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Columbia University Business School Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate

September 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.

Raphael Sidelsky ’99

How to Invest in Multifamily Housing

Raphael Sidelsky, chief investment officer at W5 Group in New York, says those benefits include a solid risk-return profile, cash flow and capital appreciation. Multifamily housing also benefits from declining rates of homeownership, a trend Sidelsky says is likely to persist for the foreseeable future.

US News & World Report

Union Market Is Getting a Huge New Co-Living Building

The concept, says Sidelsky, is a natural progression of the sharing economy—in other words, strangers share cars and bikes, so why not apartments, too? In Washington, the concept is nascent. There’s a WeLive in Crystal City. Inside the District, Ditto Residential has opened three of its Oslo co-living properties, though they’re much smaller than the Highline.


Jonathan Woods ’93

Excelsa Properties Buys Apartment Property Near Oak Forest

“We typically look in urban centers or in closer-in denser market in the path of gentrification and growth,” said Jon Woods, a partner at Excelsa. “Oak Forest is becoming a more gentrified, hipper area. It has good access to employment drivers.”


JV Snags 392-Unit Bayou Parc at Oak Forest

Excelsa Properties partnered with Goldcor Capital Partners to buy Bayou Parc at Oak Forest, a 392-unit, multifamily complex on Houston’s northwest side. Tradewind Properties sold the property, situated at 4000 Wantonga Blvd. The transaction took place approximately six months after international investor Excelsa raised $85.6 million through its Excelsa US Real Estate I LP to acquire value-add, multifamily properties. “Bayou Parc at Oak Forest is a perfect investment for Excelsa, as it is located in one of Houston’s rapidly gentrifying and close-in neighborhoods and enjoys great access to the city’s major employment drivers,” said Excelsa’s Jon Woods.

Connect Texas

Where Does the US Fit in a Changing Global CRE Market?

Excelsa Properties, for example, represents Middle Eastern capital seeking property investments in the US. “Our investors have a lot of opportunities in the Middle Eastern region, but while the returns are good, the risk is often higher,” says Jon Woods, a partner at Excelsa Properties. Instead, they are drawn to the US for the most traditional of reasons: its stable legal framework and tax structure as well as its yield component in what has become a low-yield world, he says.

Globe Street

Andrea Olshan ’04

Olshan Properties Leases 72,906 s/f Total at 99 Hudson St.; NKF Acts as Broker

Olshan Properties’ CEO Andrea Olshan said, “The ongoing success of our leasing program at 99 Hudson is no surprise given the building’s prime location and the quality of the space. These recent deals are a testament to our vision to transform the space by creating attractive and practical pre-built space on several of these floors as designed by our architects, Design Republic. Olshan Properties has raised the bar for quality and usability in the Tribeca office market, which has stimulated demand for our space. We are actively reviewing several new proposals for the remaining office space that we own in the building and look forward to leasing those soon.”

NY Real Estate Journal

Jonathan Wasserstrum ’12

Is Real Estate Crowdfunding a Good Investment?

As the name implies, real estate crowdfunding allows you to contribute your money toward a larger real estate investment. “You get access to deals that wouldn’t have been available to individual investors,” said Jonathan Wasserstrum, founder and CEO of commercial real estate technology company SquareFoot. “It’s not only about access, but also the size of some of these transactions. The average consumer can’t buy a $10 million building, however they can take on a $100 share of it.”


WeWork Competitor on How to Succeed in the Space [video]

Founder and CEO Jonathan Wasserstrum sits down with Yahoo Finance's Adam Shapiro, Akiko Fujita, and Andy Serwer to discuss how the company works.

Yahoo! Finance

Rishi Gupta ’11

Eagle Rock Properties Announces Partner Promotions, Holds $300m close

Eagle Rock Properties has promoted Rishi Gupta and Ilda Rastoder to partner. Gupta and Rastoder helped launched its private equity arm in 2011. They helped with the formation, fundraising and deployment of Eagle Rock’s fund series, which is winding up deployment of its most recent fund, which has amassed over 2,500 apartments in 14 communities within the last two years.

