Real Estate Weekly
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Deals & Dealmakers

WHO’S NEWS: Commercial appointments and promotions

The Hotel Association of New York City announced the election this week of Fred Grapstein, Executive Vice President of Vornado Realty Trust’s Hospitality Group, as its new chairman.

Grapstein, a board member of the Hotel Association for more than five years and a longtime member of the Hospitality Council of New York, brings a wealth of financial and operating experience to the role.

At Vornado he is responsible for over $1.5 billion of hotel assets including 2,500 rooms and 750,000 square feet of commercial/retail space.

Grapstein is a regular speaker at hotel conferences throughout the country and is outspoken on the impacts of Airbnb. He is also a member of the Hospitality Asset Managers Association.

Previously, Grapstein was with Merrill Lynch as a Vice President in their Real Estate Group, and with Deloitte in their emerging business consulting group.

He is a CPA and holds an MBA from New York University.


Greystone announced Anthony Alicea has joined the company as Head of Production for the Portfolio Lending Group, reporting to Mark R. Jarrell, who leads the Group.

Alicea will oversee production for the firm’s bridge and mezzanine lending products that complement Greystone’s FHA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and CMBS lending products.

Alicea brings a wealth of experience in commercial real estate finance. Throughout his 20-year career, he has led CMBS and securitization projects for Arthur Andersen’s real estate consultancy, managed CMBS production at Nomura Credit & Capital, Inc., and originated Agency loans as well as CDO activity at Centerline Capital Group (now Hunt Mortgage).
Alicea also previously held multifamily finance roles at Pensam Capital LLC and World Class Capital Group.


CPEX Real Estate has promoted George Danut to director of retail leasing.

Since joining the team at the end of 2012, Danut has assisted in the lease of over 120 retail spaces totaling more than 500,000 square feet, with an aggregate lease value of over $400 million.

This includes lease agreements with such notable tenants as Bed Bath & Beyond, Harbor Freight, LePort Schools, Gymboree Play & Music, Bar Method, and Benefit Cosmetics.

Prior to his current role, Danut oversaw CPEX’s research initiatives to provide market data and published reports, along with a variety of other responsibilities for the Operations Team.

Fluent in Romanian, Danut previously worked with the Ambassador and a team of diplomats with the Permanent Mission of Romania to the United Nations.

He also served as a Research Assistant in the Department of Political Science at Columbia University, graduating in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science.


Tonia Vailas, MAI, has been elected President of the Long Island Chapter of the Appraisal Institute for the Year 2018.
Serving Nassau and Suffolk counties of Long Island, the Chapter assists local real estate appraisers to earn Appraisal Institute professional membership designations and provides appraisal education and networking to the real estate and related industries.

Vailas is Director of NYC Financial Services Property Valuations unit.

In 2018 she will lead the Chapter to educate appraisers; increase membership; develop future leaders; deepen association with related industries; raise awareness of the benefits of hiring Appraisal Institute members; implement new technology and utilize social media outlets to benefit Chapter members and the public.

Vailas, who earned her MAI designation in 2011 has been a member of the Chapter’s Executive Board since 2013.


Marcus & Millichap has hired Alex Svetlakou.

Previously, Svetlakou worked for over five years at Cushman & Wakefield — formerly Massey Knakal — where he specialized in the sale of investment real estate in South Brooklyn. He will continue to utilize his connections in the South Brooklyn investment communities and serve clients in the area.

Svetlakou graduated from St. John’s University on a full athletic scholarship with majors in finance and economics.


DLA Piper announced that Bruce Saber has joined the firm’s Real Estate practice as a partner and Gerald Shepherd has joined the practice as of counsel, both in the New York office.

Bruce Saber focuses his practice on complex private equity, financing, development, hospitality and leasing transactional work.

His career in the real estate industry spans 30 years, in law firms and real estate development and investment companies.
Saber received his J.D. from the New York University School of Law and his B.A. from the University of Rochester.

Gerald Shepherd advises public and private companies, including private equity and real estate funds, in connection with acquisitions and dispositions, as well as the establishment of joint ventures relating to real estate and other industries.
Shepherd received his J.D. from the Columbia University School of Law and his B.A. from Washington & Lee University.
Saber and Shepherd both join from Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP.


Rubenstein Partners has hired Ferhat Guven as Director of Investor Relations.

Guven will lead Rubenstein’s capital raising efforts in coordination with the firm’s senior leadership team.
He joins Rubenstein with more than 15 years of fundraising and direct investment experience for a variety of real estate strategies, and will be based in the firm’s New York City offices.

Guven joins from Threadmark, LP, the U.S. arm of a U.K.-based placement agent, where he served as Senior Vice President. Previously, he founded Altitude Advisors and before that, he worked in the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Latin America for Jamestown, Paladin Realty Partners and UBS.

Guven graduated from the London Business School with a Masters of Science degree in management, where he was a Sloan Fellow, and from Texas Tech University with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and History.


Thor Equities announced the appointment of Jeff Menard as Vice President of Acquisitions.

Menard will be responsible for leading Thor Equities’ North American acquisitions group. Previously, he was Vice President, Acquisitions at Mitsui Fudosan America, where he focused on the company’s capital market activities.


CBRE announced that 19-year industry veteran Jeremy Neuer has been named executive vice president.
The announcement comes on the heels of Neuer’s 2017 promotion to co-leader of CBRE’s New Jersey Capital Markets Group alongside vice chairman Jeffrey Dunne.

Neuer focuses on office and industrial sales throughout New Jersey.

Having joined CBRE in 2011 as a senior vice president, Neuer brings a comprehensive knowledge of New Jersey office assets and ownership to his role.

Throughout his career, he has represented some of the state’s most prominent leasing agencies and tenants, providing a depth of knowledge that is unique to the Capital Markets discipline.


Rosenberg & Estis, P.C. announced that Jonathan S. Hacker has joined the firm as a Member and will serve as head of its Cooperative and Condominium division.

Hacker brings significant experience in co-op and condo law, mainly representing sponsors of offerings of whole and fractional interests in co-ops and condominiums within and outside New York State.

In addition, he has handled a wide range of commercial real estate matters, including conveyancing, leasing, mortgage and mezzanine financing, debt work-outs and private equity offerings.

Prior to joining Rosenberg & Estis, Hacker was with Golenbock Eisman, Assor Bell & Peskoe.

Hacker has served as a member of the Cooperatives and Condominiums committee for the NY State Bar Association.
He received his Juris Doctor from Hofstra Law School and his Bachelor of Arts degree from Lehigh University, with honors.


Hoffmann Architects welcomed a new design professional to the technical staff.

Amanda L. Miller, AIA joins as Staff Architect, based in the firm’s New York City office.
At the University of Notre Dame, where she earned a Bachelor of Architecture degree, Miller received accolades for leadership, service, and professional merit.

While earning a Master in Design Studies at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, she was elected as her Class Marshal and served in leadership capacities with Student Forum and the African American Student Union. Along with advanced design software skills, Miller brings to her new position professional experience in commercial and institutional projects, as well as team collaboration and mentoring.

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