Brokers and Lenders on the Rise


What is an industry without a promising crop of rising stars? While commercial real estate finance is often cast as a rigid establishment of older gentlemen, a number of dynamic young lenders and brokers are making their names known across the East Coast—and giving their more senior counterparts a run for their money.

This year’s list was culled from dozens of nominations of professionals at work in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions, including New York, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Boston. Some of the candidates were nominated by their own companies while others were nominated by established lenders, brokers and borrowers who pointed us to hardworking young professionals at other firms. We suggest you keep an eye on these 25 deal makers under 35 years of age.

Ari Adlerstein and Ari Dobkin, Managing Directors at Meridian Capital Group (30 and 30) 

This duo formed the health care team and senior housing team at Meridian when they joined the firm in 2011. They have closed deals on many independent living, assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing facilities in the years since. They secured a $73.1 million mortgage for a 647-bed skilled nursing facility portfolio with properties in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. They have worked with private lenders as well as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and have closed bridge financing, mezzanine financing and acquisition loans. They also recently closed a $65 million mortgage to refinance an 871,600-square-foot industrial property in Suffern, N.Y. Mr. Dobkin holds a master’s degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Adlerstein, who is also the director of Kids of Courage, a charity supporting sick children and their families, holds a law degree from Yeshiva University.

Jonathan Aghravi, Senior Director at Eastern Consolidated (30)

Mr. Aghravi heads the capital advisory division at Eastern Consolidated, a brokerage better known for its investment sales business. Eastern launched the capital advisory group in January and Mr. Aghravi has hired three brokers since. He has closed on over $500 million worth of commercial property throughout the U.S. in the past three years, according to a statement from his firm. In the past six months, he placed an $18 million bridge loan for a multi-lot development assemblage at Rockefeller Center, and closed a $65 million securitized loan for the purchase of an office tower on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles. Before coming to Eastern, Mr. Aghravi was an underwriter at Freddie Mac and a principal at Hybrid Capital. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Colgate University and is a member of the Real Estate Board of New York.

Scott Aiese, Director at Massey Knakal Capital Services (31)

Mr. Aiese closed more than $120 million in financing deals in the first half of 2014, according to Massey Knakal. Those include securing $80 million in financing for a Times Square hotel, and arranging an acquisition loan for 144 residential units in The Corinthian, a Madison Avenue rental building. Prior to joining Massey Knakal, Mr. Aiese was a vice president of commercial real estate banking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Boston University.

Aaron Appel, Managing Director at JLL (33) 

Mr. Appel is a recent addition to JLL, joining from Meridian Capital Group in April. But he has quickly acclimated to the firm—he is expected to close more than $2 billion in transactions in 2014, and closed $1.5 billion in 2013, according to figures from JLL. Some of his more high-profile deals this year include a $390 million construction facility for a to-be-built 777-unit rental development at 626 First Avenue for a J.V. between JDS Development Group and the Baupost Group. He also closed a $270 million construction facility for a two-building portfolio that will be converted to residential condominiums for Ben Shaoul’s Magnum Real Estate Group. Mr. Appel graduated from Baruch College in 2004.

Morris Betesh, Director at Massey Knakal Capital Services (26)

Mr. Betesh joined Massey Knakal’s capital services division as a director in 2011 and was promptly named 2012’s Rookie of the Year at the firm. In 2012 and 2013, Mr. Betesh was named Agent of the Year for the capital services team. He has has completed over 70 loans with an aggregate loan amount in excess of $500 million, according to his office. In 2014, he has arranged a $26.6 million loan collateralized by eight mixed-use properties in Manhattan’s Midtown and Upper East Side areas. He also arranged a $69.5 million loan collateralized by nine hotel properties located in NYC, Rockland County, and New Jersey this summer. Mr. Betesh earned a bachelor of science in business management and finance from Brooklyn College in 2008, where he was also a presidential scholar.

Matthew Downs, Senior Regional Manager at Ullico (34) 

Mr. Downs, who joined Ullico in June 2013, is responsible for the firm’s mortgage loan originations throughout the Northeast region. He launched Ullico’s New York City office, and has structured more than $600 million worth of construction and permanent loans for Northeast properties in his time there, according to a representative for Ullico. His notable recent deals include helping RFR Realty arrange an acquisition loan for the retail at 670 Avenue of the Americas and 150 East 72nd Street, which the firm purchased this year for $28.5 million together. Before coming to Ullico, Mr. Downs held origination positions at M&T Bank’s commercial real estate group and the real estate finance division at Bank of Scotland. He is in his second term as president of the New York chapter of the Real Estate Lenders Association. Mr. Downs holds a bachelor’s degree from Mount St. Mary’s University in Maryland.

