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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.

Commercial Observer's "Power 100" List

Congratulations to the following alumni for making the 2019 "Power 100" List:

#30: Tommy Craig ’82

#33: David Simon ’85

#44: Nicholas Bienstock ’96

#53: Paul Pariser ’78

#64: Ronald Dickerman ’87

#71: Meredith Marshall ’92

#78: Henry Elghanayan ’67

Ankur Gupta ’12

Leela Venture Sells Hospitality Business to Brookfield for Rs 3,950 Crore

“We are excited with this opportunity and look forward to completing this transaction at the earliest, while ensuring that all operations remain unaffected. We expect the Leela hotels to continue to be market leaders,” said Ankur Gupta, managing director and head-India Real Estate, Brookfield Asset Management.


Jonathan Wasserstrum ’12

Silicon Central: How New York Tech Grew Up and Moved Uptown

And we aren’t going to see tumbleweeds in Flatiron any time soon. The SquareFoot reports a 3% vacancy rate in Flatiron and maintains its HQ there. “We like it around here,” says Jonathan Wasserstrum, CEO and founder of The SquareFoot. “For us, half of the appeal is the startups around us, and the other half is that it’s pretty centrally located with transit accessibility throughout the city as our brokers run around town all day.”


Long Island City’s Amazon Effect

When Amazon announced its retreat from Queens amid a backlash from local activists, Long Island City seemed to have lost 25,000 new jobs and billions of dollars in investment. Instead, two months later, the neighborhood is experiencing a boom: Other companies have grabbed much of the 1.5-million-square-foot, all-glass building that was to be the beachhead of Amazon’s Queens expansion, and interest has surged in nearby commercial real estate. “It’s an Amazon effect,” says Jonathan Wasserstrum, CEO of SquareFoot, a commercial real estate company. “A lot of people now get to piggyback on the work that they did.”


“Strongly encourage employees to build their professional networks” with Jonathan Wasserstrum and Phil Laboon

As part of my series of interviews about “How to Use LinkedIn To Dramatically Improve Your Business,” I had the pleasure of interviewing Jonathan Wasserstrum. Jonathan is the co-founder and CEO of SquareFoot, a commercial real estate technology company based in New York. Jonathan co-founded SquareFoot in 2012, and in 2018 the team closed a $7M Series A fundraising round. Prior to SquareFoot, Jonathan earned his MBA at Columbia Business School and worked within the International Capital Group at Jones Lang LaSalle.

Thrive Global

Hugh Frater ’85

Fannie Mae Taps Hugh Frater as Permanent CEO

Fannie Mae has named Hugh R. Frater as CEO. Frater has served as the GSE’s interim CEO since October 2018 and has been on its Board since 2016. Fannie undertook a six-month nationwide search to fill the position. “I am honored with this opportunity to lead Fannie Mae and to play a part in the company’s important contributions to the housing finance system,” Frater said in a prepared statement.

Globe Street

Zach Aarons ’13

Real Estate Investors Shouldn't Give Up On Retail

Retail locations and warehouse spaces for shipping are two distinct entities within real estate, but the line between them may soon blur, says Zach Aarons, co-founder and partner at venture capital fund Metaprop. Aarons says malls often have dead space as stores close, but at the same time, “retailers in malls want to ship stuff directly from their stores, but they don’t have logistics centers nearby.”

US News & World Report: Money

In the Apartment Amenity Arms Race, Service and Technology Win Out

Smart apartment technology—especially when it comes to locks, in-building messaging, and energy efficiency—has attracted greater interest from landlords, developers, and tech firms, says Zach Aarons, a co-founder of real estate technology, or proptech, venture capital fund MetaProp.


New York Real Estate’s Tough Talk is Like “Fresh Air” for Proptech Entrepreneurs

“People ask me all the time, “What inning are we in in the proptech evolution?” There are some sectors we look at in proptech where forget inning; we’re not even in the stadium,” he said. “We’re like tailgating outside the stadium right now.”

