CO’s 25 Under 35: The Top Young Debt and Equity Professionals of 2018
From street-smart, hard-hustling debt brokers to canny developers and cerebral financiers, there’s no archetype for how to make your name in real estate finance—and this year’s crop of the most exciting young finance professionals we’ve met does nothing to dispute the point. Now, when time and experience have yet to fully mold these honorees into the wizened leaders they promise to become, the dynamic differences in their backgrounds shine through. On the slides to follow, a former Naval Academy midshipman rubs shoulders with a rock band’s lead singer, and heirs to real estate families do-si-do with others who joined the dance on a lucky whim. It takes all sorts.
Still, common denominators render the talent and ambition of this year’s pool assuredly recognizable. They share the dedication to work all hours, and the warmth to charm their colleagues and their competitors alike. Moreover, the minds and Outlook accounts of each house growing catalogues of proud successes and informative failures.
In the end, what’s most promising about our honorees are track records that indicate already a penchant for earning the relationships and recognition that underlie solid footing in what can be an intensely personal pursuit. After all, the debt business consists of nothing other than fostering an abiding, high-wire sort of trust and accountability, sufficiently powerful to win funds enough to build towers out of the earth. In that regard, the accomplishments of the top young professionals selected for our list this year have accrued, indisputably, to their credit.—Cathy Cunningham, Mack Burke and Matt Grossman
Andrew Cohen, 32
Director, Wells Fargo Multifamily Capital
With a father and brother in the business, perhaps a career in real estate was always in the stars for Connecticut native Andrew Cohen. For the past seven years, Cohen has specialized in government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) financings for Wells Fargo, originating debt in addition to maintaining the investment bank’s relationships with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration.
Over the past year Cohen has been the sole originator of $225 million in debt (with a whopping $1.3 billion in deals closed over the duration of his career). Those deals include the refinancing of a portfolio of six properties on behalf of Connecticut Realty & Trust, and the arranging of a balance sheet facility for Waypoint Residential in connection with a portfolio acquisition of four properties in Nevada, Texas and North Carolina. Cohen worked with Waypoint to close the loan quickly so the borrower could acquire the properties in the time frame required by purchase contracts and invest the time needed to source a value-optimizing, long-term financing structure through Freddie Mac.
Within the multifamily financing space, Cohen’s transactions run the gamut from large deals in New York City to small manufactured housing financings in Reno, Nev.
“Every day you’re working with somebody new, and I enjoy getting to know people,” Cohen said. “And, I’ve always been good with numbers. We have the initial numbers, and we know where the client needs to be, and it’s our job to massage the numbers to get there. There’s a perfect science to it.”
Like everyone else, Cohen has felt the heat of an increasingly competitive lending environment, but he has a robust pipeline of deals to close before year end, and there’s no sign of him slowing any time soon. “It’s been a great run and we hope it continues,” he said.
As for advice he’d give anyone entering the industry today? “Always see the big picture,” Cohen said. “Even if you didn’t close the deal it doesn’t mean you didn’t build the foundation to do better next time. And, do the right thing. Do things with integrity and the right way, and in the long-term it will pay off.”—C.C.
Michael Corridan, 29
Vice President, Citigroup
When you work for the lending giant that weighed in at No. 7 on Commercial Observer’s Power 50 list, chances are you’re going to be pretty active.
Michael Corridan joined Citi seven years ago and has racked up a whopping $2 billion in transactions since then. Primarily responsible for CMBS conduit originations, his experience spans all asset classes nationwide—on both stabilized and transitional properties—from origination through securitization for both fixed and floating-rate programs.
The team has closed its fair share of balance sheet transactions too, including a $30 million loan for Kawa Capital Management’s acquisition of grain trader Gavilon’s world headquarters at 1331 Capitol Avenue in Omaha, Neb. in August.
Corridan majored in finance and international business at NYU Stern School of Business, complementing his degree with courses in architecture, city planning and real estate development. To fully immerse himself in the industry, he’d attend industry events and conferences, something he’d recommend to anyone starting out, he said.
He began at Citi as an intern just before he graduated, and hasn’t looked back since. “The industry exposure I’ve had and the team I work with at Citi are unparalleled,” Corridan said. “This is a relatively flat organization and Marcus [Giancaterino], Joe [Dyckman], David [Bouton] have given me a fantastic opportunity to experience high transaction volume through a variety of deals, and to interact with different players in the industry.”—C.C.
Ross Cumming, 30
Ross Cumming’s roots lie across the pond (his mother is Irish, his father Scottish, and he was born in London), but his career kicked off in a much sunnier Orange County, Calif.
After attending the United States Naval Academy, Cumming went to the University of Southern California to study real estate. He was “decent” at football, he modestly recounts, so received a scholarship and continued on with the team as an assistant defensive line coach after graduation.
When it was time for him to apply his degree, he moved to New York and began interviewing “up and down Wall Street” at brokerages and banks. But when he interviewed with Simon Ziff, he looked no further. “I had an incredible interview with Simon—I’ll never forget it,” Cumming said. “He was taking a risk. I had no real estate experience, but he dove into my leadership characteristics and thought I’d be a great fit here. It’s been a truly amazing run so far.”
In his current role, Cumming taps into the strong work ethic instilled in him at the Naval Academy and in his coaching role, working relentlessly at the brokerage until the job is done. And it shows: He’s been part of a team that’s closed $1.4 billion in deals since he joined in 2015.
And his coaching skills have also found a home within Ackman-Ziff’s mentorship program, where he teaches analysts and associates underwriting principles and practices.
“We’re providing a value-add service, and providing that execution for clients is very rewarding,” he said. “And I love who I work with. I love coming into work every day.”
Recent transactions include a $97 million construction facility for the acquisition of downtown assemblage plus a $40 million construction facility for a residential project on the Upper West Side.
