty Capital’s debt investment platform with his partner, Brian Shatz, in 2004, has continued to focus his attention on new loan originations for “time-sensitive transactions” and the acquisition of nonperforming loans and loan portfolios.
Mr. Zegen oversaw more than $750 million in real estate transactions in 2013, with more than $500 million in debt investments and more than $250 million in direct equity investments.
Among the firm’s more complicated transactions done in 2013, MRC closed a $50 million loan to recapitalize Victoria Towers, a 150,000-square-foot mixed-use project on Sanford Avenue that was 90 percent complete. The senior lender, Bank of China, was foreclosing, and the mezzanine lender wanted to take control of the asset. At the time, there were $15 million of contractor liens that had been put on the property and needed to be resolved, Mr. Zegen explained.
“I’m seeing a lot of opportunities still for rescue financing and recapitalizations, in terms of lending, and broken construction deals that need money to finish,” he told Mortgage Observer in an October 2013 interview. “And it’s particularly true in the middle market.”
In just five short years, Richard Spengler of Investors Bank has spearheaded a commercial real estate business that has grown its loan portfolio by more than 15-fold.
New Jersey-based Investors Bank closed more than 700 loans last year for a total of $2.3 billion, compared with 450 deals for $1.8 billion in 2012. That brought the lender's portfolio of commercial real estate and multifamily loans to $6 billion, up from just $400 million in 2008.
Mr. Spengler, who joined Investors Bank in 2004, is currently serving as an executive vice president and chief lending officer.
Investors Bank has a pipeline of CRE and multifamily loans valued at more than $900 million. Notable deals include $44 million for student housing for the state of New Jersey and $40 million for the acquisition of Seaview Square Mall in Neptune, N.J. The lender also closed a $127 million commercial mortgage loan package in the South Jersey/Greater Philadelphia market.
Expect Investors Bank to be an even bigger player in New York in the coming months as the lender recently doubled the size of its business lending team there to focus more closely on owner-occupied real estate transactions.
Mr. Lehman was appointed in January 2014 to his newly expanded role after serving as a managing director and co-head of the structured products group trading desk at Goldman Sachs.
In his new role, according to a spokesperson for the bank, he has an expanded focus on the financing side—both residential and commercial. He was hired by Goldman Sachs in 2004.
Ackman-Ziff hit milestones in a number of sectors in 2013. Among the achievements was a 100 percent increase in the firm’s hotel business and more than $1 billion of business closed in California. Closer to home, Ackman-Ziff completed seven deals of more than $100 million in New York City, including a $110 million refinancing of an office tower in the city and a $170 million senior mortgage for a mixed-use property.
Further south, Ackman-Ziff’s six-member Florida unit had a “breakout year” while focusing on land and property sales. Additionally, the firm’s overall investment sales business accelerated and has a significant pipeline heading into 2014.
E.J. Burke finished 2013 on a high note, being named the 2014 Chairman of the Mortgage Bankers Association at the group’s 100th annual convention in October 2013. One of the MBA’s priorities this year will be pressing Congress to enact housing finance reform, and Mr. Burke will spend 2014 meeting with legislators, regulators and other stakeholders.
The appointment rounded off a largely positive year for the KeyBank executive, who, as head of the bank’s real estate capital group, oversaw the origination of $31.2 billion in real estate loans. Commercial mortgage banking origination accounted for $4.2 billion of that number.
For his part, John Manginelli, as the bank’s Northeast regional executive, oversaw roughly $1.5 billion in loans, including those generated in the community banking division.
The head of real estate capital markets at Wells Fargo, Doug Mazer, presided over another year of strong growth in 2013.
Mr. Mazer's New York City-based team booked 2013 real estate capital markets volume of $8 billion, up from $6 billion the year before.
For the second year in a row, the Wells Fargo group was the No. 1 contributor of CMBS loans by loan count last year.
Thanks to a concerted effort to focus on large CMBS loans, Mr. Mazer's team executed seven stand-alone deals in 2013 for $2.4 billion, compared with zero in 2012.
Wells Fargo wrapped up a number of notable large loans, including $310 million for 120 Broadway, $300 million for Bergen Town Center and $350 million for Jersey Gardens.
At the same time, Mr. Mazer's team funded 97 small loan program loans for $360 million, up from 60 loans for $200 million in 2012. That secured Wells Fargo's spot as the market leader for small CMBS loans.
Last week, Jay Sugarman, the CEO and Charman of iStar, announced a drop in its fourth quarter earnings in 2013: $19.1 million, down from $23.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2012. Despite the news, Mr. Sugarman said that iStar was pursuing new deals in real estate finance and net lease segments.
