Chris A Milner

Chris A. Milner

Cantor Expands into Investment Management


Cantor Commercial Real Estate is expanding into investment management and named Chris A. Milner head of the new division.

Milner has more than 20 years of experience in real estate debt, equity and capital markets. He spent 14 years at BlackRock Inc. and was a co-founder of their commercial real estate debt business, global head of commercial real estate debt and president of the Carbon Capital series of private real estate debt funds.

Earlier, he held several senior positions at PNC Real Estate Capital Markets, where he co-founded the CMBS program and was responsible for origination, underwriting and securitization of all commercial mortgage conduit production, and the resolution of distressed commercial real estate loans. Milner was also a member of the mergers and acquisitions teams at PNC, which acquired BlackRock and Midland Loan Services.

NREI talked to Milner about why this is a good time for the firm to get into investment management, about the continued impact from European instability and investors general assessments of the quarter.

NREI: Why do you think this is a good time for CCRE to get into investment management?

Chris Milner: CCRE was formed in 2010 and the team spent their first two years focused on building out a national origination platform and establishing a capital base that would sustain operations and future growth. These initial objectives have been achieved and the organization is now well positioned to add additional business lines which will capitalize on the platform’s strengths and add value to our clients. The investment management capability we intend to build will allow CCRE to partner with institutional capital, initially in the commercial real estate debt markets and ultimately in a broad range of debt and equity products.

NREI: How do you feel U.S. investment market will continue to be affected by previous economic instability in Europe?

Chris Milner: The ongoing economic and political challenges in Europe will likely continue to have a dampening effect on global economic growth and as a result allow the U.S. Federal Reserve and other central banks to maintain an accommodative monetary policy—i.e. historically low interest rates—for an extended period. This scenario is expected to have generally positive implications for U.S. real estate markets as investors continue to aggressively pursue real assets that generate significant income. Real estate capital markets, like CMBS, will also benefit as more fixed-income investors allocate capital away from treasuries and high-grade corporates into structured products.

NREI: In general, how would you characterize investors' attitudes right now—perhaps comparing first quarter 2013 to first quarter last year?

Chris Milner: While investors are incrementally more confident as the financial crisis fades farther in the rear view mirror, continued dysfunction in the U.S. political process and relatively slow job growth are obvious impediments to bold decision making. One direct implication is that investors tend to want increased discretion and/or control leading to a preference for separate account structures as opposed to commingled, fully discretionary funds. As a result, we expect joint ventures to play an important role in the initial phase of our business strategy.


Boston Properties Inc. named Owen D. Thomas to succeed Mortimer B. Zuckerman as CEO. He will also join the board of directors, effective April 2, 2013.

Zuckerman will remain as executive chairman. Thomas is currently the chairman of the board of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., the successor company to Lehman Brothers. At Lehman Brothers Holdings, Thomas oversaw the sale of Archstone Enterprise LP to Equity Residential and AvalonBay Communities Inc. for $15 billion.


ICSC welcomed John C. Emmert Jr. as COO. He will oversee business operations and organizational evaluation.

Emmert comes to ICSC from Seedco, a national nonprofit organization that advances economic opportunity for people, businesses and communities, where he was CFO. Prior to that Emmert was with the American Arbitration Association for 19 years, serving as executive vice president and COO, CFO and division senior vice president of the construction division.


Brickman, a real estate private equity firm, appointed Steve Klein as its new chief investment officer (CIO).

Klein will source and evaluate investment opportunities for the firm in Boston, New York, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Austin, Texas and Washington, D.C., as well as residential opportunities in New York City. Previously, Klein was the co-founder and a managing partner at JOSS Realty Partners. Prior to that, he spent three years as CIO at Broadway Partners.


Jamestown created a new division, Jamestown Latin America, which will invest in real estate assets across the region.

The new venture will be led by Phillip Fitzgerald, who will serve as CEO of Jamestown Latin America. Fitzgerald, who has more than 20 years of institutional real estate investment and management experience, most recently served as managing director of emerging markets for Paladin Realty Partners, where he led the team that managed investments in more than $4 billion of real estate assets.


Schostak Brothers & Co. Inc. promoted Angela Mader to executive vice president and CFO.

The company also hired Warren Strietzel as executive vice president and COO.

Mader previously served as senior vice president of finance and began her career with the company in 1986 as a financial analyst. Strietzel comes to Schostak from Brixmor, where he was a senior vice president.


Carroll Organization appointed David Cypher to COO, overseeing all property management activities, including financial accounting and reporting as part of a new initiative aimed at enhancing its property management services.

The company’s property management services are currently provided both to third parties and to Carroll Organization’s 10,000-unit portfolio of owned properties.