Safe to say, his decision to move to New York has left Cumming with no regrets: “I’m living the dream.”—C.C.
Brad Domenico, 34
Partner, Progress Capital
A self-proclaimed “deal junkie,” Progress Capital’s Brad Domenico has recently hit a milestone, overseeing or closing on roughly $750 million in loans over the last 12 months and adding to his $3 billion in volume since joining the firm seven years ago.
The 34-year-old partner at the firm and his team have compiled a diverse portfolio of debt placements over the last year, from construction loans and refinancings to acquisition loans and condominium inventory loans.
One such deal arranged by Domenico and his mother—Progress Capital’s founding partner Kathy Anderson—was a 24-month, interest only and floating-rate construction loan from Natixis, totaling $86.3 million and arranged for Joy Construction and Maddd Equities. The loan facilitated the development of a 110,727-square-foot, Class-A office building at 330 East 62nd Street; the property was leased out in full for an initial term of 30 years to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, to be used as its administrative offices.
“We were able to get a creative structure through Natixis. That was a really cool deal we worked on; I’ve been fortunate enough to work with Jorge Madruga and Eli Weiss [at Maddd],” Domenico said.
As a young upstart, Domenico, who earned a bachelor’s in business and finance from Rider University in 2006, joined the now-defunct Lehman Brothers after college. Once the Financial Crisis hit, he moved to the wealth management arm of Neuberger Berman, where he stayed until he joined his family’s business.
“I came in a bit green in terms of real estate finance, but you have to crawl before you can walk,” he said. “[My mother told me] if you want to be really successful, you have to know how to do a hotel, a construction financing, a multifamily property, commercial and industrial; you have to be an expert, a one-stop shop.”
He operates with a level of competitiveness and eagerness that is a product of his time as a Division I golfer at Rider, which taught him the values of being coachable and never settling on his talents. “I grew up coached, and so I was always absorbing information from very successful and impressive people,” he said. “That created a mentality: no matter what I do, how do I do it better?”
One such way that Domenico has added to the growth and evolution of the firm is through a direct lending platform called Progress Direct, which was launched in 2016. The platform, which offers $1 million to $20 million bridge loans, has funded over $150 million in debt as of this year.—M.B.
Stephen Filippo, 26
Loan Originator, Capital Markets, Marcus & Millichap
Several years ago Stephen Filippo walked out of a Marcus & Millichap prospective employee open night, thinking that the firm’s stated capabilities and offerings were too good to be true. Now, he’s climbing its corporate ladder.
“They had brought me to an open night where they have people come in to learn about the platform, and the things they were saying, I didn’t believe it, and so I walked out,” said Filippo, whose father was a leasing broker in the 1980s and 1990s and encouraged him to try his hand in commercial real estate. “A few months later, I came back after hearing a lot of great things about the company.”
The debt and equity professional has closed just over 40 mortgages so far in 2018, totaling close to $130 million, and 56 over the last 12 months. The majority of his recent deals are on retail properties, but Filippo executes transactions on every asset class.
While he couldn’t provide specifics on the deals he’s closed as of late, Filippo said he’s seeing an array of intriguing financing opportunities across the country, including in Georgia and California, as lenders look outside the box. “I’ve had some neat or interesting loans,” he said. “I’ve had lenders who will finance 100 percent of the construction cost on retail properties across the country, including in New York. The platform may be only for single tenant, net-lease properties, but some lenders will finance the construction, the land acquisition, the hard costs and the soft costs as well as the closing costs.”
The Manhattan-born graduate of the University of Connecticut got his start at Marcus in October 2014 as a capital markets associate. Filippo said he won top cold-caller of the year in his first year at Marcus, logging over 19,000 outbound calls.
“That momentum put me in a good position to develop some great relationships with clients and generate deals,” he said. Filippo was elevated to the role of associate director at the end of 2016, spending all of 2017 with that title before assuming a director role for the start of 2018.
Filippo said he’s extremely passionate about his work and considers it a hobby. “I’m so passionate about what I do and I’m so obsessed with this that I do consider it a hobby, not a profession,” he said. “I come in on the weekends. I don’t have any distractions at home, and I worry about the business…I want to be the No. 1 debt broker within the company one day.”—M.B.
Mark Finan, 26
For 26-year-old Mark Finan, an associate on CBRE’s debt brokerage team, it wasn’t so much about being in the right place at the right time—rather, it came down to making the right phone call.
The University of San Diego graduate was working in commercial real estate finance at Wells Fargo in Newport Beach, Calif., two years ago when he got the itch to decamp for New York City.
“I reached out to people I’d met in the industry, and luckily I’d known James [Millon] from beforehand,” Finan said. Unbeknownst to Finan, Millon and his partner Tom Traynor were just parting ways with Deutsche Bank to start CBRE’s debt-arranging practice, and a phone chat, a transcontinental flight and a job interview later, Finan became one of their first hires.
“It just made sense for both of us,” Finan said. “It was a really great move, in hindsight.”
The numbers agree. Since Finan joined, he’s had a hand in brokering nearly $6 billion in debt, beginning with the group’s role in arranging 2017’s mammoth $1.77 billion refinancing of 245 Park Avenue. And though Finan’s work has also touched on deals from California to Virginia, the team’s biggest trophies are all Manhattan skyscrapers: Take its $792 million deal brokered for 28 Liberty in Lower Manhattan, or the $360 million financing last autumn on Midtown’s 1440 Broadway.
A big part of a small team, Finan is racking up experience well beyond his years.
“Our group is unique because we really do everything,” Finan said. “We’re hands-on in literally every aspect of the deal.” In his scant time off, Finan—who had never been to New York before signing on with CBRE—still retains a newcomer’s thirst for exploration, setting off to discover new neighborhoods from his apartment on East 34th Street.
“There’s always something new, always something going on,” Finan said. “Even as I get more used to the city, there’s always something exciting.”—M.G.
