Finance  ·  Players

Petros Picks Up Pace With Hiring of Morgan Stanley’s Kevin Porter

CRE veteran takes on chief credit officer role at growing C-PACE lender.

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Petros PACE Finance has hired Kevin Porter from Morgan Stanley (MS) as the lender’s first chief credit officer in a move aimed at solidifying itself as the largest provider of Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) loans in the U.S., Commercial Observer can first report. 

Porter joins Austin, Texas-based Petros after spending the last six years as the executive director of commercial real estate lending for Morgan Stanley. Prior to that, he was chief investment officer at MC Five Capital from 2013 to 2017. The 30-year CRE veteran also held senior positions at Bank of America Merrill Lynch and S&P Global Ratings.

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“The C-PACE  industry is at an inflection point where it’s starting to grow very dramatically and it’s becoming more and more of a mainstream product versus in the early years where it was very esoteric,” Mansoor Ghori, CEO and co-founder of Petros PACE told CO. 

“As we scale, we’re trying to make sure we have resources within the company that are very, very experienced in commercial real estate and have seen lots of ups and downs and know how to work through these larger, more complex deals,” Ghori continued “For us to continue to scale and make sure that we’re keeping our credit culture in place, we thought it was a great idea to bring someone like Kevin on board and to enhance the management team.” 

In his new role with Petros, Porter will manage all credit aspects of deals the firm closes to make sure pricing and structure are lined up. He will also manage Petros’s loan servicing and asset management post-closing teams. 

The hiring of Porter comes as the lender is on pace — no pun intended —  to exceed $2 billion in originations of balance-sheet funded C-PACE assessments. Petros exceeded its own record for the largest C-PACE transaction ever in May with a $160 million loan on a planned retirement community in Utah by a joint venture involving Gardner Group, Wasatch Group, Solamere Capital and Summit Vista. It set the initial C-PACE mark with an $89 million transaction for 111 Wall Street in June 2021, marking the first time the financing strategy was executed in New York. 

The recent expansion of Petros under Ghori and co-founder Jim Stanislaus since the company’s founding in 2016 included inking an acquisition from Athene Holdings overseen by Apollo in early 2022. The steady rise of interest rates over the last 16 months has only increased the demand for C-PACE financing, said Ghori, who noted that many borrowers are in need of alternative financing during times of market dislocation. 

“In times of distress and turmoil, the PACE product does really well,” said Ghori, noting that Petros’s business grew around 300 percent during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Our phones are ringing constantly, and we’re seeing more deals and we’re seeing better quality deals.” 

While Ghori couldn’t provide specific lending numbers for 2022 or 2023, he estimated that Petros comprises around 38 percent of the total C-PACE market origination volume. He expects its volume to double in 2023 from last year.

A University of Pennsylvania alum, Porter received his MBA in finance from the University of Texas at Austin. Porter began at Petros last week out of the Austin office, marking his return to the Texas capital city after many years in New York. 

“C-PACE has become a much-needed financing solution for a wide array of properties, and I believe that my decades of hands-on commercial real estate lending experience will be a strong asset for the company,” Porter said in a statement. 

Andrew Coen can be reached at acoen@commercialobserver.com