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WHO’S NEWS: CRE appointments & promotions

Taconic Partners announced changes in its executive ranks.
Chief investment officer Chris Balestra, an investment department leader who has been with Taconic for 15 years, has been named president in addition to CIO.
Colleen Wenke, who has been with the firm for 20 years and is currently serving as Chief Development Officer, has been named president and chief operating officer.
This is the first time a president has been appointed within the 24-year-old firm. Co-CEO’s Charles Bendit and Paul Pariser will continue to serve as co-CEO’s and guide this next generation of leadership at Taconic.
Additionally, senior vice president Matt Weir was promoted to executive vice president, joining the EVP ranks alongside Andrew Zlotnick, also general counsel. Weir and Zlotnick have also been with Taconic for at least a decade.
With 16 years of real estate investment experience, Chris Balestra has led or been directly involved in the acquisition of nearly $4 billion of real estate while at Taconic, all in New York City.
He is also responsible for deal sourcing and structuring, and oversees all of Taconic’s debt and equity financings, as well as fundraising and rezoning initiatives.
Prior to joining Taconic in 2005, Balestra was a bank officer at M&T Bank where he was responsible for underwriting and sourcing commercial real estate loan opportunities in the New York City metropolitan area.
He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Colgate University.

Since joining Taconic in 2000, Colleen Wenke has planned and overseen both ground-up and restoration projects in the commercial, residential and mixed-use sectors, totaling over seven million square feet of commercial space and 1,500 units of housing.
In addition, Wenke leads Taconic’s development advisory business, which focuses on key partnerships for client-led development and construction projects.
Wenke received a Bachelor of Arts degree magna cum laude in psychology from Boston College, and earned a Master of Science degree in real estate development and finance from NYU’s Schack Institute of Real Estate.

Colliers has hired two accomplished industry leaders to join its New York office.
Rick Doolittle and JP Howard join Colliers from MHP Real Estate Services.
Rick Doolittle joins the firm as an executive managing director. He previously held the position of partner at MHP and is a well-recognized real estate professional with over 30 years of experience focused on Manhattan assets and tenant representation.
Over the course of his career, he has transacted over five million square feet and led leasing at 25 iconic New York buildings including 111 & 115 Broadway, 17 Battery Place and 30 Broad St.
Since 2010, Doolittle has been the head leasing agent for one million square feet of trophy, Class A office space at the LH Charney Associates’ 1410 Broadway and 1441 Broadway office portfolio.

JP Howard joins Colliers as a director. During his time at MHP, he worked closely alongside Doolittle and is part of the exclusive leasing team that represents 1410 Broadway and 1441 Broadway. Together, they have represented several renowned clients including GE Capital, Weitz and Luxenberg, Marriott Ownership Resorts, Wade Clark Mulcahy, Jay Suites, One Step Up and many others.
Doolittle holds a Bachelor of Arts in Marketing from Tampa University and Howard holds a Bachelor of Science in Financial Management from Clemson University.

Avison Young announced that Alex Kwartler has been named principal based in the firm’s Morristown location.
Avison Young is led by more than 600 principals across the globe, and each year welcomes a new class of owners in the firm. As a private company, Avison Young Principals have a say in the future direction of the business and are invested in clients’ success, thinking for the long-term.
Kwartler has served as Avison Young New Jersey’s operations manager for the offices for the last six years.
He joined Avison Young in 2014 through the acquisition of Kwartler Associates, an asset/ property management firm. Although his original role focused on property management, his position expanded to include supervision of New Jersey’s entire day to day operations.
Kwartler currently manages key operational issues for the offices, including financial reporting, budget forecasting, revenue projections, recruitment, and liaising with brokers in the offices on their transactions.
As Principal, he will now take on an expanded leadership role and help drive the future performance of Avison Young in New Jersey.
Kwartler has been a key participant in every major milestone for Avison Young New Jersey, most notably the acquisition of the Cresa NJ-North/Central (CNJ) real estate brokerage firm in March of 2017. In 2015, he was named Avison Young New Jersey’s most valuable support professional.