Cypher was previously an executive with Morgan Stanley’s MSREF VI and Global VII funds and a PricewaterhouseCoopers auditor for large public companies.


LANE4 Property Group in Chicago hired Michael Berenbom to serve as investment director, a new position at the firm.

Berenbom comes to LANE4 from Lincoln Property Co. in Chicago, where he most recently served in the advisory group as vice president of asset management. There, he was responsible for the management of a national portfolio of class-A commercial properties valued at more than $800 million.


Case Real Estate Capital LLC welcomed Scott Hartstein and Steve Milona to the newly formed private direct lender as principals and co-founders. Both situational lending professionals were formerly associated with SBL Capital.

Hartstein, who has more than 17 years situational-lending experience, previously held senior-level positions at Hudson Realty Capital LLC and SWH Funding Corp., founded in part and in whole, respectively, by Herrick. During his tenure at both firms, he was involved in the origination and closing of loans valued in excess of $350 million.

Prior to the formation of SBL, Milona was responsible for HSBC’s portfolio risk exposure while servicing internationally-based clients and institutions. In this capacity, he supervised trade books valued in excess of $50 million.


Smith Breeden Associates welcomed Carl D. Bell to the firm as a principal and senior portfolio manager.

Bell will focus on the analysis and trading of structured credit, including securities backed by non-agency residential and commercial mortgages, and consumer receivables such as credit cards and auto loans. He will also continue to serve on Smith Breeden’s board of directors; Bell has served as an outside director since 2011.

Most recently, Bell was co-founder of Five Ten Capital, a real estate investment management firm focused on deploying capital into distressed single-family homes through an REO-to-rental strategy.


Arbor Commercial Mortgage LLC appointed Todd Hirsch as executive vice president, head of CMBS finance and distribution.

Hirsch will oversee Arbor’s growing national CMBS origination platform, its syndication platform and its various stages from sourcing to structuring to distribution. During his tenure at Credit Suisse, Hirsch most recently served as managing director, head of European finance group,


CBRE Group Inc. welcomed Jim Sellers to the firm’s capital markets debt and equity finance group as a senior vice president.

Sellers has nearly 40 years of industry expertise and comes to CBRE from Heritage Advisory Corp., where he was the president and sole shareholder for the full-service commercial mortgage banking company located in Tucson, Ariz.

CBRE has also entered into a definitive agreement to acquire a portion of Heritage Advisory’s loan servicing portfolio. Joining the CBRE team will be Theresa Witz, a senior analyst. Witz worked at Heritage Advisory since 1997, where she managed the office as well as the loan process from inception through the closing and post-closing servicing.

In other company news, J.D. “Butch” Miller, managing director and industrial broker with CBRE|Raleigh since 2002, will now concentrate solely on industrial brokerage services. Miller has been a broker with CBRE for more than 25 years. In 2012, under his leadership, CBRE|Raleigh completed $850 million of sales and leasing transactions.

CBRE Group Inc. also welcomed Bill Sheehy as senior vice president of the Chicago occupier practice with a specific focus on downtown tenant representation.

Sheehy is returning to CBRE after spending five years at Jones Lang LaSalle, where he served as managing director.

Tyler Brooks, an associate with CBRE|Hampton Roads, has been selected by the Southeastern Virginia ICSC as the next generation program planning committee vice-chair for 2013. Brooks has been with the firm since December 2011.


Akridge welcomed Rob Kohn to the Washington D.C.-based real estate investor, developer and operator as a senior vice president of capital markets.

Kohn will be responsible for managing and cultivating relationships with institutional investors, including programmatic joint ventures, separate accounts, and comingled funds. He comes to Akridge from Park Madison Partners, where he was a partner for the New York-based real estate placement and advisory firm.


Jones Lang LaSalle hired Mike McKeever as senior vice president in the firm's tenant representation group in Los Angeles.

McKeever comes to JLL from DTZ, a UGL Co., where he was a senior vice president. Throughout his career, he has participated and advised in more than $1 billion of leasing transactions working with high profile companies including Seyfarth Shaw, Square Enix and DaVita.


Griffin Capital Corp. hired Dustin Zachmeyer as vice president, due diligence.

He will focus on coordinating due diligence for various investment products Griffin Capital makes available to individual investors through the independent broker dealer channel. He will also spearhead the company's research efforts.

Zachmeyer comes to Griffin from Berthel Fisher & Co., where he was director of product sales and services.


Cassidy Turley welcomed Tammy B. Karth-Sidles in the firm’s property management team as vice president.

She will oversee all operations of the property management portfolio and staff in the company’s Arizona office. In addition, she will be responsible for strategic business planning and management of client relationships.