Isaac Filler, Vice President at Meridian Capital Group (28)

Mr. Filler joined Meridian in 2005 and has brokered more than $560 in mortgages since the beginning of 2013, according to a statement from his firm. Recent successes include a $70 million refinance of three retail and office properties in Soho; a $47.5 million loan for the purchase and refinance of a nine-property portfolio that stretches across Manhattan, Yonkers and Mount Vernon, N.Y.; and a $20 million loan for the refinance flex industrial property in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn. Mr. Filler joined Meridian directly out of high school and holds no formal degree.

Russell Frahm, Vice President of Originations at Mesa West Capital (31)

Since joining Mesa West four years ago, Mr. Frahm has closed on $1.2 billion in first mortgage debt on a variety of transitional and value-add properties all over the East Coast, according to a statement from the firm. Mr. Frahm joined Mesa West Capital from Cushman & Wakefield Sonnenblick Goldman in September 2010. He began his career in real estate finance as an acquisitions analyst at Redbrick Partners, a private equity fund focused on multifamily buys and condo conversions. Recently, he closed a $145 million first mortgage to recapitalize a 420,000-square-foot office property for Savanna, one of five deals he closed with Savanna, totaling $370 million. Mr. Frahm earned his bachelor of science in real estate finance and entrepreneurial studies from the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business. He also holds a master’s in real estate development from New York University’s Schack Real Estate Institute.

Jason Gaccione, Senior Vice President at CBRE (35)

This year has been an exceptional one for Mr. Gaccione, a senior vice president in CBRE’s capital markets’ debt & structured finance team. Recently, he facilitated a $56 million refinancing of One East Broward Boulevard, a 343,551-square-foot, Class-A office building in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Ivy Realty’s behalf. He also was involved in arranging a 10-year loan on behalf of Invesco Real Estate for the acquisition of 1370 Broadway, a 16-story, 280,000-square-foot office tower in Midtown. Mr. Gaccione also recently secured a $20.5 million first-mortgage loan for the refinance of Madison Park, a 486,000-square-foot, seven-building office portfolio in Winston-Salem, N.C. During his 11 years in commercial real estate, he has placed more than $4 billion in commercial financings, according to his firm. Mr. Gaccione holds a bachelor of science degree from Cornell University, and earned his Master of Science in real estate finance from New York University in 2002.

Michael Gigliotti, Managing Director at HFF (32)

Mr. Gigliotti started at HFF as a real estate analyst in 2006 before moving on to a producer role in 2012. He has arranged over $3 billion in commercial property investments, including more than $1 billion in construction financing, according to the company. Mr. Gigliotti oversees a pipeline of more than $1.4 billion in deals, according to a statement from his firm. He has completed a $235 million construction loan for Flushing Commons, the mixed-use conversion of a former municipal parking lot in Queens. He also closed $371.7 in construction financing for a 655-unit residential complex in the Rincon Hill neighborhood of San Francisco, at 201 Folsom Street. Mr. Gigliotti holds a bachelor's degree in music from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Christopher Herron, Managing Director at Iron Hound Management Company (35)

Mr. Herron manages Iron Hound’s restructuring advisory and debt and equity services; he joined the firm at its inception in 2009. The former eight-year veteran of Wachovia’s real estate group now oversees more than $2.6 billion in restructuring assignments and over $1.5 billion in debt and equity assignments, according to Iron Hound officials. Mr. Herron closed debt-refinancing transactions for the Denihan Hospitality Group, recently completing a $45 million deal on the Surrey Hotel on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and a $46.5 million transaction at the firm’s James Hotel on the Magnificent Mile in downtown Chicago. He also recently arranged a $105 million A/B note restructuring at Fortis Property Group’s NEC America Corporate Center in Irving, Texas. Mr. Herron is a graduate of Bucknell University.

Kamyar (Abraham) Kaidanian, Second Vice President and Commercial Loan Officer at New York Community Bank (34)

Mr. Kaidanian, who goes by his American name, Abe, is responsible for developing new relationships, closing deals and overseeing existing loan portfolios for New York Community Bank. Within the past 12 months, he has closed $867.7 million in loans in 131 deals with an average loan size of $6.6 million, according to a spokesperson for the bank. Those include a $107 million loan for Williamsburg rental project 101 Bedford Avenue and a $32 million loan for 769 St. Mark’s Avenue, a Crown Heights, Brooklyn rental building. Mr. Kaidanian, who got started in the industry in 2003, has closed several billion dollars of debt since he joined NYCB in May 2007. Mr. Kaidanian holds a Master of Business Administration in accounting from Hofstra University and a bachelor’s degree from SUNY Stony Brook.

