Real Estate Capital Markets Conference

2018 Featured Speakers

smr 2017
Stephen M. Ross
Keynote Speaker
Chairman and Founder, Related Companies

Stephen M. Ross is the Chairman and Founder of Related Companies. Mr. Ross formed Related in 1972 and today the company includes over 3,000 professionals. Related is one of the largest owners of affordable housing, and has over $50 billion in real estate assets owned or under development, including mixed-use, residential, retail and office properties in premier high-barrier-to-entry markets. Mr. Ross is also the owner of the Miami Dolphins.

Mr. Ross is Chairman of the Board of Directors of Equinox Holdings, Inc., serves on the Executive Committee and is a trustee of Lincoln Center, and is a trustee of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. He is a director on the board of the Jackie Robinson Foundation, the New York Stem Cell Foundation, and The Shed and is chairperson emeritus of the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), the city’s leading real estate trade association. Mr. Ross is also a director on the board of the World Resources Institute (WRI) and established both the WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, an innovative new initiative to integrate urban planning, sustainable transport, energy and climate change, water resources, and governance and the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) to harness the unifying power of sports to improve race relations and drive social progress.

Over the years, Mr. Ross has received numerous honors for his business, civic, and philanthropic activities. Most recently, he was a New York Power Player by the New York Times, the Most Powerful Person in New York Real Estate by the New York Observer, Multi-Family Property Executive of the Year by Commercial Property News, and Housing Person of the Year by the National Housing Conference.  He also received The National Building Museum Honor Award, REBNY’s Harry B. Helmsley Distinguished New Yorker Award and the Jack D. Weiler Award from UJA. Crain’s New York named Mr. Ross one of the 100 Most Influential Leaders in Business and he was recognized by NYC & Company with their Leadership in Tourism Award.  In 2013, Mr. Ross pledged to give more than half of his estate to philanthropic causes and charitable organizations through the Giving Pledge, a long-term global initiative created by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates that aims to inspire deeper engagement in philanthropy and increase charitable giving globally.

Mr. Ross graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree, from Wayne State University Law School with a Juris Doctor degree and from New York University School of Law with a Master of Laws in Taxation. In 2004, the University of Michigan renamed its business school the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan and in 2011 the University of Michigan awarded Mr. Ross an honorary degree, Doctor of Laws.

Roy March
Roy H. March
Featured Speaker
Chief Executive Officer, Eastdil Secured

Roy March is the chief executive officer of Eastdil Secured, L.L.C., the leading real estate investment banking company in the United States.

He has more than 39 years of real estate experience at Eastdil Secured across financing, sales, acquisition, and capital markets activities in the United States, Europe, and East Asia.

Founded in 1967, Eastdil was the first real estate investment banking firm in the United States. Eastdil Secured is a wholly owned subsidiary of Wells Fargo Bank, one of the largest financial service companies in the world and the largest commercial real estate lender in the U.S. In 2009, as a result of the Wells Wachovia merger, the real estate investment banking division of Wachovia was moved to Eastdil Secured forming the first comprehensive end to end real estate banking investment platform in the industry. The New York based firm was involved in over $1.6 trillion in transactions from 2007.

Roy serves on various industry, corporate and community boards, is a Trustee of the Urban Land Institute, is past Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Samuel Zell and Robert Lurie Real Estate Center at The Wharton School at The University of Pennsylvania, the Board of Directors of Real Estate Roundtable and was on the Board of Directors for Pension Real Estate Association (PREA). He is also a member of NAREIT – the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts, and the International Council of Shopping Centers. He was past president of the Friends of Malibu Urgent Care, serves on the board of The Painted Turtle, a summer camp for children with chronic or life-threatening illnesses. He is on the Executive Campaign Committee for Union Rescue Mission in Los Angeles, an organization to end homelessness and serves the homeless population in Los Angeles, and is co-founder of March to the Top-Africa.

