CFE Recap: Alternative Investing in Commercial Real Estate

CFE Recap: Alternative Investing in Commercial Real Estate

June 18, 2017

The following is a recap of the Center for Free Enterprise event on May 19th, 2017 at the Cleveland Racquet Club. The event was about Investing in Commercial Real Estate and alternative investing sources.

The Center for Free Enterprise held their 12th consecutive sold out event, and we appreciate the invaluable sponsorship of JP Morgan Chase, particularly Greg Keegan and Ken Greaney.

The Panel included:

Martin Cohen: Marty has been a managing partner of H & M Management Company since 1975 and is manager and part owner of nine apartment complexes. He has managed and owned numerous other commercial properties. Marty is a lifetime trustee of the Northeast Ohio Apartment Association and past President, is a Board Member of Third Federal Savings and Loan, and a licensed Real Estate Broker with Smart Realty.
Marty began his career as a Financial Reporting officer at Cleveland Trust/Ameritrust. He was also a consultant to Broadview Savings as well as an Instructor at Case Western Reserve Graduate School of Business (Weatherhead). He is a graduate of Carnegie-Mellon University.

Ross Halloran: Ross is SVP of Bellwether Enterprise and has 15 years of experience in commercial real estate finance working for large corporations and private developers. Ross is involved in all aspects of real estate capital and has financed over $2.0 billion in loans. Ross provides capital expertise for all types of real estate assets and works from predevelopment stage through permanent financing. Ross is also a member of Bellwether’s Affordable Housing Group working on the debt and equity for LIHTC and Section 8 affordable properties.
Prior to joining Bellwether Enterprise, Ross was Vice President of Finance for The Ferchill Group, and was responsible for helping craft solutions for the firm’s complex development deals throughout the Midwest. He was responsible for the identification, evaluation and implementation of various federal, state, and local tax credit, grant and loan initiatives. These developments typically utilized state and federal historic tax credits, New Market Tax Credits, TIF and Brownfield redevelopment programs, as well as LIHTCs.
Previous projects include the Easton Town Center Phase I & II, Westin Book Cadillac in Detroit; Omni Bedford Springs Resort in Bedford, Pa.; the Carter/Winton Manor in Cleveland; the Cleveland Institute of Art; the Nottingham-Spirk Innovation Center and the Bridgeside Point II building in Pittsburgh.
Ross is currently an adjunct professor in the economics department at Case Western Reserve University. He graduated from Miami University with a BS in Finance and from Babson College with an MBA.

Andrew Kline: Andy is Co-CEO of Chase Properties, where he oversees the Company’s acquisitions, dispositions and development programs. Prior to joining Chase in 2002, he was with Heitman Capital Management in Chicago, where he was involved in identifying and evaluating real estate acquisition and joint venture opportunities for Heitman’s institutional pension fund clients. He began his career with Security Capital Group, where he analyzed public real estate securities.
Andy is a member of the Ahuja Medical Center Board of Directors. He is a former Chair of the Board of E Prep Woodland Hills, has served on the boards of Village Prep and E Prep schools, and is currently a member of the board of Friends of Breakthrough Schools, a high performing operator of a network of charter schools in urban Cleveland. Andy is a member of the Cleveland Chapter of Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) and serves on the Executive Committee of the YPO Real Estate Network, a global network of real estate executives. He is a graduate of Cleveland Bridge Builders and The Diversity Center’s Lead Diversity program.
Andy holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Moderator: David Brown founded Red Hawk Associates, a lower middle market M&A advisory firm, in 1998. He is co-founder of the Center.
Program Host: Ben Calkins leads The Calkins Law Firm. He is co-founder of the Center.

Overall, it was an excellent event that gave great insight in investing in commercial real estate in today’s market and left the audience with some great tips and advice.

Here are some key takeaways from the panel:

  • Real estate is robust today, except perhaps in retail.
  • In Cleveland, the activity in real estate tracks trends in other regions. We have lagged for 30 to 40 years, so we are playing catch up.
  • Retail is changing. While online retailers do need brick and mortar stores, they don’t need as many locations in a region as they did. So there is a flight to quality in high end retail.
  • Real estate today is typically thought of as a commodity, like stocks and bonds. There is less emotional attachment, and a greater emphases on pure numbers.
  • While the real estate sector is generally robust, opportunities remain for the savvy investor willing to seek them out.
  • An example might be to invest in Grand Rapids. Michigan is a state that some associate with Detroit, yet Grand Rapids is far from Detroit and a very healthy market.
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