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Columbia University Business School Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate

July 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.

Bill Stasiulatis ’04

RRA Capital Announces New CFO

RRA Capital, an emerging leader in commercial real estate bridge lending, has named Bill Stasiulatis as Chief Financial Officer to support its rapidly growing investment fund platform. Stasiulatis joins RRA Capital after 20 years at NYC-based Torchlight Investors, where he oversaw a $4 billion portfolio of commercial real estate debt investments. He served as a Partner and Portfolio Manager, as well as a member of the Board of Directors, Operating Committee, and Investment Committee. At RRA Capital, he will be responsible for further developments to all aspects of financial management, performance, strategy, and risk management in order to continue delivering a best in class service to investors.

Yahoo! Finance

Jonathan Wasserstrum ’12

When is it Time to Move? How Houston’s Small Companies Can Find Their Next Office Space (byline)

There are a number of ways to measure the stage of growth a company is enjoying: funding, headcount, acquisitions, exit strategy, and more. But one telling indicator that often goes overlooked is the office space they call home. In the early days of a startup, working out of someone’s garage or at a nearby coffee shop, you dream of moving into a coworking space. Such a transition can mean a financial squeeze for some, especially when your prior solution was free. But paying for a space can mark a milestone—it signifies that you’ve made it to the next chapter. Houston has a number of great options for the many local early-stage startups undertaking this type of move.


East Coast Love: PropTech Startups Pick NYC Over West Coast

The aforementioned SquareFoot, a platform that aims to help companies find workspaces, moved to New York from Houston in 2013. Jonathan Wasserstrum, the company’s co-founder and CEO and Columbia Business School graduate, said while Houston was strong in the biotech and healthcare tech arenas, it was simply “not a big real estate city.” New York City, he said, is “second to none” from a real estate perspective.


Why Executives Give Up the Corner Office

About two decades ago, Jonathan Wasserstrum toured the renovated offices of then–New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who wanted to recreate the large, open-office layout he used in his private finance network. The CEO of SquareFoot, a commercial real estate company headquartered in New York City, was impressed. “If it's good enough for Bloomberg,” Wasserstrum said to himself, “it’s good enough for me.” So today, he stations himself in the middle of his team of approximately 45 employees.


Howard Fiddle ’87

Investment Bank Takes 78,000 s/f from Rockefeller

Rockefeller Group announced that Greenhill & Co., an independent investment bank, has leased approximately 78,000 s/f at 1271 Avenue of the Americas, the 48-story Rockefeller Center office building where a $600 million redevelopment program is nearing completion. Greenhill was represented by Michael Geoghegan, Andrew Sussman, and Peter Gamber of CBRE. Rockefeller Group was represented by an in-house team of Ed Guiltinan and Jennifer Stein, in coordination with a CBRE team of Mary Ann Tighe, Howard Fiddle, John Maher, Evan Haskell and Dave Caperna.

Real Estate Weekly

Brian Steinwurtzel ’04

TPG Joins Gurals, Northwind on FiDi Office Redevelopment

TPG Real Estate Partners is joining the Gural family and the Northwind Group as the majority stakeholder on their deal to purchase and reposition the 7 Hanover Square office tower in the Financial District, sources told The Real Deal. “They believe in the business plan to redevelop 7 Hanover and they believe in Lower Manhattan and the east side of the Financial District,” GFP co-CEO Brian Steinwurtzel told TRD.

The Real Deal

Ines Leung ’07

Argosy Real Estate Partners Appoints IR Head

Argosy Capital is pleased to announce the addition of Ines Leung at the Head of Investor Relations at Argosy Real Estate Partners. Based in the San Francisco Office, Ms. Leung brings 20 years of real estate-specific transactional and capital raising experience to the firm, and in this role, will provide dedicated service to Argosy’s domestic and global fundraising activities, client servicing and investor communications.

PE Hub

Tom DeRosa ’88

Welltower CEO: We Must Figure Out Affordable, Profitable Senior Living Model

DeRosa pointed to Welltower’s forthcoming senior living project at 56th Street and Lexington Avenue in New York City, which will be a state-of-the-art building for assisted living and memory care—with some rents exceeding $20,000 a month. “You can’t put those on every corner,” DeRosa told SHN. Coming up with a version of senior living that is affordable enough to put on every corner has long been an elusive goal for the industry. However, DeRosa thinks it is becoming possible to create more affordable senior housing that is as profitable as the higher-end product that dominates the market currently.

Senior Housing News

Jessica Sherman ’16

Rising Stars in Real Estate: Jessica Sherman

While Jessica Sherman was growing up, her father Jeff Levine, founded and grew Douglaston Development, which has started and rehabilitated thousands of residential units. Now she is associate vice president of the firm’s affordable housing unit, where, in February 2019, she and her team were selected to develop 160 units at 705 10th Ave. in collaboration with the Actor’s Fund.