2018 SPEAKERS

Zach Aarons
Zach Aarons ’13
Co-Founder, MetaProp; Project Manager, Millennium Partners

Zach Aarons is a co-founder and Partner at MetaProp NYC, and a project manager at Millennium Partners.  Zach is the most active real estate technology investor in the United States, funding over 100 startups in the space.  Prior to joining Millennium and founding MetaProp NYC, Zach was a Senior Associate at ENIAC Ventures, a seed stage mobile technology fund and the founder of Travelgoat, an online and offline walking tour business.  He began his career as an analyst at boutique investment bank Peter J. Solomon Company.  Zach currently serves as Treasurer of the Board of Directors of The Lowline and on the Board of Trustees of The Tenement Museum. He is an Associate Adjunct Professor at the Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation.  He graduated Magna Cum Laude with an A.B. from Brown University and earned an MBA from Columbia Business School.

Ivo de Wit
Ivo de Wit ’17
Managing Director and Fund Manager of the Global Alpha Fund, CBRE Global Investment Partners

Ivo de Wit is a Managing Director and Fund Manager of the Global Alpha Fund for CBRE Global Investment Partners. Based in London, Ivo is a member of the GIP Executive Committee and he is responsible for performance, strategy, and investment decision making of the Global Alpha Fund.

Ivo joined CBRE Global Investors in July 2010. Prior to this Ivo worked at ING Real Estate Select as Global Portfolio Manager in London, where he was responsible for managing global multi-manager non-listed real estate investment accounts for institutional clients. Before that, Ivo was part of the Global Executive Team of ING Real Estate Investment Management. He has been responsible for strategic planning, asset allocation, investment selection and performance monitoring for both listed and unlisted funds. During his more than 20-year real estate investment career, he has worked in various regions around the world. In New York, Ivo was a Vice President and Head of US Strategy for Clarion Partners, responsible for client and fund strategies and forecasting real estate returns.

Ivo is a member of the MSCI/IPD Global Pooled Property Fund Indices Consultative Group

Ivo has a Ph.D. In Finance from Maastricht University and an MBA, joint program Columbia Business School and London Business School

Ron Kravit
Ronald Kravit
Co-Head of North American Real Estate and Senior Managing Director, Cerberus Capital Management

Ronald Kravit is Co-Head of North American Real Estate and Senior Managing Director of Cerberus Capital Management, a global alternative investment manager with over $34 billion in assets as of June 30, 2017.

Mr. Kravit joined Cerberus in 1996 and has since helped grow  the firm’s real estate investment platform. Today, Cerberus is one of the world’s leading investors in opportunistic real estate and non-performing loans. Under Mr. Kravit’s leadership, Cerberus has raised four opportunistic real estate funds, while garnering investor support across the globe for its real estate platform. Mr. Kravit is a current member of the Cerberus Capital Senior Operating Committee and the Real Estate Committee.

From 1994 to 1996, Mr. Kravit was a Managing Director at Apollo Real Estate Advisors, L.P., where he was responsible for new business development, acquisitions and asset management. Prior to his tenure at Apollo, Mr. Kravit was a Managing Director at G. Soros Realty Advisors/Reichmann International, an affiliate of Soros Fund Management, from 1993 to 1994. Before joining Soros, Mr. Kravit was Vice President/Chief Financial Officer at the Maxxam Property Company in Houston from 1991 to 1993 and Vice President with Miller-Klutznick-Davis-Gray Co. in Los Angeles and Chicago from 1984 to 1991.

Mr. Kravit is a graduate of Georgetown University and received an M.B.A. from The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. He is active in support of various programs at Georgetown University, University of Pennsylvania and University of Southern California, especially providing mentorship and guidance for students in respective business schools. In addition, Mr. Kravit is an active supporter of New York Presbyterian Hospital.