The Real Deal

Gideon Gil ’00

Cushman & Wakefield Arranged $75M Refinancing for Mixed-Use Building in Brooklyn

Cushman & Wakefield has arranged a $75 million refinancing for The Lane at Boerum Place, a 133,387-square-foot residential and retail building in Brooklyn. Located at 415 Red Hook Lane, Rumble Boxing anchors the 108-unit project’s retail component. Gideon Gil, Alexander Hernandez, Noble Carpenter III and Zachary Kraft secured financing on behalf of the borrower, Quinlan Development Group & Lonicera Partners.

RE Business Online

LoanCore Provides $90M Financing on Muss’ Brooklyn Renaissance Plaza

Muss Secures $90M Financing for Renaissance Plaza in Brooklyn

Muss Development and partner HomeFed Corporation have locked in $90 million in debt from LoanCore Capital to finance a portion of the office condominium within Brooklyn Renaissance Plaza, the duo’s mixed-use complex in Downtown Brooklyn, according to city records and a source familiar with the transaction. Cushman & Wakefield’s Gideon Gil, Alex Lapidus and Emily Johansen represented Muss and HomeFed in arranging the financing.

Commercial Observer & Real Estate Weekly

Robert Reffkin ’03

Compass Strikes Deal to Buy Stribling

In a statement Wednesday, Reffkin said that Compass was “honored that they have chosen to align their impressive organization with ours.”

The Real Deal

Education is the Most Important Pathway for Potential [Podcast]

In 2012, [Reffkin] co-founded Real Estate tech disruptor, Compass, with partner and technology expert, Ori Allon. He also raised $1.3 million to help the Success Charter Network open its first school in the Bronx and he ran 50 marathons in 50 states to raise $1 million dollars for education. Robert Reffkin joins former SEC chairman Arthur Levitt to talk about the company he started in a single downtown Manhattan office, now valued at 4.4 Billion dollars.


Jonathan More ’09

Mission Capital Provides Bridge Debt on First-of-Its-Kind Ace Hotel

Mission Capital Advisors has arranged $80 million of bridge financing for the recently-completed Sister City hotel, a 200-key hospitality property at the intersection of Downtown’s SoHo and Lower East Side neighborhoods. The Mission Capital team of  Jonathan More, Steve Buchwald, Ari Hirt and Jamie Matheny arranged the first-mortgage financing from Bank Hapoalim, on behalf of a partnership between Omnia and Northwind Group.

Connect New York

Geoff Goldstein ’07

Allen Morris Lands $100M Loan for Star Metals Office Building in Atlanta

Star Metals Offices is scheduled for delivery in Fall of 2020. The HFF debt placement team representing the borrower was led by senior director Geoff Goldstein, managing director Gregg Shapiro and director Matt Casey.

Globe Street

Barings Delivers $100M Construction Loan for Atlanta Creative Office Development

Barings Delivers $100M Construction Loan for Atlanta Creative Office Development The Allen Morris Company secured a $100 million construction loan for the development of Star Metals Offices, a 14-story, roughly 267,237-square-foot creative office building in Atlanta. The West Midtown submarket project also includes nearly 40,000 square feet of retail space. HFF’s Geoff Goldstein, Gregg Shapiro and Matt Casey placed the floating-rate construction loan with Barings LLC, on behalf of institutional investors, and Bank OZK.

Connect Commercial Real Estate

Jeremy Shell ’04

NYC Mixed-Use Project Advances with 2 Residential Towers

“Long Island City is rapidly growing, attracting new residents, companies and thriving local shops and restaurants. This project will serve to foster that growth with a diverse mix of housing and community amenities to ensure new and old residents can stay in the community they love,” TF Cornerstone Principal Jeremy Shell said in a prepared statement.

Multi-Housing News

Tom DeRosa ’88

Making Plays: Senior Living Is the Asset Class Du Jour for Welltower and Others

Welltower’s two new developments will be the company’s first foray into Manhattan—a nod to an increasing awareness that seniors want to age in place. The REIT was early to the trend of developing luxury senior housing in New York. In 2016, Welltower CEO Tom DeRosa approached Hines about partnering on such a development. Hines had been eyeing a few sites for development in Manhattan at that time, so the two clicked.

