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Columbia University Business School Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate

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.

Tom DeRosa ’88

Welltower Named One of the World’s Most Admired Companies by Fortune Magazine

“We are honored to be included on Fortune’s World’s Most Admired Companies list this year,” said Tom DeRosa, Welltower’s Chief Executive Officer. “This acknowledgement reflects our leadership role in the transformation of health care infrastructure and affirms our strategic emphasis on innovation, our excellence in sustainability, diversity, social responsibility and governance, and the long-term value proposition of our platform.”

PR Newswire

Bill O’Connor ’96

Dine-in Theater Chain Alamo Drafthouse Plans to Open in Orlando Near Disney World

Alamo Drafthouse to Open Near Disney World in 2020

“Bringing this premium entertainment concept to Vineland Pointe helps fulfill our vision for a true experiential destination,” said a statement from developer Bill O’Connor, CEO of O’Connor Capital Partners. “Our goal is to create a compelling mix of entertainment and retail to serve the needs of the community as well as Orlando visitors.”

Orlando Sentinal & Travel + Leisure

Jonathan Luttwak ’14

Axonic Capital Signs 10-Year Lease at 520 Madison Ave.

Cushman & Wakefield Arranges Midtown Lease for Investment Firm

“Ultimately, this location allowed Axonic to increase their footprint by 60% while meeting all of their desired operational objective,” says Luttwak. “At 520 Madison, Axonic Capital will have an entire floor, increased natural light, great views, and a quality landlord that supported a lease structure that met the tenant’s real estate needs.”

Globe Street & Real Estate Weekly

Rachel Diller ’99

Hunt Brings On UrbanView Real Estate Equity Platform

Hunt Capital Holdings, a leading real asset investment firm, announced today that Rachel Diller has joined the firm as Senior Managing Director and Head of Private Real Estate Equity Strategies, bringing over her UrbanView Capital platform….In this newly created role, Diller will focus on building Hunt’s private real estate equity investment platform.

PR Newswire

Hunt Capital Adds UrbanView Platform

Rachel Diller has joined Hunt Capital Holdings as senior managing director and head of private real estate equity strategies, bringing over her UrbanView Capital platform. In this newly created role, Diller will focus on building Hunt’s private real estate equity investment business.

Affordable Housing Finance

Jim Sullivan ’89

Retail’s Winners & Losers

If you relied on mainstream media reports of the past couple of years, you would think that retail real estate was doomed. But many retail property companies report strong performance. That disconnect was the topic of a panel discussion at the Goodwin-Columbia University Capital Markets conference. “How do I separate for the audience the headlines from what is really happening in retail?” asked moderator Jim Sullivan, president of the Green Street Advisory Group.

Commercial Property Executive

David Simon ’85

The CEO of the Biggest Mall Owner in the US Says He’s Nervous About More Retail Bankruptcies This Year

“I think we’ve never been busier on the alternative uses,” David Simon said as he told analysts about what’s coming down the pipeline, adding the future of the mall is all about “live, work, play.”


Country’s Biggest Mall Owner Warns Retail Apocalypse May Not Be Over

While Simon said he didn’t expect as many retail bankruptcies this year as we’ve seen the past two, there are still lingering questions about some companies that struggled last year. Sears is still very much on the edge as chairman Eddie Lampert tries to save 400 stores amid resistance from creditors (including Simon) and JC Penney has shut down hundreds of stores as well. To fill those gaps, Simon has been working with hotels, gyms, and other non-traditional mall tenants to fill the vacant spaces left by consolidating and collapsing retailers.


Clelia Peters ’09

How This Former Humanitarian is Leveraging Cutting-Edge Technology in Real Estate

Clelia Warburg Peters, president of Warburg Realty, brings significant experience in strategic business development, cutting-edge technology and financial investing to her role at the firm. With international business experience, Peters introduces a global perspective to a local community.


Why Does it Feel Like Everyone Has More Money than You?

Judgments tend to be harsher for women than men. “People who come from privilege are often discouraged from talking about the fact, it’s perceived as bragging,” says Clelia Warburg Peters, president of Warburg Realty. “Our country was built on the backs of men who inherited money from their fathers, but somehow a woman who inherits, she’s just a spoiled rich girl.”

