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Deals & Dealmakers

WHO’S NEWS: Commercial appointments and promotions

Sahn Ward Coschignano, PLLC announced that Christian Browne has become the firm’s sixth equity member.

He joins Michael H. Sahn, the firm’s managing member, and partners Jon A. Ward, Chris J. Coschignano, Daniel H. Braff and Adam H. Koblenz. The Firm’s name will remain the same.

Browne will participate in the management, leadership and continued growth of the firm.

He concentrates his practice in the areas of commercial litigation, zoning and land use, and municipal law, and has become a leader on Long Island in these practice areas.


Thomas Zampino has joined Stroock’s Real Estate Tax Certiorari Practice Group as special counsel in the New York office.

Zampino’s practice focuses on real property tax assessment, abatement and exemption matters and other related real estate tax issues.

He has represented individual and institutional owners of commercial, residential, retail and industrial properties.

Zampino joins Stroock from Podell, Schwartz, Schechter & Banfield, LLP.

He received his J.D., cum laude, from Syracuse University College of Law where he was a graduate fellow and a member of the Syracuse Law Review and his B.A., cum laude, from Stony Brook University.


ERG Property Advisors announced Andrew Walsh is a new partner.

Walsh represents both ERG Property Advisors and ERG Capital Advisors. He joins ERG with an extensive commercial appraisal and asset management background.

He was previously with Gabriel Real Estate Group for five years, specializing in hotel development, acquisitions and sourcing equity.

He has also been involved in the development of condominiums and hotels, with an emphasis on design, structure, and use. Walsh has been involved in commercial brokerage for the past 13 years.


AXA Investment Managers announced the appointments of Steve McCarthy as the new Head of North America, and Aaron Kutner as U.S. Director of Acquisitions.

Olivier Thoral, current Head of North America, will return to AXA IM headquarters in Paris where he will assume new responsibilities.

In his new role as Head of North America, Steve McCarthy, who for the last three years has been AXA IM – Real Assets’ U.S. Head of Asset Management & Transactions, is now responsible for defining, recommending and executing all aspects of the business’ North American investment and capital raising strategies.

McCarthy joined AXA IM in 2013 from his role as co-founder and principal of MXA Capital. He previously held senior positions at the ULI Greenprint Center for Building Performance, Buchanan Street Partners, WestWind Capital Partners LP and Jones Lang Wootton, and in the UK at Tishman Speyer Properties.

Aaron Kutner is responsible for sourcing, underwriting and executing acquisitions in accordance with clients’ objectives.

He joins AXA IM following six years at Clarion Partners where, since 2014, he was Vice President of Acquisitions. Prior to Clarion, Kutner spent a year at CapitalSource Bank in its Structured Finance Group, having joined from Prudential Real Estate Investors where he was an investment analyst.


Alberto Benalloun, founder of South Florida-based Transamerican Development Corp, and Hernan Gleizer, founder and CEO of OPTIMAR Real Estate, announced their joint venture Benher Capital Partners.

Commercial real estate veteran Tom Duke has been appointed managing principal to launch and lead the firm’s operations in New York.

Over the course of his career, Duke has spearheaded over $1 billion in aggregate sales and lease transactions and sourced over $400 million in capital via his relationships with family offices.

Prior to joining Benher Capital, Duke was a vice president in CBRE’s Tri-State retail group, where he focused on retail leasing and investment sales, and was involved in the repositioning of portfolios and assemblages.

He previously served as senior managing director at the Lansco Corporation.


AWH Partners, LLC, has hired Timothy Osiecki as president of AWH Development, a new role at AWH.
Osiecki will assume the day-to-day development responsibilities of the founding partners.

He brings nearly 40 years of construction and development experience to AWH, including spending the last three decades developing high-quality, upscale select and full service hotels for award-winning Concord Hospitality.

He led the design and development of the first LEED certified Courtyard by Marriott prototype hotel and received Marriott’s first Icon Award for creating new innovative ways to enhance brand design.
Osiecki began his career as a custom homebuilder prior to joining Concord Hospitality.


Tanya Eastwood, president of Greystone Affordable Housing Initiatives LLC, a leading provider of affordable housing recapitalization and rehabilitation services, has been appointed to the board of the National Rural Housing Coalition.

Easterwood’s tenure with the NRHC includes several years as an active member, while simultaneously leading Greystone’s efforts in preserving thousands of affordable housing units across the United States.

NRHC, founded in 1969, has the mission to achieve better housing and community facilities for low-income rural families.

The organization works to focus policy makers on the needs of rural areas through direct advocacy and by coordinating a network of rural housing advocates.