Jeffrey Goldman, 34
Vice President, BayernLB
As a financier of just 34, Jeffrey Goldman has already packed decades’ worth of experience onto a long resume that includes stints with some of most prolific foreign investors in American real estate debt. Today, he’s just about a month-and-a-half into a new vice president gig at BayernLB, a prolific German lender on U.S. properties in the years before the financial crisis that is now pushing aggressively to regain a foothold.
It’s not hard to see why Bayern thought Goldman was just the man to join them.
In his previous post at Bank of China, Goldman generated more than $1 billion in lending—including taking leadership roles for the bank’s part in this year’s $1.15 billion financing of Hudson Yards’ 5 Manhattan West, as well as its $520 million loan on Industry City. He notched about $450 million more on two other marquee Manhattan buildings: 70 Pine and Columbus Circle’s Mandarin Oriental hotel.
Considering that Goldman’s career has also included stops at Guggenheim Partners, Arbor Realty Trust and Wafra, as investment firm that advises Kuwait’s sovereign-wealth fund on its American real estate holdings, the Tri-State Area native has traveled a long road since his days as a communications major at Boston University.
“My family was in real estate development on Long Island,” he said of his initial exposure to the industry. He was at Arbor in 2010 when the industry ground to a halt at the depths of the Great Recession, and he took the chance then to double down on a real estate career by enrolling in NYU’s graduate program. It’s a path he’d recommend more young people in the industry consider.
“It’s important to definitely get some kind of graduate degree,” Goldman said. “Many people on the origination side are just pushing mortgages. To have that academic background—that knowledge—I think puts you in a category above the average banker.”
In part thanks to the long list of foreign employers on his C.V., Goldman has traveled extensively—including to China, Germany and the Middle East, both for work and pleasure. But at the moment, he’s focused on helping Bayern reattain its prior status as a major lender in U.S. gateway cities.
“We’re able to be nimble and to guarantee a certain level of execution since the bank back in Munich is very focused on real estate,” Goldman said. “We don’t have any legacy assets holding us down right now. That’s going to be a very good opportunity.”—M.G.
Seth Hall, 28
Associate, Mesa West Capital
Mesa West Capital Associate Seth Hall has closed on $520 million in debt in his four years at the firm, and $200 million over the last 12 months, specializing in the origination of first mortgage bridge loans over $25 million up and down the East Coast.
Two notable deals Hall has closed over the last 12 months were for two multifamily acquisitions—one a $26.2 million loan for a property in New York City and the other a $110 million loan for a development in Alpharetta, Ga.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, out of the Sol Price School of Public Policy, the Dana Point, Calif.-native earned a bachelor of science in real estate development in 2012.
While enrolled, Hall got his first taste of real estate experience in 2010 when he worked for a few months in research and client relations for Marcus & Millichap. Following his junior year, he got an internship as a summer analyst within Wells Fargo’s instructional metro markets group and promptly fell in love with real estate finance.
“[The opportunity at Wells Fargo] introduced me to real estate finance; I loved the transaction volume and enjoyed being able to evaluate multiple transactions across different geographic regions with different sponsorships and unique business plans,” Hall said. “I have been in real estate finance ever since.”
After graduating, he joined Wells Fargo in January 2013 as a financial analyst, where he remained until May 2014, then joining Mesa West Capital as an analyst. He was elevated to title of associate at Mesa West in March 2015, a role he’s worked in now for just under four years at the firm.—M.B.
Justin Horowitz, 27
Mortgage Broker, Cooper-Horowitz
“I always wanted to be in real estate,” Justin Horowitz said. “I was kind of born into it I guess.”
Ain’t that the truth. His father, Richard Horowitz, is principal of Cooper-Horowitz, and as a young lad, Horowitz would tour the properties that his dad was in the process of financing after his Saturday morning baseball games.
Even though the family business might have been a natural foray into real estate for Horowitz, he decided instead to forge his own path and earn his spot on the Cooper-Horowitz team.
He got his start at Brickman in 2013, working as a leasing associate under its director of leasing, Paul Kotcher. He was later introduced to Woody Heller, Savills Studley’s co-head of capital markets, on a property tour and was offered a job a few months later, starting in the company’s capital transactions group in 2015 before joining Cooper-Horowitz in 2016.
Over the past 12 months, Horowitz has originated more than $100 million in new business for Cooper-Horowitz. “There’s plenty of money out there and increased competition from lenders, so it’s a good time to be a borrower,” he said.
Recent deals include a $27.5 million bridge loan from LoanCore for Brickman’s Cigar Factory building in Long Island City, Queens; a $15 million loan from Principal Life for an office building at 15 West 26th Street; and a $16.1 million acquisition loan from M&T Bank for Beachwold Residential’s 88-unit multifamily property in Simsbury, Conn.
“I love the thrill of doing the deal from start to finish with the borrower,” Horowitz said of his draw to the business. “I love getting to know someone and understanding their interests so I can make a personal connection, then meeting for a coffee.” Horowitz prides himself on knowing the best coffee joints in town, regularly scoping out new locations in his free time.
He recently moved to the Upper East Side from Gramercy and between work and play, the die-hard New York Giants and Yankees fan has his hands pretty full. On Sep. 14, 2019, Horowitz will marry his fiancée and best friend, Shana Honig, and the countdown is officially on!—C.C.
Alan Isenstadt, 31
Senior Vice President, KeyBank Real Estate Capital
If you’re a young finance star in New York City, experience comes fast. Alan Isenstadt, a newly promoted senior vice president at KeyBank Real Estate Capital, mused that compared with previous work in Cleveland, Chicago and Salt Lake City, every year of deals in the Big Apple amounts to two years’ worth elsewhere.
“I’ve worked in New York City for five years, but it feels like 10,” Isenstadt said. “The level of experience you get here and the opportunities are so much more. This is the home of real estate.”