Harper’s Bazaar

Tripty Arya ’12

Women Leading the AI Industry: “The best decisions I took in retrospect were often the most ridiculed” with Tripty Arya and Tyler Gallagher

“In 2017, I took a decision to stop doing construction and focused on solving the problem for scalability. The only solution that made sense was to mimic the human field experience using Artificial Intelligence. A decade after starting Travtus, we again became a startup and changed direction to focus on building our IP for creating AI solutions for Property Operations.”

Authority Magazine

Robert Wennett ’85

Robert Wennett Wins Miami Board Approval for Massive, Mixed-Use Project in Allapattah

Robert Wennett’s proposed massive mixed-use project in Allapattah, which could include the only co-living spaces currently allowed in Miami, is a step closer to becoming a reality. Miami’s Planning, Zoning, and Appeals Board backed the development of the 1.4 million-square-foot project by a vote of 8-2 during a meeting Wednesday evening, despite some anxiety that it could speed up gentrification of Allapattah.

The Real Deal: Miami

Scott Shapiro ’99

Liz Dunn, Scott Shapiro sell Melrose Market on Capitol Hill

Seattle developers Liz Dunn and Scott Shapiro, bought two old auto repair shops just as the recession started. Working with Graham Baba Architects and MRJ Constructors, they created the food and retail market.


Grow Seattle: Housing Developer Says Upzoning Will Help Seattle’s Housing Crunch

Developer and investor Scott Shapiro of Eagle Rock Ventures said Seattle could boost production of affordable housing by simplifying its code and upzoning more areas to allow denser development.


Sal Smeke ’19

Common Expands Co-GP Vehicle to Invest Alongside Development Partners

Common, the nation’s leading residential brand enhancing the value of real estate for partners through convenience, technology, and community, today announced the launch of its first dedicated co-general partner (co-GP) vehicle, Common Strategic Capital. Common will partner with Sal and Alberto Smeke, owners of the largest multifamily portfolio in Mexico, on this exclusive vehicle, which will co-invest alongside Common’s real estate development partners in coliving and multi-family properties managed by Common.


Real-Estate Startups Try Their Hand at Private-Equity Investing

Brad Hargreaves, founder of the co-living company Common Living Inc., said his investment fund improves his access to the best properties. The company announced last month its new investment vehicle, Common Strategic Capital, in partnership with Mexican multifamily owners Sal and Alberto Smeke.

Wall Street Journal

Erik Horvat ’04

Preservation Commission Approves 550 Madison Ave Renovation

“We are very excited to start exterior work, and continue ongoing interior improvements, to restore the building to its original prominence as a top Class A commercial destination in New York City. With modern interiors, a world-class public open space, and preserved façade, the building will once again attract top companies to East Midtown,” Erik Horvat, Director of Real Estate at Olayan America, said in a statement.


LPC Approves 550 Madison Renovation

Erik Horvat, of Real Estate at Olayan America, said: “We look forward to collaborating with the Landmarks Preservation Commission as we finalize our plans.” A design by Snøhetta will preserve and revitalize the landmark tower, undo past renovations and reconceive 550 Madison’s public spaces.

Real Estate Weekly

Brett Rosenberg ’06

JLL Brokers $37M Loan for Pan-Brothers, Valyrian

Pan-Brothers Association and Valyrian Capital have secured a $36.7 million loan to build their new mixed-use property in Chelsea. JLL Capital Markets experts brokered the loan to finance the development of 128-130 West 23rd Street, a luxury residential property with ground-floor retail. The loan was placed with CapitalSource. Jonathan Schwartz, Max Herzog, Brett Rosenberg and Chris Byrns, led the JLL team handling the debt assignment.

Real Estate Weekly

Constantine Valhouli ’03

Why Watertown Is Seeking a Development—and a Home Price—Boom

“They’re bidding a little higher,” said Constantine Valhouli, cofounder and research director at NeighborhoodX. “I don’t see it being massively dramatic, but it’s sustainable, real growth.”

