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Columbia University Business School Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate

November 2019
Alumni in the Media

Real Estate Alumni in the Media  

Here is what your fellow Columbia Business School Real Estate Alumni have been doing recently. If you don’t see your news mentioned, please let us know.

Commercial Observer's Owners Magazine 2019

Congratulations to the following alumni for making the 2019 list of top developers and owners in NYC:

Nicholas Bienstock ’96

Tommy Craig ’82

Ronald Dickerman ’87

Meredith Marshall ’92

Gideon Gil ’00

MetLife Provides $125M Refi on 2 Long Island Office Properties

“We received a remarkably strong response from the debt market given the highly experienced sponsorship, diverse tenant roster and premier Lake Success location,” [Gideon] Gil said in a prepared statement. “The Class A property, currently 96 percent occupied, is a standout amongst suburban office product given its location and tenancy.”

Commercial Observer

Chetrits’ Buy Rudins’ One Whitehall for $181M

“This transaction represented a compelling financing opportunity for lenders, given the sponsor’s profile and track record operating Manhattan office properties,” said Gideon Gil, Executive Managing Director, Capital Markets.

Real Estate Weekly

Yulia Yaani ’08

Forbes Councils Publishing Gives Yulia Yaani a Platform for Sharing Industry Insights

The Great Recession was nearing its end and Yulia Yaani was getting excited about an idea she had for a startup. It would be her third; she had also founded a commodities trading business and a real estate company focused on renewable energy. This time, she was thinking about a crowdfunding platform to finance commercial real estate deals. “It was after the credit crunch and I was inspired by all the new technologies,” she recalls. But regulatory issues put a crimp in her plans and she was forced to pivot. Instead, she co-founded RealAtom, a technology platform for the commercial real estate lending industry.

Forbes Councils

Joe Smith ’99

TradeWinds Property Purchased for $81 Million

Joseph Smith, the founder of 1754 Properties, said his real estate group will take over the 31-acre, two-hotel resort but keep its 1,100 employees in place. It will retain the TradeWinds name following the sale, which closed on Thursday. The deal also involved an unnamed lead investor. “I think it’s important the properties run independently and under the TradeWinds brands,” said Smith, whose firm also manages hotels. “And we have great plans and arrangements for the current team to stay in place.”

Tampa Bay Times

Jon Herman ’01

Katten Law Firm Moving to Rockefeller Center

Chicago-based law firm Katten is relocating its Manhattan offices to a large spread at Rockefeller Center. A Cushman and Wakefield team of John Cefaly, Robert Lowe, Jon Herman and Evan Algier represented Katten in negotiations.

The Real Deal

Tommy Craig ’82

Hines Invests in Edge-on-Hudson, Signs Agreement to Purchase and Build Luxury Apartments

Tommy Craig, Hines Tristate office head, stated, "Edge-on-Hudson has every attribute we seek in a successful development, including superb transit access and an extraordinary setting, including the vibrant Village of Sleepy Hollow."

PR Newswire

Erik Horvat ’04

New Lobby Renderings Revealed for Phillip Johnson’s 550 Madison Avenue

Erik Horvat, Managing Director of Real Estate at Olayan America, said in a statement, “From the ground-floor lobby and proposed public garden to the preserved iconic Chippendale top, we are honoring 550 Madison’s legacy and ensuring its future.”


Raphael Sidelsky ’99

More Focus by ‘Family Office’ Investors on Real Estate is Boosting the Demand of Luxury Real Estate in Miami

Raphael Sidelsky, Chief Investment Officer at W5 Group LLC, is of the view that real estate of high quality in an area that is strongly in demand, without excess supply, has the ability of withstanding an economic turndown well, and during the recovery period, it can then provide an upside. Miami is one of such places where luxury real estate is significantly in demand, without an excess supply of it. Buyers from New York and California are flocking to Miami as tax refugees, raising up million-dollar properties to significantly reduce taxes.

PR Newswire

Menka Sethi ’05

Facebook Pledges $1 Billion for California Housing

“If we are going to solve housing, we have to hit every income level,” Menka Sethi, director of location strategy for Facebook, said in an interview. “The market is not building this housing, and we are currently working with nonprofit developers to figure out what our capital needs to look like to make that happen.”