Crain's New York Business

Allison Chiaramonte ’09

Rising Stars in Real Estate: Allison Chiaramonte

Known for her success as a luxury real estate broker, Allison Chiaramonte has done over $35 million in sales in the first half of 2019 alone. Key to her success has been her prowess on social media, leading Forbes to name her one of its “Luxury Real Estate Brokers Killing It On Instagram.” She is often quoted in the media on topics ranging from home renovations to family lifestyle.

Crain's New York Business

Matthew Baron ’07

Simon Baron Gets $240M Refi for What’s Billed as Country’s Largest Co-Living Project

Simon Baron president Matt Baron said in a statement that the size of the transaction “further validates the strength of the Long Island City market and our vision of the future there.”

The Real Deal

Bill O’Connor ’96

Discount Giant to Anchor Second Phase of Orlando Development

Target will open a 65,000-sq.-ft. store at Vineland Pointe, the new 450,000-sq.-ft. retail center in Orlando, Fla. O’Connor Capital Partners brokered the deal. “Target is a phenomenal anchor for Phase 2 of Vineland Pointe, bringing the ultimate in convenience retail for our shoppers,” said Bill O’Connor, CEO of O’Connor Capital Partners. “Both to the local community and Orlando visitors will benefit from this new destination shopping option.”

Chain Store Age

Jonathan More ’09

Mission Capital Arranges $15.2M Loan for Brooklyn Redevelopment Project

Mission Capital Advisors has arranged a $15.2 million loan for The Box Factory, a former industrial building in Brooklyn that is being redeveloped into a 65,837-square-foot office and entertainment complex. Proceeds will be used to refinance construction debt and further redevelop the property. Jonathan More, Ari Hirt and Lexington Henn of Mission Capital arranged the financing on behalf of the project development team.

RE Business Online

Redeveloped Brooklyn Asset Gets $15M Refi

Hornig Capital Partners and Brickman Real Estate have received a $15.2 million refinancing for The Box Factory, a recently redeveloped creative office and flex asset in Brooklyn. Mission Capital provided the loan, which will be used for the project’s ongoing transformation into creative office and entertainment space. The Mission Capital Debt and Equity Finance Group team of Jonathan More, Ari Hirt and Lexington Henn represented the borrower in the deal.

Commercial Property Executive

Christopher Capece ’04

AvalonBay Plans More than 300 Luxury Rentals at Site of Former Hospital in Amityville

Christopher Capece, AvalonBay’s vice president of development, stated in an email that village officials “were pretty clear that they wanted something historically contextual.” He said the company looked at the triangle building downtown and at photos of historic waterfront hotels in the village and “took design cues from these buildings and incorporated them” into the plans.


Matthew Klauer ’04

Greystone Provides $178M Refi on Downtown BK Apartments

Greystone has closed on a $178-million permanent loan to a joint venture of Rose Associates and Benenson Capital Partners to refinance Hoyt & Horn, a newly-built mixed-income multifamily rental project in downtown Brooklyn. The 15-year fixed-rate loan was originated by Wells Fargo Multifamily Capital. Greystone Capital Advisors, led by President Drew Fletcher, served as exclusive advisor on the transaction, with support from Managing Director Matthew Klauer and Associate Bryan Grover.

Connect New York

Constantine Valhouli ’03

New York City Buyers and Brokers Rush to Close Ahead of New Mansion Tax

For all of the buzz surrounding New York City’s recently enacted “mansion tax,” is it not the first time such a duty has been imposed. In 1989, Governor Mario Cuomo levied a 1% tax on statewide homes that sold for $1 million or more. Analyst Constantine Valhouli of NeighborhoodX notes that the median price of Manhattan apartments was $265K at the time. “Today there are studio apartments that meet this rule's threshold to be taxed as mansions.”


“It Is Erasing Our History:” New Development Blurs Boundaries

It matters to realtors and developers with properties in Roxbury, explains real estate researcher Constantine Valhouli, because they may prefer to fudge the neighborhood border and market their properties in the trendy South End instead. “For the most part, everyone is making it up,” he says. Valhouli points to Mass. Ave., which many people define as the border between the South End and Roxbury. A look at the real estate website Trulia’s price map shows that median list prices can be up to $100,000 higher on the South End side of Mass. Ave.


Zach Aarons ’13

Peak Funding May Have Hit Construction Tech Startups

Zach Aarons, partner and co-founder of MetaProp (which invested in Avvir), remains bullish on the space. “From our perspective, the market is hot. All of the deals are super competitive and we are scratching and clawing to win allocations.”


Hot Tech Sector, Wall Street Drive Record Manhattan Leasing

Venture capital is pouring into Manhattan, lifting rents in the chic Flatiron section and other areas of the city and driving start-ups into a Garment district increasingly awash in fast-casual dining options, said Zach Aarons, co-founder and partner at venture capital firm MetaProp. “More tech firms are coming into this neighborhood in what seems like every single week,” said Aarons, whose firm in May launched its third “proptech” fund that hopes to raise $100 million, according to regulatory filings. “There’s certainly more venture capital than ever before coming into this space, more strategic capital,” he said.


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