Commercial Observer

Rachel Diller ’99

Cities and Investors De-Mystify the Opportunity Zone Capital Stack

There are three kinds of Opportunity Zone real estate projects, says Rachel Diller of Hunt UrbanView. Some would have earned sufficient returns without the OZ incentive. Others won’t work without additional subsidies like low-interest loans.

Impact Alpha

Selling Points: Domain Buys South Bronx Development Site

“We are thrilled to launch our Opportunity Zone investment strategy with Domain in the South Bronx. Domain’s history of community engagement, coupled with the potential for inclusive growth in the South Bronx through mixed-income housing, represents what we believe is the intent of the Opportunity Zone program,” says Rachel Diller, Senior Managing Director Equity Strategies.

Real Estate Weekly

Matthew Rosenzweig ’91

Marcus & Millichap Brokers Two Brooklyn Sales Totaling $3.48M; Includes a $2.5 Sale by Riney and Greenblatt

According to John Horowitz, first vice president - regional manager of the Marcus & Millichap’s Brooklyn office, the firm has arranged two sales totaling $3.48 million. The deals include the $980,000 sale of 648 Midwood St., a 7,920 s/f development site. Jakub Nowak and Matthew Rosenzweig in Marcus & Millichap’s Brooklyn office had the exclusive listing to market the property on behalf of the seller, a private investor.

New York Real Estate Journal

Scott Meyer ’14

South Florida Opportunity Zone Investments Strong Even Before Latest Guidelines

“Initially, just the law itself was really attractive and powerful for real estate developers who want to build and hold for a long period like we do,” said Scott Meyer, who is part of the joint venture developing Soleste Grand Central in a designated zone near the Virgin MiamiCentral passenger train station.

Daily Business Review

Ross Smotrich ’83

Toughened Rent Control Gains Speed

A recent Barclays PLC report forecast apartment REIT earnings to be strong for the first quarter of 2019, citing high occupancy rates and low apartment turnover. “The tone we’re expecting from the multifamily guys should be fairly positive,” said Ross Smotrich, a Barclays analyst. But Mr. Smotrich said speculation over the spread of rent control laws is difficult to account for in longer-term forecasts.

Wall Street Journal

Jonathan Flaherty ’07

REBNY Offering Energy Efficiency Education

“REBNY’s new education program is yet another example of how the real estate industry is committed to helping New York City achieve its climate goals,” said Jonathan Flaherty, Co-Chair of REBNY’s Sustainability Committee and Senior Director, Sustainability and Utilities at Tishman Speyer. “Tishman Speyer knows that sustainability is critical to our success and we’re pleased that REBNY is launching this new program at such a critical time.”

Real Estate Weekly

Howard Fiddle ’87

A Midtown Oasis: A $40 MM Renovation Makes 1540 Broadway the Ultimate Office Experience

“It’s being gutted and completely redone. Everything will be brand new,” said Howard Fiddle, Vice Chairman of CBRE, who is spearheading the leasing efforts at the building. “Every elevator in the building stops on this floor. That accessibility is unique. And the design, by Gensler, will be as good aesthetically and functionally as any amenity floor in the entire city.”

Commercial Observer

EmblemHealth Renews 440,00 s/f Lease at 55 Water Street

Fiddle of CBRE added, “55 Water is a spectacular institutionally owned office building with extremely large and efficient floorplates that are complimented with a plethora of desirable amenities in addition to wonderful views. We are very pleased to know that EmblemHealth will be an important tenant in the building for many, many years.”

Real Estate Weekly

Michael Tillman ’11

Luxury Developers in Miami Eye Low-Income Tax Breaks

Luxury Developers in Miami Eye Low-Income Tax Breaks Michael Tillman, chief executive of the real-estate development and investment company PTM Partners, launched an Opportunity Zone fund last year. He uses a mapping tool to churn through demographic data on the country's 8,700 opportunity zones and identify those that share certain characteristics with booming neighborhoods like New York’s Williamsburg or Miami’s Wynwood. Once he has identified areas within opportunity zones where rents are likely to rise in the coming years, he looks for suitable sites. The exercise helped bring him to a plot of land in Miami’s Overtown neighborhood, where PTM is now codeveloping a 360-unit rental apartment building with a spa and resort-style pool deck. Mr. Tillman said 11% of the apartments will be affordable.

