Ralph Herzka, Yoni Goodman and David Brickman
Chairman and CEO; President; Executive Chairman at Meridian Capital Group
Last year's rank: 25
COVID crisis? What COVID crisis? Meridian Capital Group just churned out the commercial real estate deals like nothing was happening.
Which is not to say it was business as usual. Like its competitors, it moved radically from being an office-based financial brokerage to one where just about all of its staff was working from home or remotely. Nevertheless, it closed 3,270 loans in fiscal 2020 (from April 1, 2020, to this past March 31), totaling $37.8 billion, the second-most in the Lower Manhattan-based company’s history, and the second-most of any commercial real estate brokerage in the U.S, according to Yoni Goodman, Meridian’s president.
On top of that, this year, Meridian recruited David Brickman, former CEO of the government mortgage agency Freddie Mac, to run the agency lending arm it expects to add when it completes its acquisition of Barings Multifamily Capital, which is expected to close this year, subject to regulatory approval. And, it teamed up with Wendy Silverstein to form Silver Eagle Advisory Group, a mortgage loan restructuring and workout platform.
“We were extremely impressed with the extent to which the firm was able to quickly change its working stance,” Goodman said. “We found it to be seamless, but only because every worker at the company was very thoughtful about it, and made sure to stay within very regular contact with everybody.”
The company was also what Goodman called “a first mover” in terms of reopening its office, applying Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance to address safety concerns. It reopened its headquarters at One Battery Park Plaza in late June, right after the city moved into Phase 2 of its coronavirus lockdown.
Notable Meridian-brokered deals in 2020 included $705 million for 410 Tenth Avenue, which was a commercial mortgage-backed securities loan for 601W Companies, a 20-story office redevelopment; and a $513 million, Freddie Mac-backed debt package for refinancing eight multifamily complexes throughout the mid-Atlantic region controlled by Harbor Group International.”
In 2020 Meridian formed a cross-disciplinary DEI task force to identify and assemble an internal committee with sub-committees focusing on three main areas: Recruitment and Outreach; Development, Engagement and Retention; and Communications.—D.L.