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Deals & Dealmakers

Mixed-Use Development Expert Robin Zeigler Forms MURAL Real Estate Partners

 Mixed-use development veteran Robin Zeigler today announced the formation of MURAL Real Estate Partners (“MURAL”) a privately owned, full-service real estate company that aims to spur economic development through the conception, development, and management of mixed-use assets in underserved urban and suburban neighborhoods throughout the U.S.

Zeigler, the former chief operating officer of Cedar Realty Trust and Mid-Atlantic chief operating officer of Federal Realty Investment Trust, formed MURAL based on a uniquely collaborative, community-driven philosophy that balances ambitious development concepts with an acute sensitivity to the challenges that arise from developing real estate in culturally distinct neighborhoods that have historically lacked accessibly priced housing and quality goods and services.

MURAL, which stands for Mixed Use Revitalization Approached Locally, assesses development opportunities through a holistic study of community needs, such as availability of approachable housing, fresh food, workforce training, and small business incubation. The company is currently evaluating acquisitions and partnerships throughout the country and has earmarked more than $500 million for the purposes of mixed-use redevelopment and value-add renovations on existing shopping centers or multifamily product.

“It is incredibly gratifying to formally launch MURAL, which brings a unique perspective to the development process, predicated upon a commitment to making long-term investments in the neighborhoods that have previously been ignored,” said Zeigler, who serves as MURAL’s chief executive officer. “We build value alongside communities – not just within them — and will work to identify lasting solutions for underserved areas while providing equity, creating economic empowerment, and forging strong and meaningful relationships.”

Working closely with elected officials, community stakeholders, and capital partners, MURAL sources financing through public incentives programs, helping to unlock intrinsic value in its communities. In addition to serving in the role of development lead or partner, MURAL offers a suite of third-party services, including property management, asset management, and leasing advisory.

MURAL, which also provides consultancy services for complex, multi-phase developments, is currently retained as an adviser for two of the country’s most ambitious mixed-use projects:

●      St. Louis Development Corp. has enlisted MURAL to serve as a consultant to assist with the execution of its Economic Justice Action Plan — a framework for launching equitable and inclusive development opportunities in the City of St. Louis by addressing historical barriers, economic inequities and closing the racial wealth gap.

●      Cedar Realty Trust has retained MURAL as a consultant to assist with the first phase of Northeast Heights, which involves the construction, development and management of a 258,000-square-foot office building leased to the Department of General Services with ground-floor retail in Washington D.C. Additionally, MURAL is working on behalf of Cedar to advance the planned redevelopment of two existing Cedar’s shopping centers, collectively called Northeast Heights.

As one of the few African American women with C-suite experience at publicly traded commercial real estate companies, Zeigler has navigated complex transactions in economically challenged locales for more than two decades, including the development and operations for more than 16 million square feet in mixed-use projects throughout her career. Most recently, she spearheaded Cedar Realty Trust’s strategic effort to reimagine and redevelop its grocery-anchored shopping center portfolio, initiating the company’s urban mixed-use development platform.

In launching MURAL, Zeigler has assembled a world-class team of executives:

●      VP of Development Jessica Tan possesses more than 13 years of real estate development and advisory experience. Most recently, she managed mixed-use redevelopment of existing shopping center assets in the Mid-Atlantic area for Cedar Realty Trust and played a vital role in the launch and leadership of Deloitte PDS Group, a project and development management firm in Sydney, Australia.

●      Senior VP of Marketing, PR and Community Relations Vanessa Rodriguez has developed and implemented strategic marketing initiatives and placemaking for development and operating mixed-use properties throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast for companies such as Federal Realty Investment Trust and The Howard Hughes Corporation. Known for her versatility, creativity, and attention to detail, Rodriguez manages community relations, ensuring ongoing cultural marketing programs and promotions to increase traffic, sales and elevate brand awareness of mixed-use neighborhoods.

●      Vice President of Property Management Melanie Ramos is currently transitioning to the MURAL team and has 15 years of direct mixed-use real estate experience enhancing value through first-class management and fostering connections with community leaders throughout her portfolio. Ramos’ experience with companies such as Federal Realty Investment Trust, Bozzuto, and Cedar Realty Trust includes responsibility for 21 properties located on the Eastern Seaboard equating to 2.8-million square feet of retail space.

“I take seriously my responsibility not only as an advocate for conscientious economic growth, but also as a role model for the underrepresented voices in a historically non-diverse industry,” Zeigler stated. “MURAL’s female-led executive team is prepared to shift the industry paradigm by executing on the ambitious vision we’ve laid out in the coming months and years.”

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