Joseph Iacono’s Crescit Capital Strategies Opens Offices in NY and LA

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A jam-packed market for commercial real estate finance in the U.S., where traditional lenders have jockeyed for position with increasingly competitive private-equity and life insurers, stands to get a bit more crowded.

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Joseph Iacono, the former chief investment officer of Petra Real Estate Opportunity Trust, announced Friday that his new financing platform, Crescit Capital Strategies, is ready to hang out its shingle. The firm calls itself as a “one-stop solution” for real estate financing up and down the capital stack.

Crescit, working out of offices in Midtown Manhattan and Newport Beach, Calif., proclaimed that it’s ready to lean into areas of the commercial property lending space whence old-fashioned banks have withdrawn.

Crescit’s services “are designed to meet the needs created by the retrenchment of traditional financing sources in the commercial real estate debt market, while also prudently traversing cyclical market changes,” the company said in a statement. “Crescit offers the entire spectrum of commercial real estate debt products, including construction transitional and term financing across all property types.”

A spokesman for the company declined to identify the sources of the lending platform’s funding.

The roster of four executives that the nascent lender unveiled this week is speckled with familiar faces, but its founder’s recent doings have been quiet. Petra, Iacono’s former company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2010 after the majority of the portfolio a $1 billion CDO it issued, Petra CRE CDO 2007-1, defaulted during the financial crisis, leaving the real estate investment trust with liabilities of nearly $500 million, according to a Reuters report.

“Petra determined at the time that the option that would most benefit the firm’s stakeholders was to restructure via a Chapter 11 reorganization process,” a spokesperson for Crescit said in an email. “That process was successful and expeditiously completed, with the firm emerging as a viable, operating and profitable entity.”

The REIT has had little public presence since the restructuing, but Iacono’s profile on LinkedIn states that he worked for the same commercial real estate-focused alternative asset manager (unnamed on LinkedIn) from 2005 through April, 2017, when Crescit was founded.

A spokesman for Iacono said he was not available for comment this week, but a source familiar with Crescit’s executives confirmed that Petra employed Iacono until 2017.

Others announced for the new lender’s leadership team include COO Edmund Taylor, an ex-Credit Suisse executive who served on the bank’s global-markets management committee, and Kim Diamond, a former Standard & Poor’s managing director who was central in growing Kroll Bond Rating Agencys commercial mortgage-backed securities practice. Diamond will be in charge of structuring and credit for Crescit.