Avison Young New Jersey announced that senior portfolio manager Dennis Sherry is transferring from Avison Young’s New York office to the New Jersey office.
Sherry will be leading the charge for property management new business development initiatives and supporting projects across the tri-state market.
He joined Avison Young in 2020 and served as a key contributor to the continued growth of the New York market’s asset management service line.
Sherry brings over 20 years of experience to his new position
He began his career with Pitney Bowes and went on to work with leading companies including CBRE, Rockefeller Group, Newmark, JLL and the Howard Hughes Corporation.
Sherry has overseen over 30 million square feet of space representing over 100 properties throughout his career.
Noteworthy career achievements include overseeing the Lehman Brothers portfolio of owned/leased properties across Manhattan for The Rockefeller Group as well as leading CBRE’s Asset Services Group, where he supported 15 property managers accountable for 22 commercial office properties across the New York City market.
Sherry graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and has completed master’s-level courses at New York University’s Real Estate Program. He is also a Certified Public Accountant, currently Inactive, in New Jersey.

Avison Young New Jersey announced that Paul Mastroeni has been promoted to director of project management. He has served as a senior manager in the group since 2012.
Mastroeni has overseen project management-related activities for the Avison Young New Jersey office for nine years.
His work has included larger corporate interiors, ground-up construction projects and site work improvements throughout the United States and Canada. He has directed numerous projects over the last few years, particularly multiple developments simultaneously for ADP, IMG and Walmart.
Currently, he is working on one of the larger interior fit-out projects in the state of New Jersey.

Transwestern Real Estate Services (TRS) announced that Casey Noel has joined as vice president in the firm’s New York office.
As a member of the Nonprofit Advisory Services team, Noel will provide a full range of tenant advisory and agency services to the city’s nonprofit community, with a particular focus on the government sector.
Prior to joining the firm, Noel was the assistant vice president at Community Preservation Corp., an affordable housing and community revitalization nonprofit. He previously was an analyst for Civic Builders, where he analyzed charter school real estate development funding requests for the Building Equity Initiative, experience that will help bolster Transwestern’s industry-leading charter school services activity.
During a five-year period on the West Coast, Noel was a development associate at Lennar Multifamily Communities in Oakland and worked for the city of San Francisco, in the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development and in the Planning Department.
He began his career at Goldman Sachs and is a Milken Scholar. Noel earned a bachelor’s degree in government from Harvard University and a master’s degree in real estate development from New York University.

Colliers announced it has hired Doug Petrozzini as senior managing director, Office Leasing to join the firm’s growing Princeton office.
Petrozzini joins Colliers from CBRE, where he served as senior vice president and developed a reputation for providing best-in-class services for a variety of corporate clients.
Throughout the course of his 36 year career, Petrozzini has secured leases for a variety of notable tenants including IBM, MetLife and Merrill Lynch.
He also brings to Colliers deep expertise working with landlords as well as clients in the life science sector specifically.
In addition to Petrozzini, Colliers announced that Donald Nuckel, formerly NAI James Hansen, joined the firm and will be based out of its Woodbridge office. Nuckel joins as an associate in the Capital Markets & Investment Sales team and will join the team led by Executive Managing Director Jackelene Chesler.

Cozen O’Connor announced it has hired former Silverstein Properties executive vice president and General Counsel Jonathan W. Knipe.
Knipe has spent the past 15 years with Silverstein Properties, serving in the capacity of chief legal officer and corporate secretary, and was instrumental in the rebuilding of the World Trade Center properties after 9/11.
He has overseen numerous joint ventures and strategic partnerships, and as a part of the organization’s investment and management committees, he has been instrumental in the strategic, legal, and business decision making process at Silverstein.
As a trusted adviser to Larry A. Silverstein, the chairman of Silverstein Properties, Knipe was essential in helping bring Silverstein’s vision of the reborn World Trade Center campus in downtown Manhattan to fruition.
He had a wide range of responsibilities that included everything from helping analyze and negotiate the appropriate financing to establishing strategic partnerships that helped bring the $20 billion-dollar development project to completion.
Prior to his tenure at Silverstein Properties, Knipe served as general counsel for Fisher Brothers and as a vice president at the Related Companies. Prior to Related, he was a real estate lawyer at Battle Fowler and Paul Hastings LLP.
Knipe also has experience in the music and entertainment industry. He was a catalyst in the rebirth of Forest Hills Stadium. He played the role of aligning interests between the visionaries, financing partners, promoters, developers, and the private tennis club that owns the land and the stadium. As a result of these efforts, Mumford & Sons, Tom Petty, Drake, The Chainsmokers, Dolly Parton, The Who, Zac Brown, and many others have played Forest Hills over the course of the last several years.