The 31-year-old, of South African descent on his mother’s side, traces his interest in real estate to his paternal grandfather, a builder of workforce housing in America during the years after World War II.
“He was active during that period right after the baby-boomer generation was expanding. It was really unique to hear about his experiences,” Isenstadt said.
He got his own first taste of the action as an intern at Forest City Realty Trust during his time at DePaul University in Chicago. He parlayed that into an analyst role at the company—acquired this summer by Brookfield Asset Management—before heading to the U.K. for graduate school. He earned a master’s degree in real estate finance from Henley Business School at the University of Redding.
Back in the States, Isenstadt’s entrée to the industry’s banking side came at KeyBank’s managerial rotation program, and he hasn’t slowed down ever since. As the youngest senior vice president in his division at the bank, he’s produced more than $500 million in capital-market and balance-sheet loans this year. Highlights included a $110 million financing on an apartment complex in Naples, Fla., as well as a similar-size loan against a portfolio of multifamily buildings across several western states.
Despite his national reach, however, Isenstadt said that nothing beats New York for forging industry relationships.
“In the Midwest, you’re typically flying to see your clients,” he said. “Here, [real estate] has become more of my social life, too.”—M.G.
Marvin Jeremias, 34
Managing Director, Meridian Capital Group
When it comes to brokering real estate debt in the tri-state area, Meridian Capital Managing Director Marvin Jeremias is starting to prove in a big way that he’s got the street smarts to get the job done.
The 34-year-old Brooklyn native has closed $800 million in financings in the last twelve months and said he expects to tally $600 million more before the end of the year. Jeremias, who now lives in North Jersey, described his work as something close to an addiction.
“You could say I’m sort of a deal junkie,” the rising broker told Commercial Observer. “I love the aspect of constantly being involved in deals as an adviser to my clients. It’s fast paced, and the energy of New York City real estate is very attractive to me.”
It shows. Jeremias’ day usually starts with morning client meetings in the office around 8:30 a.m., but he sometimes doesn’t call it quits until 14 hours later, he said. For a Brooklyn kid with a background in health-care sales who never even received a traditional college diploma (his bachelor’s degree is from a yeshiva), the workaholic attitude has paid dividends.
This year, the father of six—he has two sets of twins—counts a pair of New Jersey multifamily deals among his biggest accomplishments. For a Jersey City condo conversion, he was able to procure financing, including inventory loans, that totaled $85 million. Elsewhere in the Garden State, Jeremias earned credit for a $150 million ground-up project.
Outside of work, Jeremias’ family takes up a lot of his meager free time—after all, he said he strives to be available to his neediest clients about 20 hours a day. That could be one reason, when asked about his hobbies or off-the-clock indulgences, the striving young broker more or less drew a blank.
“I’m kind of boring these days,” Jeremias joked. “And anyway, I don’t like to think about myself that often.”—M.G.
Adam Kaufman, 27
Co-Founder and Managing Director, ArborCrowd
As a nascent crowdfunding platform, Arborcrowd is angling to pioneer new sources of capital for real estate deals. But its 27-year-old founder, Adam Kaufman, is a consummate insider.
“I’ve been surrounded by real estate my entire life,” Kaufman, the son of Arbor Realty Trust founder Ivan Kaufman, said last month from Israel, where he’d traveled for the Jewish holidays. “I learned most of what I know from my father.”
Since the crowdfunding arm launched in 2016, Kaufman has raised $22 million in equity to invest in residential projects in Texas, Alabama and Connecticut, among other states. The company turned around its first investment this summer—a portfolio of residential complexes across the U.S. South—for $26 million, locking in a 29 percent return for investors.
The overarching aim is to bring real estate investment opportunities to people who may never have considered the sector before.
In the past, “you had to have a first-degree connection” to the industry to stake an investment, Kaufman said. “Technology has allowed us to bring in a lot of new investors.”
But technology wasn’t the only prerequisite for making ArborCrowd’s business model work. It also took the passage of 2012’s Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, a federal law that relaxed securities regulations, especially for entrepreneurial, web-based businesses.
As a former staffer for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Kaufman was well placed to watch the bill’s progress through Congress and to parse its implications when it passed.
“My experience with the political landscape was really important to my understanding of how new laws come into practice,” Kaufman said. “Now a lot of companies have sprung up to take advantage.”
Raised in Great Neck, N.Y., on Long Island, Kaufman has since put down roots in Manhattan and never misses a chance to play tennis or go running. He also squeezes in time to listen to podcasts, including a recent favorite series, How I Built This, which interviews successful founders on their corporate incubation stories.
Their most common refrain?
“Perseverance is important,” Kaufman said. “Sticking with a plan and executing."—M.G.
Katie Kennedy, 34
Vice President, Capital One Bank
“Coming out of college, I interviewed in a wide variety of sales roles,” said Katie Kennedy, a New Jersey-based vice president in real estate finance at Capital One. But when she received an offer to work as a tenant broker at Cushman & Wakefield, Kennedy realized real estate would be a natural fit.
“I had always liked looking at real estate. What are the neighborhoods like? What are the trends? When I interviewed there, I thought it would be something I could be passionate about.”
That passion eventually carried Kennedy—the daughter of a banker—to a private-banking role with Capital One in New York City, where she helped a clients including real estate developers manage their cash. Missing hands-on work with property deals, however, she later jumped at the chance to shift to the real estate finance team.
“I like to say I’m the liaison between the client and the Capital One finance group,” Kennedy, 34, explained, describing her present role. “My job is to advocate internally for what the client needs and to advocate to the client on behalf of our credit and underwriting team. It’s about making sure we’re making sound credit decisions for the bank.”