Long Island City Brokers Bemoan Loss of Amazon HQ, But Say Market There Still Strong

Constantine Valhouli, cofounder of real estate data firm NeighborhoodX, took a more contrarian view of the decision, saying that Amazon’s second headquarters was never going to be as “transformative” for New York as it would have for another, second-tier city. “Amazon’s decision to bring HQ2 to New York City added one more corporate headquarters to a city already full of them,” Valhouli says.


HQ2 Fallout: Is Amazon’s Loss Long Island City’s Win?

As Constantine Valhouli, director of research for real estate analytics firm NeighborhoodX, put it, things might actually be better for the city without Amazon on the ground. “Everything will be fine, if not even better than under the earlier agreement,” Valhouli said. “This protracted bidding process for Amazon’s HQ2 has felt like a reality show, where the cities are contestants bidding against each other for the privilege of hosting one of the wealthiest companies in the world. A dramatic twist at the last moment? It doesn’t even feel surprising anymore. It also feels like Amazon has overplayed its hand and risks turning public sentiment against them.”


Christopher Capece ’04

Matt Whalen to Leave AvalonBay

Matthew Whalen, one of the leading pioneers of new rental developments on Long Island, will retire from his post at AvalonBay Communities this summer....Christopher Capece, who currently serves as AvalonBay’s vice president of development in the region and has spent 14 years with the firm, will succeed Whalen.

Long Island Business News

Jonathan Wasserstrum ’12

SquareFoot Acquires PivotDesk to Expand Product Offerings for Tenants

“As we began to look for ways to further establish ourselves as the one-stop shop for all small- and medium-business office space needs, the opportunity to pair PivotDesk’s flexible, space-sharing marketplace with the technology, marketing, and brokerage expertise we have at SquareFoot was an ideal one. I look forward to growing our tenant-obsessed, technology-fueled commercial real estate company across the country.”

SquareFoot press release

Meredith Marshall ’92

Meredith Marshall’s Mixed-Income Approach

Developers need a range of talents, including nerves of steel and an appetite for risk. New York-based BRP Cos.’s co-founder and managing partner Meredith Marshall checks these boxes and more. In fact, BRP is undertaking one of the more challenging areas of real estate today: developing within opportunity zones.

Multi-Housing News

Christopher Monsif ’15

Hodes Weill & Associates Bolsters Real Estate Advisory Services Practice

Hodes Weill & Associates, a global advisory firm focused on the real estate investment and funds management industry, today announced that it has appointed Christopher Monsif, who is a Principal with the firm, to advance the continued growth of its real estate advisory practice, which focuses on mergers and acquisitions, restructurings and recapitalizations, and general strategic advice. To date, the firm has completed advisory assignments involving asset management platforms, portfolios and assets comprising in excess of $91 billion of AUM.


Thomas R. Campbell ’09

New York City Tries Modular Construction for Affordable Homes

“Modular removes the effects of the elements, allows the project to be built in a controlled environment and allows for better precision and a better way for all the elements of the project to fit together,” said Thomas R. Campbell, managing member of Thorobird.

Wall Street Journal

Michael Tillman ’11

Douglas Gets Opportunity Zone Investment, $100M Loan for Buzzard Point Project

PTM Partners last year launched a $125M fund to invest in opportunity zones, areas designated by local governments that offer tax breaks through the program formed with the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. This represents PTM’s second investment, following a January deal with EIG for a $100M multifamily project in Downtown Miami. PTM President Michael Tillman said it is seeking to invest in areas that promise solid returns while also providing a social impact. “Buzzard Point is a phenomenal submarket. You can see it’s poised for growth with two stadiums nearby,” Tillman said. “The building is truly one of a kind, it sits right on the water, and we have a developer partner who has a great feel for the market.”


Scott Meyer ’14

Largest Opportunity Zone Transaction to Date in the DC Area Closes

“In closing our second qualified opportunity zone acquisition, we are drawing on PTM’s extensive development and construction experience to provide our investment partners with maximum value,” said Scott Meyer, CIO. “PTM currently has a robust pipeline of acquisition opportunities and looks forward to investing in and developing projects that will positively impact neighborhoods and their residents.”

Real Assets Advisor

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