That news aside, iStar has enjoyed an impressive start to 2014.
iStar closed on its 50 percent interest in an $815 million debt financing commitment for the development of Ian Schraeger's 40-story EDITION Hotel, including retail space and signage, located in the heart of Times Square.The EDITION Hotel set to open in 2017.
iStar also announced its new partnership with a sovereign wealth fund for a $500 million venture, which will be focused on acquiring and developing up to $1.25 billion of net lease assets over time. iStar has a 52 percent stake in this new venture.
This venture's first investment is a 410,000 square foot office and data campus in the Washington, D.C area, valued at $94 million. This property is net leased to telecommunications giant AT&T through 2025.
Since founding Pembrook Capital Management in 2006, Stuart Boesky has seen the firm’s debt portfolio grow to more than $650 million. In 2013 alone, Pembrook closed $100 million in business across more than 10 deals. In total, the firm reviewed approximately $2 billion in real estate deals last year.
Last year’s deals included a $20 million bridge loan for the refinancing of Clarendon Gardens, a 224-unit apartment complex in Brooklyn. The firm also closed a $7.5 million preferred equity transaction for the construction of Lincoln Park, a 133-unit Brooklyn multifamily development. Earlier, Pembrook closed $27 in new financing for a number of apartment assets in New York. The firm provided a $15.5 million bridge loan for the acquisition and renovation of 148 Duane Street in Tribeca and mezzanine loans for residential projects in the East Village and the Bronx.
Under Scott Weiner’s command, Apollo Global Management, LLC, last year invested in more than $2.5 billion of commercial real estate debt on behalf of managed accounts and Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance, Inc., the publicly traded commercial mortgage REIT managed by the private equity firm.
Mr. Weiner and his team at Apollo, which invests in CMBS and originates first-mortgage loans, have developed a reputation as one of the leading New York-based investors in commercial real estate mezzanine loans. Apollo provided more than $700 million of mezzanine financing for transactions throughout the city in 2013.
As for the firm’s larger transactions in the past 12 months, Mr. Weiner and company provided $240 million in first-mortgage financing to HFZ Capital Group for a portfolio of Westbrook Capital properties in Manhattan being converted to condos, a 200 million pound, or $326 million, mezzanine loan for the refinancing of Blackstone's Chiswick Park in London and a $60 million mezzanine loan for the construction of Alexico Group’s 60-story condominium tower being built at 56 Leonard Street.
Christopher Coiley, a 24-year veteran of Valley National Bank, serves as division head of the lender's New York commercial real estate lending group, which covers New York City and Long Island. After making $450 million in loans in 2012, his group closed more than $750 million in new business last year.
"Valley has gained a foothold in the New York commercial real estate marketplace during the past few years. A commitment to the marketplace along and the good old-fashioned hustle has helped this group grow and ultimately assist in the bank's overall success," Mr. Coiley told Mortgage Observer.
Mr. Coiley said his bankers will look to take advantage of the refinance market that 2014 should bring and continue to take a diversified approach by offering a wide range of product types.
As head of Valley National's commercial real estate department, Russell Murawski is currently responsible for more than $3 billion of loans outstanding.
Valley National Bank closed commercial real estate loans totaling $1.45 billion in 2013, including $710 million from the lender's offices in New Jersey. Mr. Murawski is also currently a member of Valley National's senior lending group, as well as the credit committees of New Jersey and Long Island.
Grace Huebscher had a busy 2013 driven in part by a huge transition for her and her team following Capital One’s November acquisition of Beech Street Capital.
The Bethesda, Md.-based multifamily mortgage company, which holds a total portfolio volume of more than $11 billion, lent $4.4 billion in 2013. For the year, Beech Street ranked No. 4 on Fannie Mae’s annual list of top multifamily loan originators, No. 1 as the producer for manufactured housing communities and No. 6 on Freddie Mac’s list of top sellers nationwide, despite the 10 percent mandated reduction in agency loan volume.
As for multiple transactions in the past 12 months, Ms. Huebscher’s team closed $94.4 million in Freddie Mac loans to refinance a 12-property portfolio totaling 488 units in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Lower East Side and East and West Village.
“The constant that drove our success with Fannie, Freddie and FHA this year, as it has in the past, is the value we place on relationships,” Ms. Huebscher told Mortgage Observer. “We look for opportunities to build bridges to the agencies. And with every transaction, we find ways to exceed the expectations of our borrowers.”
Ms. Huebscher, who co-founded Beech Street in 2009, noted that she expects to grow those relationships even further as a Capital One company. “We can now make other forms of financing available to our customers that complement our agency expertise,” she said. “We’re very excited about what we have to offer.”
Originating more than $1 billion in less than a year of work, Sam Giarrusso wasted little time in getting BankUnited’s New York City commercial real estate business up and running.
Mr. Giarrusso, a 25-year veteran of M&T Bank, was lured out of retirement last year by BankUnited CEO John Kanas to capitalize on the soaring New York City real estate market.
His division didn’t close its first loan of last year until April. That $4.3 million deal teed off a year that featured 142 loans and total origination of $1.13 billion. Mr. Giarrusso’s biggest transaction was a $65 million loan on a retail office building in North Michigan.