Avi Lewittes
Avi Lewittes ’89
Chief Investment Officer, The Scion Group

Avi Lewittes is Chief Investment Officer of The Scion Group LLC, the largest privately-held owner and operator of student housing communities in the United States. Mr. Lewittes joined Scion in 2012 and is responsible for the company’s business strategy as well as all investment and capital raising activities. Prior to Scion, Mr. Lewittes served as Chief Investment Officer of Aviv Reit, a leading US owner of over 300 post-acute and long term care facilities net leased to a diverse group of operators.

Prior to 2010, Mr. Lewittes spent 20 years as an investment banker, primarily with JP Morgan and UBS, with responsibility for origination and execution of mergers and acquisitions transactions in the industrials and real estate sectors. Mr. Lewittes earned his MBA from Columbia Business School and his Bachelor of Commerce degree from McGill University.

Chris Mayer
Christopher J. Mayer
Paul Milstein Professor of Real Estate, Professor of Finance and Economics, Co-Director, Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate, Columbia Business School

Christopher Mayer is the Paul Milstein Professor of Real Estate at Columbia Business School. His research explores a variety of topics in real estate and financial markets, including housing cycles, mortgage markets, debt securitization, and commercial real estate valuation. Dr. Mayer is also CEO of Longbridge Financial, an innovative reverse mortgage company focused on delivering responsible home equity products to older Americans to help finance retirement. Professor Mayer serves as a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, a Director of the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association, and a member of the Academic Advisory Boards for Standard and Poor's and the Housing Policy Center at the Urban Institute. His research has received funding from the National Science Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Dr. Mayer is active in the media and advising policymakers, testifying six times before committees of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, writing a paper for the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, and authoring numerous op-ed articles in major publications. Dr. Mayer previously served as Senior Vice Dean at Columbia Business School and held positions at The Wharton School, the University of Michigan, Harvard Business School, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.  He earned a BS in Math and Economics from the University of Rochester with highest honors and a PhD in Economics from MIT.

Wendy Silverstein
Wendy Silverstein
President and CEO, New York REIT

Wendy Silverstein is currently President and CEO of New York Reit (NYSE:NYRT). As CEO, Ms. Silverstein is leading the winding up and liquidation of NYRT pursuant to a shareholder approved plan of liquidation.

Previously, Wendy Silverstein served as Executive Vice President and Co‐Head of Acquisitions and Capital Markets for Vornado Realty Trust (NYSE:VNO), one of the largest owners of commercial real estate in the United States, from 1998 to 2015. As head of Capital Markets, Ms. Silverstein was the principal architect of the financing that fueled the growth of Vornado from a $3 billion New Jersey based strip center company to a $35 billion office and street retail company, overseeing more than $30 billion of debt and equity financings. As Co‐Head of Acquisitions, she was also responsible for a variety of real estate as well as corporate acquisitions during her tenure. Ms. Silverstein was a member of the Investment Committee for Vornado's private equity fund, Vornado Capital Partners, L.P. On behalf of Vornado, she has served on the Board of Directors of Toys R Us, Inc. since its leveraged buyout in 2005 and previously served on the Board of LNR Property, LLC, the nation’s largest loan special servicer.

Prior to joining Vornado in 1998, Ms. Silverstein spent 12 years at Citicorp. From 1990 to 1998, she was with Citicorp Real Estate in the Corporate Debt Restructuring Group, which she headed from 1994 to 1998. During this time she led the negotiation and restructuring of many complex debt and equity transactions of companies in the airline, hospitality, retail, office and residential real estate industries.

She served on the Board of Directors of Shuttle, Inc. (d/b/a US Air Shuttle) from 1992 to 1997 and Alexander’s, Inc. (NYSE:ALX) from 1992 to 1995. From 1986 to 1990 she was with the Leveraged Capital Group at Citibank, N.A. providing sponsor financing for leveraged buyouts.