Outside of work, Kennedy spends as much time as she can with her three kids, all under age 10. Together with her husband, a banker who works in health-care finance, she stays involved with their shared alma mater, Villanova University, serving on the board of her alumni chapter. She’s also taken a shine to helping manage Capital One’s commercial bank rotation program for newcomers to the industry. Kennedy is particularly dedicated to guiding the way for more women to enter the field, advising that networking and integrity are crucial to success.
“When I first started, someone gave me a piece of advice. Make great relationships, have a great product and always tell the truth,” Kennedy said. “I haven’t found a situation where that doesn’t apply.”—M.G.
Adam Metzger, 32
Vice President of Acquisitions, L&L Holding Company
It’s been a year of heated competition, but the industry’s best and brightest don’t scare easily. “L&L is a very tenant-focused and vision-oriented firm,” said Adam Metzger, the vice president of acquisitions at L&L. “We’re most competitive when we’re presented with an opportunity to take something that is obsolete and out of favor because we have the skillset and the courage to perform a modern intervention and transform it into cutting edge, unique space for Manhattan’s most discerning tenants.”
Metzger is part of the L&L team that handles the company’s equity capital raises and oversees renovation and leasing plans for new acquisitions. Thus far he has a whopping $2 billion in financings under his belt.
He holds a bachelor of arts in economics from Yale and joined L&L from Normandy Real Estate Partners in 2016.
Keeping him busy right now is L&L and Normandy Real Estate Partners’ pending $880 million acquisition of Terminal Stores in West Chelsea. Metzger is helping to arrange the financing for the 1.2-million-square-foot complex, soon to be transformed into a cutting-edge office building and retail destination. The deal is scheduled to close later this fall.
“Terminal is a fit for L&L’s historical skill set of taking older, underutilized commercial buildings and turning them into cutting-edge space,” Metzger said of the firm’s draw to the purchase. “We view Terminal Stores as the connection between modern Hudson Yards and historic Chelsea. This is a rare opportunity to take that historic space, renovate it to modern standard and change its profile in the market.”
In his spare time, Metzger is the lead vocalist in his rock band, the Pick You Up at 8s. In June they played to an audience of 600 real estate professionals at Irving Plaza as part of Rockers in Relief, raising $144,000 for disaster relief.
After a “very exciting summer overall for L&L,” it looks as though the fall won’t be any less busy, professionally or personally. On Halloween he’ll marry his fiancée, Kimmy Scotti, and he’s currently knee deep in “last-minute planning,” he said.
The two recently vacationed in Italy, spending time with Scotti’s family in the south. But speaking Italian is something that Metzger can’t add to his résumé.
“Yet!” he is quick to add.—C.C.
Ryan Morrell, 30
Underwriter, Morgan Stanley
Morgan Stanley’s Ryan Morrell had an early taste for real estate. He grew up collecting sports cards as well as magazine snippets of skylines and popular landmarks across the globe.
“I was always curious to learn about different architecture and the history of some of the more recognizable buildings [across the globe],” Morrell said. “I knew that [it] was something that was important to me. As I got older, I ventured to make a career out of it.”
Growing up, Morrell would accompany his father around the Philadelphia area—his hometown—helping renovating old homes. “[My dad] even built my childhood home with his high school friends,” Morrell said. He loved being on-site for the construction processes, he said.
Morrell has underwritten close to $300 million in conduit CMBS loans, since joining the firm in August 2017. His focus is mainly on conduit loans with an average deal size of $10 million.
Two notable deals Morrell has underwritten in the last year include a $50 million loan on an office building near Minneapolis, Minn. and a $50 million loan on a single-tenant industrial building outside of Boston.
Morrell got his start in commercial real estate in November 2011 as a debt markets analyst at Chandan Economics, a commercial real estate data and research firm founded by Sam Chandan, who is the dean of New York University’s Schack Institute of Real Estate.
While Morrell was at Chandan, it was a CMBS presale report that sent him headlong into the securitized world. “As I thumbed through it, a lightbulb went off,” he said. “[It was full of various loans and properties], each with their own unique structure and story. I was hooked and wanted to learn more. After this, I focused on the CMBS route.”
After a year as an oil and gas private equity consultant at Lyme Regis Partners, he wanted to gain some CMBS training. He then spent nearly three years as an associate analyst at Moody’s, where he assigned credit ratings to over 65 conduit, agency and small balance transactions with an original balance over $75 billion.
After Moody’s, Morrell joined Denver, Colo.-based JCR Capital, a middle market alternative lender, in June 2016. While at JCR, he closed approximately $1 billion in bridge loans.
He bagged a bachelor of arts in history from Princeton University—his dream school—in 2010, where he played for the school’s storied lacrosse team.—M.B.
Jake Nathan, 26
Associate, Brookfield Property Group
Jake Nathan, a 26-year-old associate at Brookfield Property Group, has already gotten a taste of what it’s like to work on some of the biggest and most highly scrutinized real estate acquisitions in the country. In just his third year on the job, Nathan played an instrumental role on the Brookfield team responsible for signing a $700 million, 99-year lease of 666 Fifth Avenue, the beleaguered office tower controlled by Kushner Companies.
It’s exactly the sort of work the Scarsdale, N.Y., native had longed to do in his previous role as an investment banker at Barclays.
“I focused on debt and capital markets for public REITs,” Nathan said. “But I knew I wanted to be more involved on the principal investment side, and working closer to the assets.”
Despite the glamor of participating in big-ticket office deals, the Washington University in St. Louis graduate reported that he gets even more satisfaction from the human touch involved in delving into multifamily transactions.
“When I walk into an office building, I don’t have as much of a direct perspective,” Nathan said. “In an apartment building, I can ask, ‘Do I know people who would spend $4,000 a month on this?’ It’s fun because you get to have some personal insight.”
Working on a team of just three in the investment division of Brookfield’s New York City office—a fourth analyst came on board last week—has offered Nathan the chance to get his hands dirty with just about every sort of deal that passes through the firm. He’s also been involved in Brookfield’s purchase of retail storefronts on Bleecker Street, near where he lives in the West Village.