The New York Times

Matthew Baron ’07

Long Island City Landowners Team-Up on Former Amazon Site

Long Island City landlords have formed a coalition to create a community-centered framework for the development of 28-acres of land in the Queens submarket. Toward the end of summer, landlords who include real estate firms Simon Baron Development, TF Cornerstone and L&L Mag united for a discussion about developing the site slated for Amazon’s headquarters, and in and around the waterfront, Matthew Baron, president of Simon Baron Development, tells


Smaller Floor Plates and Flexibility Is Key to Brooklyn Office Market

Matthew Baron, the president of Simon Baron Development which owns residential projects in Long Island City, Queens, worried that since real estate taxes make up about half of the city’s budget each year, the new law might not make them keep up with the city’s needs in the future. “We’re setting ourselves up for a place where from a budget perspective, and from a financial perspective, it is only going to get worse,” Baron said.

Commercial Observer

Joseph Messina ’97

SL Green Inks 2 Leases at One Vanderbilt

New York City’s largest landlord has landed two new leases at its trophy office tower One Vanderbilt in East Midtown. Alternative investment firm Oak Hill Advisors inked a 15-year lease for 45,954 square feet. A Newmark Knight Frank team of Lance Korman, Brian Waterman and Jared Horowitz represented Oak Hill Advisors in the lease deal, while Joseph Messina, Steven Rotter, Greg Lubar, Steven Spartin, Jessica Berkey and Andrew Lutzer of JLL represented the Carlyle Group.

Commercial Property Executive

Tom DeRosa ’88

‘Often Painful’ Decisions Led to Welltower’s Current Success, CEO Thomas DeRosa Says

The positive financial results that Welltower is experiencing today are the result of “a deliberate and often painful complete restructuring” involving “considered and sometimes tough decisions” with operators such as Brookdale Senior Living and Genesis, CEO Thomas DeRosa said Wednesday during a third-quarter earnings call. Today, he added, the Toledo, OH-based REIT is meeting or exceeding the 2019 growth plan outlined in December at its investor day.

McKnight's Senior Living

Welltower Honored at Women’s Forum of New York 2019 Breakfast of Corporate Champions

“Welltower is honored to be recognized for the strong representation of outstanding women who serve on our Board of Directors,’ said Thomas J. DeRosa, Welltower’s Chairman and CEO. “It has long been our belief that diversity and inclusion is not only the right thing to do but is directly connected to our history of strong sustained performance. We are honored to lead the way along with other outstanding corporations such as TIAA,, Inc. and General Motors as an example for other companies to follow. We should all strive for greater gender equity and diversity in our boardrooms, C-suites, leadership teams, and employee base.”

PR Newswire

Welltower Strikes $787M Deal for Medical Office Portfolio

“Today’s acquisition announcement exemplifies our unique ability to source and execute on high quality growth opportunities from best-in-class developers and operators,” Thomas J. DeRosa, Welltower’s chairman and CEO, said in a news release. “These transactions establish Welltower as the largest commercial owner of medical office real estate in the country, with a platform approaching 30 million square feet.”

Becker’s Hospital Review

Zach Aarons ’13

Where Top VCs Are Investing in Real Estate and PropTech

“We like to track trends that play out in the broader real estate markets. Due to low interest rates and cap rate compression, real estate investors are now looking for yield through investments in non-traditional asset types. Industrial real estate has performed very well over the last few years, and we see a push toward workforce housing, medical real estate, and senior housing. We are looking at investing in technologies that benefit processes within these non-traditional asset classes.”


Opportunities Rise From WeWork’s Woes

WeWork helped prove the value in flexible offices. Now, after the company’s woes and the SoftBank bailout, Zach Aarons has no doubt other firms will step in to fill any void in the market. “Another flex office provider could come in and take the leases on the cheap or the landlords will take back the keys and try and do it themselves,” Aarons, a partner at PropTech Venture Capital fund MetaProp, tells “I think everybody in CRE is looking at what opportunities are there.”


Clelia Peters ’09

Warburg’s Clelia Peters Joins Board of VC-Backed Brokerage

Warburg Realty’s Clelia Peters is branching out further beyond traditional brokerage. Peters, Warburg’s president and an early investor in real estate tech startups, has joined the board of Side, a venture-backed brokerage based in San Francisco.

The Real Deal

Property in the 2020s

“The last 12 months felt like a tipping point in terms of amount of funding and the quality and diversity of companies we’re seeing springing up,” say Clelia Warburg Peters, president of Warburg Realty and a co-founder of Meta Prop, a New York–based property technology venture capital group.