Ms. Silverstein currently serves on the Board of Toys R Us, Inc., Alexander’s, Inc., TPG Real Estate Finance Trust and NYRT. Ms. Silverstein is proud to serve on the Board and Chair the Finance Committee for Beit Ruth, an educational and therapeutic village for at risk teenage girls in Israel. Ms.

Silverstein earned her Bachelor of Science in Economics, Magna Cum Laude, and a Master of Business Administration with Distinction from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. She is also a Certified Public Accountant.

Jack Wilson
Jeff Wilson
Founder and CEO, Kasita

Dr. Jeff Wilson is CEO at KASITA, an Austin company developing an innovative housing solution with smart, beautifully¬designed micro homes. The inspiration for KASITA emerged from one of Wilson’s many unconventional social experiments ¬¬ in this case a 33 sq. ft. modified trash dumpster he called home for a year in the name of science. His work on housing, minimalism, and social experimentation has been featured in The Atlantic, The New York Times, and The Washington Post, among others. Wilson has authored dozens of scientific articles and was awarded the UT System Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award.

Beyond dumpster diving, Wilson enjoys traveling and has lived, worked, and couch surfed in over 70 countries.

yulia
Yuila Yaanni ’08
Founder and CEO, RealAtom

Yulia Yaani is the co-founder and CEO of RealAtom, the first online marketplace for commercial real estate debt financing. Prior to RealAtom.com, Yulia managed commercial real estate investments for Amstar Global Partners, a U.S. private equity fund, as well as worked for Related Group in Florida.

Yulia’s experience exposed her to the highly fragmented commercial real estate lending industry that lacks transparency and to real estate developers and investors that were wasting time and money in order to secure debt for their projects. As a result, she decided to build a marketplace to match borrowers directly with appropriate lenders, allowing for significantly lower costs of capital and a streamlined origination process. This is Yulia’s third start-up.

Yulia received her MBA from Columbia University and holds Series 7 and 63 licenses.

Co-Chairs and Planning Committee Members

fergie
John M. Ferguson
Partner and Co-Chair of the Real Estate Private Investment Funds Practice, Goodwin

John Ferguson, a partner in the firm’s Business Law Department, is the co-chair of its Real Estate Investment Funds Group. Mr. Ferguson represents a wide range of clients in forming private investment funds, partnerships, joint ventures and other transaction structures, and in acquisition, financing, restructuring and disposition transactions.

Mr. Ferguson’s experience in the private investment fund area includes real estate, infrastructure, debt and credit, asset-backed securities, private equity and hedge funds and funds-of-funds. His experience focuses on establishing commingled funds, clubs and investment programs, joint ventures and separate accounts, organizing fund sponsor and manager entities, and advising fund managers with respect to employee compensation structures. This work includes US and international securities offerings, tax and regulatory-related structuring, and investment manager M&A transactions.

Mr. Ferguson’s experience within the real estate industry is extensive and multi-faceted, and includes for example the representation of: a global wealth management firm in the structuring and implementation of a several billion dollar domestic and international real estate investment program; financial and operating parties in both the formation and unwinding of joint venture transactions; portfolio and single asset acquisitions, financings (equity and secured, unsecured, and mezzanine debt) and dispositions; a NYSE-listed upREIT in a going-private transaction and a related exchange offer to its operating partnership unitholders; and investment funds as borrowers under subscription-secured credit facilities.

Mr. Ferguson earned his J.D. from the Emory University School of Law, 1998 and his B.S. from Boston University.

kranz
Yoel Kranz
Partner, Goodwin

Yoel Kranz is a partner in Goodwin’s Real Estate Group and a member of its REITs and Real Estate M&A and Capital Markets Groups. He advises public and private companies in corporate mergers and acquisitions, represents a diverse group of corporate issuers of securities, both public and private, and serves as ongoing corporate and securities counsel for public companies, including numerous REITs.