An amateur chef, Nathan saves most of his cooking for Sundays. During the week, a lot of his extracurricular time goes back into the company, as the founder of a career-development group for other young Brookfield employees.
As a former political science major, Nathan avers that no specific academic background is a requirement for students hoping to follow in his footsteps.
“What I’m really looking for is someone interested in real estate, and, frankly, someone who’s willing to work hard,” Nathan said. “It’s served me pretty well.”—M.G.
TJ Randall, 23
Loan Officer and Underwriter, W Financial
It’s a competitive lending market out there, but that doesn’t intimidate T.J. Randall. Perhaps he gets some of that valor from his father, James “Jim” Randall, who was both a lender and developer and made it onto a young professionals list himself back in the day (Crain’s New York’s 40 Under 40).
As an originator for W Financial, Randall has clocked up an impressive $210 million in transactions over the past year, closing $40 million in deals in July alone. Phew!
Recent transactions include a $20 million mortgage for an office property on Madison Avenue, where the borrower had another investment and needed to pull money out of the property quickly (from start to close the deal took two weeks) and a $14 million second mortgage on a development site in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, on which W Financial already had the first mortgage. The property was rezoned to include residential development, increasing its value, and the deal closed in a matter of days.
“Our big competitive advantage is our integrity,” Randall told CO. “We’ve no interest in owning people’s properties. We see our customers as partners. We want them to take a loan from us but then take us out with a bank [financing] or sale.”
Speed of execution and flexibility are additional feathers in the bridge lender’s cap, with deals closed in less than 24 hours and no prepayment penalties after as little as 20 days.
Randall first interned for W Financial before being hired by the company a year later. He kept in touch with David Heiden, a managing partner at the firm, and considers him a mentor. “I’ve learned so much and had exposure to so many things. I couldn’t ask for a better boss,” he said.
The role keeps him on his toes, as every deal is different. “You have to stay sharp and be diligent in everything you’re doing,” he said.
To those entering the industry today, Randall advised to “use your network as much as you can, but if people don’t respond, just keep going. You’re going to get rejected 99 times, but it’s a great feeling when the one person who responds and you put a deal together. It’s completely worth it.”—C.C.
Joshua Reiss, 32
Vice President, Affordable Housing Debt Originations at Hunt Real Estate Capital
Joshua Reiss wasn’t born in New York City, but the affordable housing expert is hard at work financing it.
The Boston native moved to the Big Apple when he was five years old and attributes his interest in commercial real estate to his exposure to it growing up in the city. Today, “I find it very interesting and challenging on an intellectual level, plus it’s fun to work on deals.”
Reiss got his industry start working for Madison Realty Capital Co-founder Josh Zegen, as one of Zegen’s very first employees. (He also went to high school with Zegen’s brother Marc Zegen.) He later worked for MAXX Properties on the acquisition side of the family owned and operated business, before joining Hunt in 2011.
While Reiss has experience across the full spectrum of affordable multifamily financing solutions, he specializes in rental assistance demonstration (RAD) deals and worked to secure financing for the largest RAD project in the U.S. at the time (in 2015) for the Housing Authority of the City of El Paso.
Currently, he’s working to structure and originate $140 million in RAD funding for a New York City Housing Authority transaction that’s scheduled to close this month, and he has a pipeline of $300 million of deals that are expected to close over the next two quarters.
The affordable deals he works on are “something you can feel really good about, but at the same time they’re very innovative in terms of the way the deals have to be approached,” Reiss said. “Every single day is unique, each transaction is different and there are lot of fun personalities in this industry.”
With a longer lead time in affordable financings, managing expectations can be tough, Reiss said, but he now excels at it. “It’s not just about the numbers, and not just about the relationships,” he said. “You have to be analytical while also managing the customer well. It’s a balance and you have to do both.”
In his spare time, Reiss spends as much time as possible with his “very supportive” wife, Lisa, and their three kids: two daughters aged 5 and 3 and a 1-month-old son. The family resides on Long Island, N.Y.—C.C.
Nick Scribani, 31
Managing Director, Debt and Structured Finance, Newmark Knight Frank
The “unofficial COO” of Newmark Knight Frank’s debt and structured finance group, according to Dustin Stolly, a co-head of said finance arm, Managing Director Nick Scribani doesn’t welcome challenges; he seeks them out.
It’s the only reason he found his way to New York. “I didn’t necessarily ever want to do real estate or live in New York, but that was the most challenging so I did it; the path of most resistance.”
That route travelled landed him at NKF in August 2017, brought on by Stolly and fellow Vice Chairman and Co-Head Jordan Roeschlaub just a few months after they set up shop at NKF.
Scribani, 31, is not only tasked with facilitating and executing transactions but also recruiting and managing NKF’s team of real estate debt and equity staffers.
This year-to-date at NKF, Scribani has closed over $5 billion in transactions, and he’s logged more than $10 billion in deal flow throughout his career. In January 2018, Scribani teamed with Stolly to close roughly $280 million in financing for a Marriott Edition hotel at Sunset Boulevard and Doheny Drive in West Hollywood for partners Steve Witkoff and Howard Lorber. The hotel is expected to open in the second half of 2018; it will be the first Edition-branded hotel on the West Coast as well as Witkoff’s first project in Los Angeles.
“That deal kind of set a precedent for us,” Scribani said.
“Construction was not done yet, and we had to come in and refinance current construction debt with a cheaper cost of capital, and it included a cashback to sponsorship. I think we carved out a niche with it.”
Scribani got his start out of college as a senior analyst at General Electric, where he said the company’s well-rounded platform gave him great levels of exposure early on in his career. He left GE and joined Citigroup in August 2013, where he was an originator in the firm’s CMBS shop. With NKF, he’s married the two disciplines—managing and originating.