Karth-Sidles has more than 27 years of experience in the real estate industry, with her primary focus on property management for commercial properties in Arizona and other Western U.S. states. She comes to Cassidy Turley from Lincoln Property Co. where she was the director of management services in the Desert West region. She managed a 6 million-sq.-ft. portfolio of office, retail and industrial properties in Arizona, Nevada, Utah and New Mexico.


Gvest Partners is launching a multifamily platform for the privately-owned investment partnership and has brought on John Bell as development partner to seek out development and acquisition opportunities across the Southeast.

Bell comes to Gvest from Opus South, where he was vice president of multifamily.


Bruce McConnell joined Studley as a senior managing director in its Chicago office and a member of the firm’s national industrial services group.

McConnell will lead the firm’s Midwest industrial services practice, with responsibility for transaction development and management, client relationships, and recruitment. He comes to Studley from CBRE, where he spent the last 18 years of his 25-year real estate career.

McConnell’s areas of expertise include real estate advisory services, supply chain and logistics, transaction management and analysis, corporate finance, and strategic planning. In 2012, McConnell represented Edward Don & Co. in a 362,500-sq.-ft. build-to-suit in Woodridge, Ill. for the global foodservice supplier’s new corporate headquarters and distribution operations.


Newmark Grubb Knight Frank added Frank Fox to its Philadelphia regional industrial team as a senior managing director.

Fox brings nearly three decades of experience to NGKF and comes to the firm after 17 years as president of Fox Commercial Real Estate Services, a firm he founded to focus on speculative development and ownership of vacant ground parcels in parks such as the Great Valley Corporate Center, Valley Forge Business Center, Trestle Bridge Business Center and Chadds Ford Corporate Center.

During this time, he constructed, managed and leased 2 million sq. feet to long-term tenants including Ikon Office Solutions, Lucent Technologies, ICI Americas and the Johnson Matthey Corp.

Newmark Grubb Knight Frank also formed an affiliation with Grubb & Ellis|Memphis, which serves Western Tennessee, Northern Mississippi and Eastern Arkansas. Effective immediately, the regional firm will operate as Newmark Grubb Memphis.

NGKF also appointed Scott Elliott as senior managing director. Elliott joins NGKF from CBRE Group Inc., where he served as senior vice president, office brokerage since 2007; he also led the firm’s Detroit office for 13 years earlier in his career.


Paladin Realty Partners LLC appointed Alejandro “Alex” Krell as managing director to lead the firm’s investment and development activities in the Andean region of South America, including Colombia, Peru and Chile. He will also be responsible for Uruguay and other markets in the region. Krell will open the company’s new regional office in Bogota, Colombia.

A native of Uruguay, Krell brings over two decades of real estate development and management experience to Paladin Realty. He was previously the director of residential development for the Tourism Development & Investment Co. in Abu Dhabi, where he led the construction of nearly $2 billion of residential and mixed-use real estate.

The firm also announced the departure of Axel Chaves, the former head of Paladin’s office in São Paulo, Brazil. In the interim, Randall Loker, managing director and head of acquisitions for Brazil, will oversee the São Paulo office.

In addition, senior vice president Joel Bost will be leaving the firm and his responsibilities will be assumed by Gisele Narisawa, the firm’s Latin America controller.


Lee & Associates of Michigan promoted Brian True from senior associate to principal.

With more than 12 years of experience in the commercial real estate industry, True previously served as vice president in the tenant representation group at Jones Lang LaSalle.

Lee & Associates also named Jeff Bischofberger, Bob Kirkpatrick, Rocky Moran, Jim Nadal and Andrew Peake shareholders.

Bischofberger, who has nearly 10 years of industry experience, specializes in the leasing and sale of office/industrial buildings and land in and around the Inland Empire and Orange County areas.

As a 38-year industry veteran in Southern California, Kirkpatrick has closed several sale and lease transactions with high profile developers and national tenants.

Moran is an industrial warehouse expert in the Inland Empire and greater Southern California marketplace.

Specializing in office and industrial properties, Nadal brings two decades of commercial real estate experience in the Temecula/Murrieta Valley and North San Diego market.

Peake joined the Inland Empire office group in 2006 and is primarily focused on landlord and tenant representation in the Riverside and Corona office markets.


The National Apartment Association named Cindy Clare, president of Kettler Management, as secretary of the group.

Clare, who has more than 25 years of industry experience, has served on the NAA Board for five years, holding both appointed and elected positions. In addition to her involvement with NAA, she currently serves on the national faculty of the Institute of Real Estate Management as well as the Virginia Tech Residential Property Management advisory board.

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