Financial Times

Geoff Goldstein ’07

JLL Arranges $181M for Taconic, Nuveen Redevelopment

JLL Capital Markets experts arranged a $181 million loan to finance the redevelopment of West End Campus, a portfolio of two buildings totaling 484,774 s/f and a parcel of land containing 105,575 s/f of development rights. JLL’s Evan Pariser, Senior Managing Director; Geoff Goldstein, Senior Director; Jackie Ferrer, Senior Associate; and Sophie Cohen, Analyst, led the debt placement assignment.

Real Estate Weekly

Constantine Valhouli ’03

WeWork Will Likely Scale Back. The Question is Where?

With WeWork’s recent woes, Valhouli expects it to scale down in some of these markets. “It’s on a building-by-building basis, as some locations will be more promising either because of prime locations or long-term, below-market leases,” he says. “But I’d expect portfolio rationalization of underperforming locations. WeWork may emerge with a smaller footprint but as a more profitable company.”


Mark Green ’06

Imperial Capital Hires Mark Green as Head of Special Situations & Structured Credit

Imperial Capital, LLC today announced that Mark Green has joined the firm as the Head of Special Situations and Structured Credit. Based in New York, Mr. Green will be responsible for expanding Imperial Capital’s credit sales, trading and investment banking efforts further through credit event-driven situations, structuring expertise and investment strategies designed to allow clients to develop valuable solutions to issues they face and benefit from market opportunities across a range of asset classes.

Yahoo! Finance

Robert Reffkin ’03

Follow the Job Market When You Invest in Real Estate (Podcast)

Robert Reffkin, founder and CEO at Compass says job creation is what drives the property market.


Cia Buckley Marakovits ’93

Institutional Investors “Cherry-Picking” Best Places to Invest

Some investors are still putting money into coastal markets. Those areas have historically been better at preserving value during economic slowdowns, according to Cia Buckley Marakovits, chief investment officer of Dune Real Estate Partners. She said her firm is taking a “cherry-picking” approach on the coasts, while also investing in hospitality and health-care real estate. “We’re just looking more holistically at what will outperform in a slowdown,” she said.

Mortgage Professional America Magazine

Takeaways from NYUSPS Schack Institute’s Capital Markets Conference

“I’m not saying there aren’t cycles, but I just wonder whether as the whole investment management system has matured, should we be looking at a different lane, and not just be thinking about one big crash?” says Cia Buckley Marakovits, chief investment officer at Dune Real Estate Partners. “Can you have a cycle if you’re not hardly overleveraged?”

National Real Estate Investor

Jonathan Wasserstrum ’12

SquareFoot Raises Another $16M to be the Modern Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

AlleyWatch sat down with founder Jonathan Wasserstrum to learn more about the company’s expansion plans beyond its NYC footprint and the company’s latest funding round, which brings the total funding raised to $29.4M.


Andrea Olshan ’04

A Canopy by Hilton Right off the Greenway Joins the Rush of Boston Hotels

“We are confident that this development will become an integral part of the historic Blackstone Street block and the nearby North End as a result of its incredible location along the vibrant Greenway circuit,” Olshan CEO Andrea Olshan said in a statement announcing that construction had started.


Olshan on Real Estate Industry (Podcast)

Andrea Olshan, Chief Executive Officer of Olshan Properties, talks about the real estate market with Lisa Abramowicz and Paul Sweeney.


Matthew Klauer ’04

Greystone Arranges $50MM Refi for Hudson Companies’ House No. 94 in Williamsburg Brooklyn

Greystone announced the closing of a $50,000,000 bridge loan made to an affiliate of Hudson Companies, Inc. to refinance House No. 94, a brand new 7-story, 75-unit “80/20” mixed-income multifamily rental building located at 94 North 3rd Street in Williamsburg Brooklyn. The 5-year variable-rate loan was provided by an affiliate of Ares Management LLC to replace the original Wells Fargo construction facility. Greystone Capital Advisors, led by President Drew Fletcher, served as exclusive advisor on the transaction, with support from Managing Director Matthew Klauer and Analyst Cassandra Connolly.

ABL Advisor

CBS Real Estate Alumni Community  

Have you joined the CBS Real Estate Alumni Community? This new and unique community platform (web and mobile app) is exclusively for CBS real estate alumni in the real estate industry. This will be a place for you to connect, collaborate, share opportunities, stay up-to-date on news, real estate events, and much more! Check your email for an invitation to join, or request an invitation.

Quick Links

Join the Real Estate Circle | Mentor a Current Student | Post a Job | WebView | Forward to a Friend | #CBSAtTheCenter

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