Ayush Kapahi, Partner at HKS Capital Partners (31)

Mr. Kapahi co-founded HKS with his partners Jerry Swartz and John Harrington in 2011. The firm has since closed over $9.5 billion in loans for new developments, asset acquisitions and refinancings, company officials said. From the summer of 2013 to the start of October 2014, Mr. Kapahi arranged $1.75 billion in loans, with more than $450 million in the last three months alone. Last February, he brokered a $120 million loan from Goldman Sachs for Simon Baron Development’s 13-story residential conversion at 12 East 88th Street on the Upper East Side. And in early October, the executive arranged $15 million in construction financing for 118-unit residential project as well as $5.5 million in permanent financing for a 31-unit project—both in the Bronx. Mr. Kapahi holds a bachelor's degree in economics from Skidmore College.

Paul Kesicki, Vice President of Commercial Real Estate Banking at Capital One (31)

Mr. Kesicki oversees a Greater New York loan portfolio of more than $1.2 billion and a deposit portfolio of more than $550 million for Capital One, according to the firm. In fall 2013, he closed an $80 million financing for Taconic Investment Partners development of 71 Laight Street in Tribeca, and he has worked with other high-profile sponsors such as TF Cornerstone, the Carlyle Group and the Dermot Companies. Mr. Kesicki started his career as an analyst in the commercial real estate lending group at North Fork Bank, followed by a brief stint as a consultant in Citigroup’s CMBS division. He came over to Capital One as an underwriter in 2008 and joined the company’s relationship management team in 2010. Mr. Kesicki holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Miami.

Michelle Liu, Director at CIT Real Estate Finance (31)

Michelle Liu is in charge of origination and underwriting at CIT Real Estate Finance. She joined the group in August 2012. She closes about 30 percent of originations at the company, according to a statement from CIT. Earlier this fall, CIT was the sole arranger and lead lender for a $140 million construction loan to a partnership of Kushner Companies and KABR Group for their development of a 50-story rental apartment building in Jersey City. Ms. Liu was the senior underwriter for this transaction. [Jared Kushner, chief executive at Kushner Companies, is the owner of Observer Media Group, which publishes Mortgage Observer.] Before joining the firm, she worked at Emigrant Realty Finance, Capital Trust and Citigroup. Ms. Liu is on the Educational Panels Committee of the New York Real Estate Lenders Association and holds a bachelor’s degree from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.

Christopher Marks, Associate Director at Marcus & Millichap Capital Corporation (33)

Mr. Marks joined MMCC in 2010, and has, to date, financed more than 400 commercial real estate transactions in the U.S. In the last 12 months, Mr. Marks has closed $154 million in loans, according to his firm. In the past year, Mr. Marks secured a $16.5 million loan for multifamily property 521 West 48th Street, and a $14.7 million loan for 626 10th Avenue, also a multifamily building. Prior to joining MMCC, Mr. Marks served as a senior loan officer with Velocity Commercial Capital and as a loan analyst at Capital One Financial. He holds no formal degree.

Christopher Moyer, Director at Cushman & Wakefield (28)

Mr. Moyer joined C&W’s equity, debt and structured financing team in 2006 and has collaborated on teams that have closed debt, equity and loan sales transactions worth over $4 billion, according to C&W. The New York University Stern School of Business grad has guest lectured at his alma mater and manages the company’s capital markets update, an email newsletter that more than 15,000 real estate pros receive each week. Mr. Moyer currently has a $365 million leased fee sale under contract for SL Green Realty Corp., at 2 Herald Square in Midtown Manhattan, and recently brokered $127.5 million in preferred equity from hedge fund Elliot Management to help finance the construction of a long-delayed residential condo at 50 West Street in Lower Manhattan for Time Equities.

Jordan Roeschlaub, Senior Managing Director at Newmark Grubb Knight Frank Capital Markets (31)

Mr. Roeschlaub joined NGKF Capital Markets in September 2014 to lead the New York and Tri-State debt and structured finance group. The NGKF broker, who joined the firm from Chesterfield Faring, has more than 10 years of experience in commercial real estate finance and has executed more than $2.75 billion in capital markets transactions in his career. Mr. Roeschlaub recently closed a $62 million land loan for Siras Development and Kaufu Properties secured by a development site in Hudson Yards. He is currently working on $775 million of debt placement assignments. In New York, those include two luxury condo construction projects in Manhattan and a large mixed-use tower in Hudson Yards, totaling more than $550 million. Mr. Roeschlaub holds a bachelor’s degree from the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio. He also attended the London School of Economics.

Mike Cleaver and Jeff Seidler, Directors at Emerald Creek Capital (31 and 32)

Messrs. Seidler and Cleaver have been with the private equity firm since the firm was formed in 2009 and are responsible for managing Emerald Creek’s underwriting and origination.  Together throughout their careers, the two have executed more than 200 short-term bridge loans—their specialty—throughout the country. Their projected volume for 2014 exceeds $200 million, according to a statement from the firm. Recently, they closed a $23 million acquisition loan for the acquisition of 50 Clinton Street in the Lower East Side, where a 37-unit luxury rental building will rise. Mr. Seidler received his undergraduate degree from James Madison University’s College of Business and a graduate degree from New York University’s Schack Institute of Real Estate. Mr. Cleaver holds a bachelor’s degree in international business from Rollins College.