Scribani grew up in Rochester, N.Y., or “the real upstate,” as he called it, where his parents were born and raised. He achieved a B.S. in business administration in finance from the University of Pittsburgh in 2009, a “terrible time to graduate, if you’re in finance,” he quipped.
That didn’t seem to slow him down any.—M.B.
James Snook, 27
Director, Debt, Equity & Structured Finance, Global Hospitality, Cushman & Wakefield
James Snook grew up around hotels, casinos and the hospitality industry. His father was a food and beverage manager at Caesars Atlantic City and his mother was a bartender at a local wedding hall.
“That’s how hotels started with me,” said Snook, a graduate of Cornell University and member of the Cornell Hotel Society. “It was always a part of my background. I always wanted to go into the business world. I never really had a feel for real estate until I got to college, took a few real estate classes and fell in love with it. I really enjoyed the combination of quantitative analytics and then the relationship building aspect of it.”
Since starting five years ago as a director within Cushman & Wakefield’s global hospitality finance group, Snook has amassed $1.5 billion in debt and $1.2 billion in equity arrangements.
The Linwood, N.J., native has closed over $410 million in debt and equity capital over the last 12 months. In January, he secured a $105 million refinance for Seattle-based SECO Development for the roughly $250 million Hyatt Regency Lake Washington, a 347-room luxury hotel at 1053 Lake Washington Blvd. North in Renton, Wash., a suburb southeast of Seattle. The debt came from two prominent New York tri-state debt funds.
“[With the Hyatt], the developer was in the process of building a speculative office next door,” Snook said. “The hotel would support the office space behind it, but the office wasn’t fully built and leased. There are great meeting facilities at that hotel, and Hyatt as a manager has done an excellent job of sourcing for it. We pushed that while the downtown Seattle market has great fundamentals, there’s not a lot of space left, and that demand eventually has to make its way south [to Renton].”
Snook, 27, earned a bachelor of science degree in hotel administration, with a minor in real estate finance, from Cornell in 2013. He’s also an avid snowboarder who enjoys riding backcountry on unmarked trails, but there’s no mistaking his background, near beaches: “I grew up 10 minutes from the beach. Some kids went to camp. My camp was that my parents would drop me and my brother off at the beach at 9 a.m. and pick us up at 4 p.m.”—M.B.
Allyson Van Blarcum, 33
Vice President, ACORE Capital
For Dallas native Allyson Van Blarcum, it’s all in the details.
The 33-year-old ACORE Capital vice president prides herself on her fastidious nature, and it’s clearly taken her far. Today, Van Blarcum is a key member of ACORE’s Dallas originations team, closing $654 million in transactions so far this year alone, and roughly $2.4 billion since she joined the firm in 2015.
Recent deals include a $158 million first mortgage and mezzanine loan to Highland Capital Management for the acquisition and renovation of Cityplace Tower, a 42-story, 1.3-million-square-foot office tower in Dallas; a $106.3 million loan to Rubenstein Partners and Strategic Capital Partners for the acquisition of Precedent Office Park, a 15-building office complex in Indianapolis and a $80 million refinance of the retail and apartment component of Giarratana and Walsh Construction’s 505 Nashville development in Nashville, Tenn.
Van Blarcum’s lending experience runs the gamut from office to multifamily to hospitality to seniors housing assets. “We focus on every product type, some we like less, but we’re open and flexible to looking at all types of deals,” Van Blarcum said.
Prior to joining ACORE Van Blarcum was an associate director at GE Capital Real Estate, focused on balance sheet and CMBS debt originations for the Central Region and helping to close more than $1 billion in transactions during her time there. She previously served as an asset manager for GE’s industrial portfolio, with Austin, Houston and San Antonio properties totaling 3 million square feet under her watch.
Van Blarcum holds a BBA in real estate and professional selling from Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business and the negotiation aspect of the term sheets is her favorite part of the job. “I’m very detail oriented and kind of a perfectionist, so I will make sure that every number ties and the deal makes sense,” she said. “But once we agree to terms and structures, going back and forth with the borrower and broker to nail those structuring items down for the loan documents is what I love the best.”
Outside of the world of real estate, she sits on the board of directors for Hope Cottage, the oldest nonprofit, non-faith-based adoption agency in Dallas.—C.C.
Dylan Weisman, 25
Associate, Moinian Capital Partners
Dylan Weisman, the second youngest of this year’s 25 Under 35 honorees, never had any doubt that he wanted to work at a big New York City real estate firm—and he made sure employers didn’t doubt it, either.
“I started as an intern at Moinian four days after graduation [from Syracuse University],” he said. “I was super aggressive and very persistent, cold-calling to find a job. I got through to Mitch Moinian, and he offered me an internship,” Weisman said, remembering his first interaction with the heir to Joseph Moinian’s real estate business.
In the two-and-a-half years since, Weisman has worn a number of hats, gaining exposure to marketing, leasing and acquisitions work. But when Jonathan Chassin, late of Morgan Stanley, joined the firm last year to establish its lending platform, Moinian Capital Partners, Weisman cheerfully glommed on.
In the last 12 months, the team has lent about $400 million, mostly on projects in New York City and Miami. Moinian is tight-lipped with names and addresses, but highlights have included financing a $160 million rental building in Brooklyn and a $125 million package for a Courtyard by Marriott hotel near Hudson Yards on Manhattan’s West Side.
Weisman, who did his first internships in the industry as a high schooler growing up in Livingston, N.J., is still excited to have made to move across the Hudson River.
“There’s 24/7 entertainment, 24/7 activity. You’re always on the move,” Weisman said.
And these days, he literally is—Weisman spent much of his time out of the office last month training for an upcoming half marathon in Brooklyn. Another chance to see more of a city he still enjoys exploring.
