Commercial Property Executive February 2015 : Page 36

Stars to Watch Malcolm Davies , 39, Principal, George Smith Partners While studying at the University of Arizona, Malcolm Davies was pretty sure real estate was the right path for him. He became convinced while working as an analyst on the Metropolitan Land Use Study, a report produced by the univer-sity’s office of economic development. Talking to developers and owners about the Prima County real estate market, he became hooked, and in the process learned the importance of a huge network. Those relationships have served him well. Overseeing George Smith Partners’ structured finance group, he’s played a role in trans-actions totaling roughly $1 billion. In 2014, he produced more than he had in previous years. One of his most notable deals was the or-chestration of $95 million in construction financing for the $100 million Pendry San Diego, which will be Montage Hotels & Resorts’ very first hotel launched outside of its Montage brand. His success has not been without its difficulties, among them the Great Recession. But perseverance saw him through, and “it made me stronger and wiser for the next cycle.” Memorable Achievements: The 2009 co-founding of the PEERS (Philanthropy, Entrepreneurism, Environment, Relationships and Social Endeavors) Network with other San Diego-area entrepre-neurs. The charitable organization, comprising a constantly growing group of entrepreneurs from a variety of industries, focuses its efforts on giving back to the community. Goals: Help to grow the company’s origination platform and in-crease its presence along the West Coast. —B.M. Christine Espenshade, 39 Vice President, Capital Markets, JLL During high school, Christine Espenshade took a summer job as a leasing agent for an Atlanta property management firm. In 2014, she closed Virginia’s largest recorded real estate deal, JP Morgan’s $164.5 million sale of The Residences at Springfield Station to CBRE Global Investors. The lesson: That first summer job can have a lifelong impact. Espenshade now counsels young professionals to take risks on unusual job opportunities and be hyper-involved with their companies, clients and careers. She herself closed $400 million in multi-family investment sales and served on a slew of non-profit boards and committees last year, while raising two young children with husband Peter, a Johns Hopkins research biologist. After studying politics at Princeton University—her senior thesis was on the privatization of public housing—Espenshade worked in Dallas for Goldman Sachs and gained experience in multi-family and affordable asset and investment management, as well as investment sales. She now works on high-level negotiations but spends plenty of time with site-level staff. “The people who are leasing the apartments, and driving the value, are making $15 to $20 an hour. Those employ-ees should not be underestimated in their importance to that process.” Memorable Achievements: In addition to The Residences at Spring-field Station, in 2014 she sold the Preserve at Owings Crossing for Wa-terton Residential to Morgan Properties for $77 million. Goals: Create better synergies between institutional multi-family investment and JLL’s other product lines, as well as figuring out how to expand its multi-family platform internationally. —L.E. Seth Grossman, 34 Managing Director, Meridian Capital Group Seth Grossman didn’t move to Southern California to spend his after-noons on the beach—though as a Chicago native, he admits he loves the warm weather. But when it comes to work ethic, the 34-year-old packed up a New York City mindset when he moved to the San Di-ego area to open a West Coast office for Meridian Capital Group in spring 2011. Grossman had worked in Meridian’s New York City headquarters for three years after graduating from New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business, then left to form Mission Peak Capital in Kansas City, Mo., with a partner in 2008. He jumped at the op-portunity to introduce Meridian to the West Coast, which he now views as his greatest accomplishment to date. Since moving to Carlsbad, Grossman has closed more than 100 36 February 2013 | Commercial Property Executive loan transactions worth over $1.4 billion. He en-courages his five-person team to be in the office early and out late, arranging his own schedule that way. “He is one of the most hard-working people I have met in this industry,” said Timothy Sza-lay, senior vice president of Starwood Mortgage Capital. Grossman has brokered numerous trans-actions for his firm. “Seth is very effective in successfully getting the deal that works for his clients and yet is still acceptable to the lender.” Memorable Achievements: Last year’s deals included arranging both debt and equity for a $150 million multi-family portfolio in Phoenix and $114 million for a mixed-use project in Playa del Rey, Calif. Goals: The office closed $775 million in loans last year. “When I opened the office, I joked about wanting to do $1 billion. I think that number is now in reach, within the next year or two.” —L.E.

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