FTI Consulting announced the appointment of Kenneth R. Bernice and Robert Raymond as managing directors in the firm’s Real Estate Solutions industry practice within the Corporate Finance & Restructuring segment.
Kenneth Bernice rejoins the firm as a member of the Tax Advisory group. He has broad expertise in many real estate segments, including hospitality, healthcare, industrial, office and multifamily REITs, and funds.
Bernice also has extensive experience advising mortgage REITs on structured debt investments, debt workouts, securitizations and excess inclusion income.
He joins FTI Consulting from NorthStar Realty Finance, where he was the senior vice president of Tax. He assisted in the structuring of NorthStar Realty Finance’s spin-off of NorthStar Asset Management Group, as well as the acquisition of over $25 billion in equity and debt transactions during his tenure with the company.

Robert Raymond joins the practice to focus on corporate real estate strategy. With 20 years of experience, he helps companies better leverage and optimize their corporate footprint.
Specifically, he focuses on corporate real estate portfolio strategy, real estate operating models, facilities management, workplace strategy, financial planning and analysis, process design and benchmarking.
Raymond previously worked at Newmark Knight Frank as a senior managing director, Central Region Lead.
He has successfully led and delivered corporate real estate and facilities consulting services for Fortune 500 organizations. He has assisted global real estate organizations and other corporate entities with the development and implementation of their portfolio and workplace strategies and advised global entities throughout Europe, Asia and South America.

Madison International Realty announced the promotion of Kyle Torpey, Kim Adamek and Jasmin Chitrakar to managing director. The three executives formerly held the position of director.
Kyle Torpey shares responsibility for the oversight of Madison’s US investment activities including sourcing, underwriting and execution of transactions for Madison’s managed funds.
Prior to joining Madison in 2017, he was a vice president in the Goldman Sachs real estate investment banking groups. Previously, he was an associate in Lazard’s real estate investment banking group and, prior to business school, was a Captain in the US Army.
He received a BA degree in politics from Princeton University and an MBA from Columbia Business School.

Kim Adamek, who was named Managing Director of Portfolio and Asset Management, maintains responsibility for the asset management of Madison’s funds, including its domestic and international investment portfolio.
Prior to joining Madison in 2014, Adamek was with CBRE Global Investors, serving as an Acquisition Director in the Managed Accounts Group. She started her career with Unico Properties as an analyst and associate.
Adamek graduated with an MBA from New York University and a BS in Finance from Northern Arizona University.

Jasmin Chitrakar maintains oversight of Madison’s Finance and Accounting team. Her primary responsibilities include all aspects of fund management.
Before joining Madison in 2010, she served as a supervising senior at Ernst & Young in the New York Real Estate practice.
Chitrakar earned a Master of Business Administration in Accountancy from Baruch College, City University of New York, and is a Certified Public Accountant.

JLL as hired 15-year commercial real estate veteran Michael Nicholson as an executive vice president with the firm’s New Jersey office.
Nicholson will work within the Northern New Jersey office team, led by Tim Greiner, focusing on tenant representation and portfolio strategy for national and global clients.
A former director of business development with The Acclaim Group, Nicholson brings a deep understanding of commercial tenant representation and investment real estate, with a specialization in multi-market portfolios.
During his career, he has been has spearheaded transactions in primary and secondary markets of more than 40 US states in office and industrial tenant representation across many client types, including professional services, information technology, food and beverage and more.
Prior to entering commercial real estate, Nicholson was the top corporate salesperson for a multi-national publishing company and the head of business development at a New York City marketing services firm.
He graduated from Vanderbilt University, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy and psychology.

Willkie Farr & Gallagher announced that Noah Bilenker has joined the firm as a partner in the Real Estate Department.
He will be a part of the Real Estate Finance practice group in new York.
Bilenker was previously director and GC at Mesa West Capital, the asset management division of Morgan Stanley.
At Mesa West, he led transactional management and strategy for the firm, as well as help to drive operational and investor matters and compliance.
Previously, he was a member of the real estate department of two different international law firms, and also served as vice president and GC of Zamir Equities, a real estate investment firm.
Bilenker received a BA from University of Pennsylvania and an MS in real estate finance from New York University. He earned a JD from Columbia Law School where was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and served on the Columbia Business Law Review.

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