Wall Street Journal

Will New Opportunity Zones Rules Propel an Office Boom?

When Michael Tillman’s PTM Partners bought property in Overtown in February to build an 18-story apartment complex, it became one of the first Miami-based real estate firms to utilize the Opportunity Zone program.

The Real Deal: Miami

Is an Opportunity Zone the Right Investment for You?

Michael Tillman, chief executive of PTM Partners, an opportunity zone fund, agreed. “The deals should be the same deals you’d be doing if they weren’t in an opportunity zone,” he said.

New York Times

Jenny Hammarlund ’05

H.I.G Adds Two Managing Directors to Real Estate Team

H.I.G. Capital has named Jérome Fouillé and Jenny Hammarlund as managing directors to its real estate team. Prior to joining H.I.G., Fouillé was managing director and head of tactical opportunities at GIC while Hammarlund was a director in the real estate team at

PE Hub Network

Paul Pariser ’78

International Center of Photography Closes on $29M space at Essex Crossing

“[The ICP] needed to come up with capital to buy a condominium unit,” said Paul Pariser, CEO of Taconic Investment Partners, one of the joint-venture partners building Essex Crossing. One commercial unit will be for the center’s school and a community space will serve as its museum, Pariser said.

The Real Deal

Zach Aarons ’13 & Zak Schwarzman ’13

Seeking an Edge, Developers and Investors Turn to ‘Proptech’

“Real estate is such a long-game business, and it’s such a fragmented and idiosyncratic business that it’s been challenging for outsiders to break in,” said Zach Aarons, a co-founder of MetaProp, a New York venture capital firm focused on proptech. “But there’s been a global shift in the talent going into the industry, and investors are waking up to the opportunity.”

But because there is no unified definition of how the sector should be measured, investment estimates often vary by source, said Zak Schwarzman, a partner at MetaProp. For example, WeWork, which has attracted billions of dollars in investment, is not always counted as proptech.

New York Times

David Simon ’85

Simon Property Group is Breaking Barriers around Unified Commerce

David Simon knows [about the phenomenon of the Display Only Retail Environment (DORE)]. That’s why he is CEO of the largest mall developer in the country, with over 200 of the best remaining malls. It’s also quite likely that when the 1,300 or so malls that exist today are reduced to 500 or 600, in say the next decade, Simon Property Group will still own and manage the best ones. So, I wasn’t entirely surprised when I learned of Simon’s latest venture, that of an online shopping platform.


Matthew Finkle ’99

Red Mortgage Capital, Related Companies, and Texas Housing Foundation Close $22 Million Rural Affordable Portfolio

“Related Affordable has preserved tens of thousands of affordable housing units across the country and has never taken a single unit to market rate. This is a promise we will once again make to our community partners in Texas,” said Matthew Finkle, President at Related Affordable. “Related takes great pride in building neighborhoods, and it is because of partners like the Texas Housing Foundation and RED that we are able to provide long-term affordable housing to those who need it most.”


Lorenzo Bakewell-Stone ’16

Kaufman Organization Lands $120M Refi for NYC Portfolio

The Kaufman Organization has secured a $120 million refinancing loan for its four-building Madison Square portfolio in the Flatiron and NoMad neighborhoods of Manhattan. The three-year first mortgage loan was secured through Capital One. Located at 15 W. 27th St., 45 W. 27th St, 19 W. 24th St. and 119 W. 24th St., the four office properties comprise a total of 341,596 square feet. The buildings are part of the former FM Ring portfolio that was purchased by Kaufman in 2014 from Extell Development for $86.6 million, in a joint venture with Principal Real Estate Investors. Kaufman was represented in-house in the transaction by Michael Kazmierski and Lorenzo Bakewell-Stone.

Commercial Property Executive

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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