As of Feb. 11, BankUnited already had a pipeline of deals valued north of $152 million.
Thomas Hyland manages the firm’s New York market, operations where net new commitments to metropolitan real estate companies totaled $2.5 billion in 2013. Among the bank’s marquee deals was a $288 million construction loan to an affiliate of Time Equities for the development of 50 West Street. PNC also providing the letter of credit under the New York State Housing Agency 80/20 Program for Carlisle Developments’ 80/20 residential project at 160 Madison Avenue.
Walker & Dunlop’s competitive CEO and chairman, Willy Walker, has faced a few noteworthy challenges in the past 12 months, from agency reductions to an increasingly crowded lending market, but has not let those challenges offset his plans.
In 2013, Walker & Dunlop ranked the No. 1 Fannie Mae DUS lender for the second year in a row, the No. 4 DUS provider for affordable housing and the No. 3 Freddie Mac Program Plus seller/servicer, according to agency rankings. Walker & Dunlop’s total origination volume for the year was $8.4 billion, up 18 percent from 2012’s $7.1 billion.
Among its nearly 700 deals closed in 2013, the Bethesda, Md.-based commercial finance company provided a $90 million loan to Korman Communities for Country Lights, a garden-style multifamily property in Bucks County, Pa. The loan was structured under Freddie Mac’s Capital Markets Execution program with a 10-year term, and Walker & Dunlop was able to close the transaction within 35 days.
Under Mr. Walker’s leadership, the company this month officially launched its specialty finance joint venture with Fortress Investment Group, Walker & Dunlop Commercial Property Funding, LLC.
“In the long term, what drives our business and what makes people want to join this platform is our scale, our access to capital and the relationships that we have,” Mr. Walker told Mortgage Observer in an October 2013 interview.
UBS lured Christopher LaBianca away from real estate lender and operator RCG Longview in May 2013.
Mr. LaBianca, who also previously served as co-head of Bank of America's CMBS capital markets group, is in charge of a UBS team that has a current pipeline of $1 billion. UBS also has $3.5 billion of space on its balance sheet for real estate debt.
Since March 2012, UBS has done about $7 billion in commercial real estate financing.
But UBS has seen a number of key departures in recent years, including former CMBS chief Kenneth Cohen (see No. 27) who left last year for Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
After a successful 2012 in which the firm snapped up Hendricks & Partners, a multifamily sales and investment firm based in Phoenix, thereby transforming the two companies into one of the top five apartment sales advisers in the country, trying to top the previous year in 2013 was going to be a difficult task.
Berkadia, partially owned by Berkshire Hathaway Inc., has managed to earn back most of the $217 million invested by Berkshire CEO Warren Buffett to buy half of the company in 2009.
In May, CEO Hugh Frater told Bloomberg News that Berkadia, the third largest U.S. commercial and multifamily mortgage servicer, was looking to move past apartments and expand upon its financing of retail properties, offices and hotels.
Yet the company finished the year with a handful of deals for multifamily properties, including an arrangement of $85 million in financing for two multifamily properties in San Francisco and Portland.
Leading a team of bankers out of new offices on the east side of Manhattan, John Costa continues to grow People's United Bank's commercial real estate presence.
Mr. Costa, who heads the bank's commercial real estate finance business in the New York metro area, joined People's United Bank in July 2012 after a decade with Banco Santander.
"Our relationship-centered approach has been well received in the market, and we continue to build on our momentum," Mr. Costa told Mortgage Observer.
He moved quickly to consolidate commercial real estate lending into a new office on Third Avenue and establish a dedicated unit to originate multifamily loans that now employs almost 50 professionals and manages more than $3 billion in loans.
"He is an accomplished banking professional, and we are fortunate to have the benefit of his many years of experience in the New York commercial real estate market," People's United Bank President and CEO Jack Barnes told Mortgage Observer.
One billion dollars. That was the amount in offered transactions—a mixture of fixed-rate and adjustable-rate seasoned prime, Alt-A and subprime loan portfolios—that the residential trading group of Mission Capital Advisors surpassed in 2013. That’s a good way to close out the year.
Then the company started 2014 by announcing that its debt and equity finance group arranged $13 million in preferred equity financing on a shopping center in Westchester County, N.Y.
William David Tobin, the baby-faced principal of Mission Capital Advisors, oversaw a firm that did more than $4 billion in transactions in 2013. Mission Capital largely attributes this boost in activity by the firm’s expansion of its debt & equity finance group in the West Coast. Then there was the increase in volume of offered transactions by its residential trading group, not to mention the healthy growth of its mortgage services business.
It advised First BanCorp in its sale of nonperforming residential mortgages, worth an estimated $237 million, and arranged $128.5 million in financing for a luxury condo project in South Florida.
All told, 2013 was Mission Capital’s best revenue year.