Andrea Balkan, Nailah Flake-Brown and John Lee
Managing Partner of Real Estate; Managing Directors of Real Estate at Brookfield Real Estate Finance at Brookfield Real Estate Finance
Last year's rank: 32
Brookfield stepped up its lending activity this past year with $6.3 billion of volume that was propelled in large part by a rebound in the investment sales market.
Acquisition financing accounted for nearly 60 percent of Brookfield’s debt investments across the fund vehicles it manages. Brookfield was well-positioned to capitalize on demand for acquisition loans with the strength of its financing infrastructure.
“We can underwrite deals very quickly and we have a very efficient approval process and very good certainty of execution,” Nailah Flake-Brown said, speaking of how Brookfield capitalized on borrower demand for acquisition loans. “It plays to our strengths.”
Led by Flake-Brown, Andrea Balkan and John Lee, Brookfield’s platform was active in most of the core real estate sectors in addition to certain alternative asset classes like medical office, self-storage and film studios. Geographically, the team’s lending activity stretched across the U.S. while also growing in the U.K. and Western Europe.
The firm’s loan portfolio has evolved from pre-pandemic times, when office lending accounted for around 60 percent of its activities. Today industrial and multifamily deals comprise a larger slice of the pie and the office sector now makes up less than 50 percent.
Notable deals within the past year include a Brookfield closed-end fund vehicle providing $259 million of mezzanine debt as part of a $1.39 billion bridge financing secured by a multistate portfolio of 109 logistics properties. It also originated a $145 million loan to KSL and East West Partners for the joint venture’s residential condominium development on Kiawah Island in South Carolina.
Brookfield has remained proactive in its diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, too, through a number of employee engagement groups, including a Black professionals network, Asian professionals network, women’s network and a Pride network. It also has established an internship program with a focus on attracting diverse candidates.
“Brookfield has made a concerted effort to expand our employee engagement groups and to expand our diversity overall,” Flake-Brown said. “We continue to find deliberate ways to focus on getting more diverse candidates, which we are starting to have some success with.” —A.C.