Institutional Real Estate

Gideon Gil ’00

Nightingale, Wafra Seal Coca-Cola Building Acquisition with $700M JPM Loan

Cushman & Wakefield’s Doug Harmon, Adam Spies and Kevin Donner and Avery Silverstein arranged the sale of the asset, which sits at 711 Fifth Avenue between 55th and 56th Streets. The debt was negotiated by C&W’s Gideon Gil, Rob Rubano, Noble Carpenter, Brian Share and Joe Lieske.

Commercial Observer

Jonathan Flaherty ’07

Three Steps Forward: Reducing the CRE Carbon Footprint

The real estate industry is eager to help combat climate change and make sure that the industry contributes their share of the reductions needed to achieve global goals in carbon reduction,” said Jonathan Flaherty, senior director of sustainability and utilities, Tishman Speyer. “However, governments frequently apply local solutions to global problems, with unintended consequences. We look forward to working with policymakers to help create a consistent regulatory framework that can achieve public- and private-sector goals.”


Tillie Galan Borchers ’03

Remember GrowSouth? Fund Set Up to Bring Investment to Dallas’ Forgotten Areas Shows Results?

“We have tried very hard to make a lot of things happen,” Tillie Borchers, Civitas’ director of asset management, told me Friday as we talked about lessons learned and what lies ahead. “We’ve been the Goonies—we’re totally going to make this work.” Like the kids in the 1980s cult classic film, this group has a “never say die” attitude. But even with that mantra, Borchers acknowledges she and her team have at times fallen short. Borchers, who manages the GrowSouth portfolio, is passionate about using her financial skills to try to lift up beleaguered communities in a city that she says lags dreadfully when it comes to even talking about equity—much less taking action.

Dallas News

Matthew Baron ’07

Smaller Apartments Are Doing Big Things for Developers

“We sort of envisioned a market that would skew younger, around 22 to early 30s, maybe single, and don't need as much space and [are] cost-conscious,” [Baron] said. “There is a large subset, almost 30%, of people that fall way outside that demographic: empty nesters, older professionals, divorcees and a bunch of other types. This is another way that the residential market is reinventing itself and catering to a need that is out there.”


Sridhar Vankayala ’08

Millions in Funding Secured for Shops at Ledgewood Commons

“The ownership has already added significant value to Ledgewood Commons via strong pre-leasing and re-commitment from existing tenants, which speaks volumes to the strength of the center,” Vankayala said. “Coupled with robust market and consumer demographics, this gave potential lenders comfort and enabled them to appreciate the center’s potential to transform into a vibrant retail power center anchored by credit tenants.”


Lorenzo Bakewell-Stone ’16

Selling Points

MC Real Estate Partners and a private investor announced their purchase of 155 West 23rd Street from The Kaufman Organization and Goldman Sachs Asset Management Private Real Estate (GSAM PRE) for $39.5 million. The Kaufman Organization’s Michael Kazmierski and Lorenzo Bakewell-Stone and Goldman Sachs Asset Management Private Real Estate led the deal for the sellers.

Real Estate Weekly

James Obletz ’09

Recruiting to Buffalo ‘Is Really About Getting them Here’

“I thought I’d end up going the same route as [my uncle] in that I left Buffalo and never came back,” Obletz said. “But in my case the stars aligned.” His hiring by Delaware North is an example of how companies recruit expats back to Western New York. And it’s not limited to larger employers such as M&T Bank, Rich Products Corp. and General Motors.


Greg Pearson ’17

CenterPoint Acquires Infill Property in San Leandro, California

CenterPoint Properties is proud to announce the acquisition of an 88,378-square-foot property at 425 Hester Street in San Leandro, California. The building is strategically located in the heart of San Leandro, with immediate access to Oakland International Airport and the freeway system. “This investment is emblematic of our continued focus on the infill marketplace,” said Greg Pearson, CenterPoint Vice President of Investments. “As supply chains continue to evolve and reorient, we are confident these ‘micro-spoke’ positions will prove to be invaluable.”

CenterPoint press release

Ed Gormbley ’09

Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling Joined LivingIVE, the Innovative Brand of Newly Revived Apartments, to Celebrate the Brand’s Grand Opening, an innovative apartment company, recently celebrated its latest project at 8 Union Ave in Norwalk, Connecticut. Mayor Harry Rilling was on hand to join Edward Gormbley, Managing Partner for Workforce Partners for the Ribbon Cutting ceremony.

LivingIVE press release

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