“This is my favorite place in the world,” Weisman said. “I don’t see myself ever moving out.”—M.G.
Beau Williams, 34
Director, Mission Capital Advisors
Beau Williams had always been interested in finance and—driven by his father’s involvement in the hotel industry—commercial real estate was his launching pad.
After some time in hotel franchise development and sales, Williams got his start in commercial real estate finance in January 2014 through Meridian Capital Group’s talent incubator, which launched in March 2013. “I didn’t close a damn deal in my first year,” he joked. “But, I wanted to be in that world [of finance]. To start with Microsoft Excel from scratch at Meridian on day one to breaking down splits and lining up preferred equity and mezzanine financing was really amazing.”
The New York University alum joined Mission Capital Advisors in August last year and has arranged $217 million in capital year-to-date, with a specialty in hospitality finance; he’s tallied $400 million in transaction volume in his career.
One of his most notable deals of the year was a $137 million refinance of the world’s tallest Holiday Inn at 99 Washington Street, a 50-story, 492-key hotel in the Financial District. The 10-year, interest only loan, for Chinese developer Jubao Xie, replaced $135 million in previous debt from Bank of China in 2015, records show.
“We’re a lot smaller [than Meridian] at Mission, but it’s interesting because they do a lot of hotels and interesting and complex deals; I thought it was a really good fit for me,” Williams said. “We just get to such a granular level, and that is really appreciated in the hospitality world.”
Williams got his start in commercial real estate in March 2010 as a director of franchise development for Northcott Hospitality; by October, he had transitioned to Wyndham Hotel Group, where he worked as director of franchise development for Wyndham in New England before joining Meridian Capital. “My father was in hotels and credit,” Williams said. “I was taught that franchising, management, financing and location are the four things make your hotel.”
In his free time, the 6-foot-4 former Montclair State University and Chowan University basketball player said he can be found at “any basketball court that is open and available.” He golfs when New York’s weather permits, and he said he and his wife look to travel at least three or four times a year.
As for what’s next in his career: “I’d like to put more equity deals together,” Williams said. “I feel I’ve done a lot of debt and we [at Mission] specialize in combining both, doing the whole stack. And then, just reaching a billion in total volume in 2019 would definitely be the end goal.”—M.B.
Pat Young, 33
Vice President, M&T Bank
An unconventional motivation drew M&T Bank Vice President Pat Young into the hectic world of commercial real estate finance.
“I really enjoyed commercial real estate lending and what goes into it, in that it gives you the ability to bring creativity to the science of lending,” he said. “I’ve always been drawn to the creative side of things in life, whether it be music or art [or other interests], so I found commercial real estate attractive because you’re not confined within boxes. Here, we’re able to explore different avenues to complete a transaction.”
Over the last two years, Young has closed on roughly $500 million in loans; $250 million is on balance sheet over the last 12 months, not including a recent $266 million agency placement for TF Cornerstone.
That deal was a refinance of TFC’s 25-story, 714-unit multifamily rental building at 33 Bond Street in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. It replaced a $250 million loan from the New York State Housing Finance Agency from November 2014 and added $15.7 million in new debt, as CO reported in July.
Young has run the gamut in his eight years at Buffalo-based M&T Bank. He was elevated to the role of vice president almost two years ago. Prior to that, he worked as an assistant vice president for four years, with a focus on fostering and maintaining client relationships, after starting first as a senior credit analyst in May 2011. Before joining M&T Bank, Young worked for three years as a senior credit analyst at Community Bank in Olean, N.Y., his hometown.
“I think specifically here at M&T, we take pride in taking an entrepreneurial perspective to deals,” Young said.
The graduate of the State University of New York at Geneseo considers himself and and his wife outdoors people who enjoy hiking and traveling as often as they can, weather permitting. He’s also a rabid Buffalo sports fan, who’s thirsty for the Buffalo Bills to finally return to luster.—M.B.
Ryan Zega, 28
Director of Acquisitions, Paramount Group
“Work ethic and perseverance” is the key to success, said Ryan Zega, Paramount Group’s director of acquisitions. And he should know.
The New Jersey native graduated from Seton Hall University with a B.S. in finance, accounting and economics and is blazing trails as the first generation of his family to enter the real estate industry.
Zega joined Paramount in June 2017, where he’s focused on new acquisitions and high yield debt origination on Class-A office and retail properties. His responsibilities also include the disposition, refinancing and repositioning of existing REIT assets, as well as investor reporting.
“I like that we are primarily focused on New York City, Washington, D.C. and San Francisco,” Zegen said. “We’re relatively close to the heartbeat of these cities and really understand what’s going on in those markets in looking at these large opportunities. I definitely enjoy my time here.”
Previously, Zega spent four years with Normandy Real Estate Partners and, before that, another two years with PGIM Real Estate. At Normandy he was focused on the equity side of the business, also responsible for asset management and acquisitions; at PGIM he worked on its value-add fund, with a focus on national office product.
Paramount’s position in the market as both an owner and a lender-investor helped the company to have a competitive edge in deals over the past year, Zega said, “It’s helpful to have that experience and a vertically integrated team.”
Notable transactions include Paramount’s $415 million refinancing of Normandy’s 575 Lexington Avenue, in which Paramount retained $100 million of mezzanine debt. “That was a fun transaction as I also worked on 575 Lexington while I was at Normandy. So I’ve seen it as both a lender and as an owner,” he said.
Then there’s Natixis’ $342 million refinancing of 850 Third Avenue on behalf of HNA, in which Paramount provided $75 million in senior mezz debt and Natixis’ $360 million refinancing of One State Street Plaza, in which Paramount purchased the $25 million B-note.
Although Zega spends a lot of time doing deals in cities, he’s an avid hiker and grabs the chance to be in the great outdoors whenever he can. “Wherever you are and whatever city you’re in, there’s usually an opportunity to hike nearby.”—C.C.