Mr. Kranz also advises a broad range of public and private clients with respect to complex derivatives matters, including derivatives embedded in capital markets transactions such as convertible notes call spread transactions, equity forwards and transfers of swap portfolios.

Mr. Kranz’ recent activities include representing:

  • Empire State Realty Trust  and Empire State Realty OP, L.P., in a $250 million private placement of Exchangeable Senior Notes by Empire State Realty OP
  • AvalonBay Communities in a $685 million public offering of its common stock on a forward basis
  • Medical Properties Trust in their $300 million aggregate principal amount of senior notes due 2024
  • MAA (Mid-America Apartment Communities) in its $8.6 billion business combination with Colonial Properties Trust
  • Gaming & Leisure Properties in its $475 million pending acquisition of The Meadows Racetrack and Casino
  • CreXus Investment Corp in its $1 billion acquisition by Annaly Capital Management, Inc.

Mr. Kranz earned his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law, his M.A. from Emerson College and his RO from the Rabbinical College of America.

Chris Mayer
Christopher J. Mayer
Paul Milstein Professor of Real Estate, Professor of Finance and Economics, Co-Director, Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate, Columbia Business School

Christopher Mayer is the Paul Milstein Professor of Real Estate at Columbia Business School. His research explores a variety of topics in real estate and financial markets, including housing cycles, mortgage markets, debt securitization, and commercial real estate valuation. Dr. Mayer is also CEO of Longbridge Financial, an innovative reverse mortgage company focused on delivering responsible home equity products to older Americans to help finance retirement. Professor Mayer serves as a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, a Director of the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association, and a member of the Academic Advisory Boards for Standard and Poor's and the Housing Policy Center at the Urban Institute. His research has received funding from the National Science Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Dr. Mayer is active in the media and advising policymakers, testifying six times before committees of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, writing a paper for the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, and authoring numerous op-ed articles in major publications. Dr. Mayer previously served as Senior Vice Dean at Columbia Business School and held positions at The Wharton School, the University of Michigan, Harvard Business School, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.  He earned a BS in Math and Economics from the University of Rochester with highest honors and a PhD in Economics from MIT.

sherman
David M. Sherman '82
Co-Founder, President, and Co-Chief Investment Officer, Metropolitan
Co-Director, Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate, Columbia Business

David M. Sherman is a Co-founder, President, and Co-Chief Investment Officer of Metropolitan and a member of the Carlyle Investment Solutions management committee. Mr. Sherman has more than 30 years of real estate finance and analytical experience. In 2000, Mr. Sherman founded D. Sherman & Company, Inc., an advisory firm focused on strategic issues and transactions in the real estate securities industry.

Previously, Mr. Sherman was Managing Director of Salomon Smith Barney’s REIT research team, which covered more than 60 stocks and supported the firm’s $15 billion of REIT offering activity. At Smith Barney, Mr. Sherman created a new approach to evaluate global real estate securities and initiated global coverage of the sector. The team received recognition from Institutional Investor Magazine in 1998 and 1999. Mr. Sherman also held other positions in real estate finance, investment banking, and strategic planning at Smith Barney, The Harlan Company, First Boston, and Paine Webber, including acting as the Chief Financial Officer of Paine Webber Properties, a family of real estate funds with over $500 million in property investments.

In addition, Mr. Sherman is the current Chairman of the Pension Real Estate Association (PREA) Institute Committee. Previously, Mr. Sherman was an Adjunct Professor of Real Estate Finance at Columbia Business School for seven years. Over the years, Mr. Sherman has published numerous articles in periodicals including American Banker, PREA Quarterly, Shopping Center Business, and National Real Estate Investor. Mr. Sherman served as a panelist for Institutional Limited Partners Association for its first member educational webcast on private equity real estate. Mr. Sherman currently serves as an independent director on the board of Brookfield Residential Properties.

Mr. Sherman received an A.B. in Mathematical Economics (magna cum laude) from Brown University and an M.B.A. in Finance from Columbia Business School.