Shaya Sonnenschein, Senior Managing Director at Eastern Union Funding (35)

Mr. Sonnenschein has worked at Eastern Union on and off for his 10 years in real estate—but mostly on. Previously an underwriter with Eastern Union, the last deal he underwrote was a $26 million refinancing of Bonjour Capital’s freshly-renovated 333 Greene Avenue in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, a luxury rental in keeping with the neighborhood’s new image. Mr. Sonnenschein also runs Eastern Union founder Ira Zlotowitz’s debt finance team.  The team has an open pipeline of $282 million, according to a representative for Eastern Union. Deals scheduled to close soon include a $42.5 million acquisition loan for the in-contract purchase of a multifamily property in Illinois and $14.3 million for a shopping center purchase in Tampa, Fla. Mr. Sonnenschein holds no formal degree.

Daniel Tanner, Assistant Vice President of Originations at Mesa West Capital (29)

Since joining the firm in April 2011, Mr. Tanner has closed on $725 million of first mortgage debt, according to a Mesa West spokesperson. Prior to Mesa West, he was an asset manager in the New York office of Torchlight Investors in the Special Servicing department. In that role, he oversaw a portfolio of more than 20 properties with a principal balance in excess of $500 million. Recently, he closed a $119 million first mortgage for Normandy Real Estate Partners’ recapitalization of a 1.4 million-square-foot office portfolio in Westchester County, N.Y., and a $123 million first mortgage for AEW Capital Management’s acquisition of a 380,000-square-foot office building in Arlington, Va. Mr. Tanner holds a bachelor's degree in economics from Harvard University.

Chad Tredway, Managing Director at Chase Commercial Term Lending (31)

Mr. Tredway, who took over as managing director and head of Chase Commercial Term Lending East in April, has helped grow the division’s pipeline to more than $1 billion in the past year, which industry sources equate to annual total origination of $3 billion to $4 billion. Mr. Tredway joined J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. from UBS Investment Bank in August 2008. He started at the bank as an associate in corporate finance and joined the CTL business as a vice president in October 2009. His first two roles in the group included working through distressed multifamily debt in South Florida and helping oversee Chase CTL’s largest market—Southern California—while managing 17 salespeople. Mr. Tredway was promoted to head of CTL East from head of Northeast sales and now oversees 130 employees in the bank’s multifamily lending business throughout New York, Boston and Washington, D.C. He holds a bachelor’s degree in finance and accounting from Loyola University Chicago.

See our profile on Mr. Tredway here.

Marc Tropp, Senior Managing Director at Eastern Union Funding (33)

Mr. Tropp spent the summer creatively lining up financing for projects in the Mid-Atlantic region, including a $21.5 million loan for retail specialist Carl Verstandig’s $27 million purchase of the Iverson Mall in suburban Washington, D.C. Other noteworthy transactions in recent months include a loan covering 80 percent of the borrower’s investment for the purchase and planned renovation of an iconic Baltimore hotel, the Mount Vernon Hotel, where he sourced EB-5 funding on short notice — no small feat — to seal the deal. Mr. Tropp received a Bachelor of Science degree from Yeshiva University.

Joshua West, Vice President at Walker & Dunlop (34)

Mr. West, who manages all new loan originations in Walker & Dunlop’s New York City office, is tasked with expanding the company’s New York platform. He joined the Bethesda, Md.-based lender for a second time in January, after spending five years with various real estate investment firms, including Los Angeles-based CIM Group, where he oversaw everything from nightclub acquisitions to high-rise joint-venture developments in Mexico. Mr. West previously worked as a real estate analyst at Walker & Dunlop from June 2003 to August 2005. Since joining the New York office at the beginning of the year, he has closed more $150 million in loans and has added company members in Boston, Atlanta and Los Angeles to his origination team. Mr. West holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Middlebury College and is a member of the Real Estate Board of New York.

Jared Yavers, Executive Director at Rialto Mortgage Finance (31)

Mr. Yavers, a graduate of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, recently closed a pair of loan transactions for Olshan Properties, nabbing $60 million for a shopping center in Manhasset, Long Island, that features a Gap, Banana Republic and Crate & Barrel and $35 million for a retail condominium on Third Avenue between East 60th and East 61st Streets on the Upper East Side. Mr. Yavers also arranged a $62.5 million loan for Schottenstein Property to finance a shopping center in the Clinton, Md., suburb of Washington, D.C., that includes a Walmart, Lowe’s and Safeway.