Dennis Schuh

Dennis Schuh.

Dennis Schuh

Chief Originations Officer at Starwood Property Trust

Dennis Schuh
By November 9, 2020 9:00 AM

What are the key lending opportunities you see as we round out 2021?

We did majority multifamily [deals] and will lend $12 billion this year, but, as a balance-sheet lender, I think the value is in areas that aren’t overfished by lenders looking for a [collateralized loan obligation, or CLO] exit — and there are a lot of boats in that harbor right now. Fortunately, it’s a big harbor. We continue to see opportunities in multifamily, industrial and hospitality (leisure, economy and extended stay).

What’s the one thing you wish you’d known in March 2020 that you know now?

How quick the recovery was going to be, and that I should have owned Zoom stock despite the fact that I prefer in-person meetings and the ability to efficiently multitask via an “old-school” conference call. I should note that due to the way we have managed our balance sheet for years, we were in the unique spot of being very liquid at the bottom and were able to invest in all quarters. It’s nice to look back and know you didn’t miss such a great opportunity.

Pick your poison (and tell us why you’d drink it): retail or hospitality?

Hospitality because of the pent-up demand for travel, the savings rate, the expected return of international tourism and the business traveler … and retail was the other choice.

Where are you seeing the most competition for deals today? What’s the greatest weapon in your bidding arsenal?

Multifamily and industrial, given the fundamentals and flight to quality for both debt and equity, and the fact that a lot of lenders want to move financing off balance sheet post-COVID, and because the CLO market loves multifamily. Our greatest weapon is the power of the Starwood Capital Group platform.

New York City: “I want to be a part of it”? 

I want to be part of it.  The recovery is underway, but pockets of weakness will persist. Class A product will recover first and outperform, with older and obsolete product continuing to underperform.

Are you adding life sciences deals to your loan portfolio? Why or why not?

Selectively, but not every failed office building is going to be a great life sciences opportunity. My gut is lenders who aren’t aligned with the right sponsors will make mistakes in this asset class.

Is SFR here to stay as a CRE asset class? Why or why not?

Absolutely. COVID proved the resiliency of single-family [assets] and shone a light on the demand for the product from aging millennials who are finally starting to get married and have kids.  Many who cannot buy — due to the required down payment, student debt burden, or simply choose not to buy — will rent instead. Occupancies have hit record highs and rents have grown significantly.

What keeps you up at night?

Four teenage daughters and a new puppy. 

Lightning Round

Stabilized or transitional assets? 


First work trip post-COVID?


Fast-food guilty pleasure?


“Ted Lasso” or “The Morning Show”? 

Tough one but I’m going with “Ted Lasso” — “football is life.”

Peloton bike or outdoor cycling?

Peloton, but both are pretty dusty.

Last book you read?

Does the New York Post count?

Who would play you in the biopic of your life? 

Kevin Bacon never turns down a role.

“If I hadn’t pursued a lending career I’d be …”

High school basketball and baseball coach.

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