At Greystone, Eastwood is responsible for the strategic growth and implementation of Greystone’s affordable housing preservation efforts.

Eastwood also currently serves as President of the National Council for Affordable and Rural Housing.


Romer Debbas LLP announced attorney Richard Klein has just joined the firm as a partner.
In his new position, Klein will manage the firm’s co-op and condominium board practice serving as counsel to approximately 50 boards.

Klein previously ran his own law firm for the last 17 years. During his legal career in New York City, Klein has spoken at conferences and seminars on topics ranging from the myths and truths regarding various legal issues pertaining to the cooperative housing market.

He has also presented several seminars sponsored by the Hospitality Industry Committee of the Foundation for Accounting Education regarding the legal issues raised when buying or selling a restaurant business, and when negotiating a commercial lease for a restaurant business.

Klein received his law degree from Fordham University School of Law and Bachelor of Arts from Wesleyan University.


The Long Island Real Estate Group appointed real estate developer Peter Cosentino to its executive board.

Cosentino is president and founder of Cosentino Realty Group, a full-service, family owned firm with expertise in the development, redevelopment and management of commercial properties.

Cosentino, whose expertise spans more than 25 years, started his business career alongside his late father, Peter Sr., and his brother, Michael, in a general contracting business. The business later expanded into real estate development and management.

The adjoining Cosentino Commerce Center and Crooked Hill Commons in Commack are the company’s most notable projects, consisting together of one million square feet on 100 acres.


Ropes & Gray announced that James R. Brown has rejoined the firm’s tax practice as a partner in New York.

Brown previously practiced at Ropes & Gray for 15 years. He rejoins the firm from Willkie Farr & Gallagher in New York, where he was a partner and co-chair of the tax department.

Brown has more than 25 years of experience providing broad-based tax support for hedge funds, private investment funds, and regulated investment companies.

He advises fund sponsors on tax structuring and operational issues relating to these funds. and counsels clients on mergers and acquisitions, recapitalizations, joint ventures, and other types of transactions. Recently, Brown has acted as special tax counsel to Ares Capital Corporation and Ares Management, L.P. in the acquisition of American Capital Ltd.

He received his J.D. from Harvard Law School and his B.A. from the University of Texas.


Lev Kimyagarov has joined Eastern Consolidated as a Senior Director in the Investment Sales Division.
Kimyagarov has arranged over $450 million in transactions for 100 properties in the New York City Metro Area with a particular focus on the Upper Manhattan market.

A few of his significant deals include the $139 million sale of the Lehman Dunbar Portfolio; $27 million sale of 147 East 125th Street; $18.25 million sale of 327 East 101st Street; and $10 million sale of 265 Pleasant Avenue, home to the century old Rao’s restaurant.

Prior to joining Eastern Consolidated, Kimyagarov was a Senior Director in the Capital Markets Group of Cushman & Wakefield. Previously, he served as a Director of Sales at Massey Knakal Realty Services.
Kimyagarov graduated from York College with a degree in Business Management, and is fluent in Russian.
He also is a Certified Negotiation Expert (CNE), a designation he earned at the Real Estate Negotiation Institute.


Pennrose announced the promotion of Jacob Fisher to regional vice president of development to oversee the organization’s development activity in New Jersey.

Fisher will lead the execution and growth of Pennrose’s development pipeline within New Jersey, and will be responsible for the realization of production goals that have been defined in the company’s ten-year strategic plan. Pennrose currently has approximately 1,200 units in its development pipeline for the Garden State.

Since beginning as an intern with Pennrose in 2006, Fisher has been promoted up the development ranks to associate developer, developer, and most recently senior developer.

He has a track record of working with partners from the public, private, and non-profit sectors to bring development projects to fruition.

Prior to Pennrose, heworked on community development as an assistant director for policy for the Mayor of Philadelphia.

Fisher holds a B.A. from Wesleyan University and a Master’s degree in Government from the University of Pennsylvania’s Fels Institute of Government.


Bellwether Enterprise Real Estate Capital LLC announced the expansion of its affordable housing lending group to New York City.

Hadley Bressman, senior vice president, loan originator, joins Bellwether Enterprise with over two decades of real estate lending experience.

He was a founding partner of the Hadley Group, where he was responsible for over $6 billion in originations.

John Mannix, senior vice president, loan originator, most recently worked as a managing partner and founder of Merchant Equity Group LLC (MEG), an entrepreneurial private investment company.

Nicole Bressman, analyst, comes to Bellwether Enterprise from Hadley Group, where her responsibilities included loan analysis and project coordination. She has worked on over $500 million of pipeline and pending HUD/FHA projects. She is a 2013 graduate of Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Business.

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