Ex-SL Green CIO David Schonbraun Joining Senlac Ridge as It Rebrands

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Senlac Ridge Partners just scored a new managing partner and a new name.

SL Green Realty’s former chief investment officer David Schonbraun will join the asset management firm as Senlac Ridge rebrands to GreenBarn Investment Group, Commercial Observer has learned. 

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Schonbraun, who started working at GreenBarn on Thursday, is charged with expanding its debt business as the company plans to spend up to $250 million on distressed assets and loans through a joint venture with asset manager Rithm Capital, which bought a 50 percent stake in GreenBarn in December. 

“This is an incredible and exciting opportunity,” Schonbraun said. “I’ve always been very much on the institutional side [of real estate] and to be doing this in a more entrepreneurial way is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.”

Schonbraun joins GreenBarn after a two-year stint as the head of U.S. real estate credit for private equity company The Carlyle Group. Before Carlyle, Schonbraun spent 20 years at SL Green, where he kept the firm’s debt business to 10 percent of its assets and managed some of the landlord’s day-to-day operations after its co-chief investment officer Isaac Zion left in 2020.  

He has worked with GreenBarn’s founder David Welsh since 2004 on a handful of deals, including when Welsh’s previous firm, Normandy Real Estate Partners, scored $170 million in financing from SL Green in 2017 to purchase 880-888 Broadway.

Welsh and Schonbraun plan to take advantage of the slow debt markets and economic turbulence to buy discounted, underperforming loans and partner with other companies to develop new properties. And Schonbraun’s connections and experience will be key to GreenBarn’s strategy, Welsh said. 

“This is a new chapter in our lifespan,” Welsh said. “David’s deep relationships, coupled with his extensive structured credit and finance experience, will be a huge asset for us.”

After Rithm’s investment and Schonbraun’s hiring, Welsh decided to rebrand Senlac to kick off its planned expansion into the commercial real estate debt markets, naming the company after a green barn at his home in New Jersey where he plays piano and organ.

GreenBarn owns a handful of properties on the East Coast, including its planned mixed-use development at 120 Fifth Avenue in Park Slope, Brooklyn, with partner The William Macklowe Company.

A spokesperson for The Carlyle Group did not respond to a request for comment.

Update: This story has been updated to include that Welsh and Schonbraun have worked together since 2004.

Celia Young can be reached at cyoung@commercialobserver.com.