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Deals & Dealmakers

Who’s News: MetaProp hires new advisor, Cignature bolsters investment sales team

MetaProp announced that Mitchell N. Schear has been named Ventures Advisor to the firm’s fund business.
Schear has more than 35 years of experience in commercial real estate. He ran two of Washington’s most influential real estate companies, owning and developing some of the most iconic office and residential projects in Washington DC.
From 2003 until 2017, he was president of Vornado/Charles E. Smith, the DC division of Vornado Realty Trust, a $30 billion real estate investment trust. In that role, he directed the strategy, performance and growth of Vornado’s 20 million square foot portfolio in the Washington DC region.
Currently, Schear serves as a board member for JBG SMITH, a successor company and the largest real estate company in the Washington metropolitan area.
Prior to joining Vornado in April 2003, he spent 15 years at The Kaempfer Company, where as president he oversaw all the company’s development, leasing, and management activities.

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Cignature Realty Associates has expanded its investment sales team with the hiring of two new investment sales associates.
Christina DiPierro is an entrepreneur, real estate owner/manager and now an investment sales associate focused on Cignature Realty’s Midtown West territory.
Prior to joining Cignature Realty, DiPierro and a partner purchased and renovated a boutique hotel in New Orleans where she served as general manager overseeing the property’s operational turnaround and renovations.
She also co-founded a real estate company that identifies distressed residential properties for rental potential and worked for a short period as a sales associate at a prestigious New York City residential real estate firm.
Before going into real estate, DiPierro founded a luxury brand of women’s daywear that is distributed through online sales and traditional retail boutiques across the United States and select international markets.
DiPierro earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in International Marketing from Fordham University.
She studied at L’Università di Firenze in Florence, Italy, and is fluent in Italian and conversational in Spanish.
Jaimie DeNicola is an investment sales associate focused on Cignature Realty’s Upper East Side of Manhattan territory.
Previously, DeNicola worked at CSM, a global sports and entertainment agency selling corporate sponsorship packages to large domestic and international brands. Before that, he worked as a sales intern at a software development company.
DeNicola attended St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York, where he graduated from in 2017 with a double major in economics and business.
He also earned a Presidential Scholarship and played on the men’s varsity lacrosse team, helping them to advance to the NCAA semifinals and quarterfinals.

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Cignature Realty Associates has tapped Omry Azarzar to lead its new financial advisory division.
Prior to joining Cignature Realty, Azarzar served as a senior loan advisor at the Cornerstone Group where he underwrote commercial real estate loans for multifamily and mixed-use apartment buildings, as well as real estate construction and development.
Azarzar began his career with Bank Leumi, where he completed their elite corporate credit training program. His work at Bank Leumi focused on analyzing debt of commercial companies and determining their financial stability.

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Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP announced that seven attorneys have joined the firm’s Real Estate, Land Use and Environmental practice group in New York from Venable LLP.
Among the group joining are partners Peter G. Koffler, formerly chair of Venable’s New York Real Estate practice group and vice chair of the firm’s national practice, Brian N. Gurtman and Ross A. Honig; special counsel Julia Geykhman, Robert J. Gorzelany and Lee Weiss; and associate Jared Wachtler.
Peter G. Koffler has more than 30 years of transactional real estate experience, working on complex and high-profile matters in New York City and nationally.
His clients include domestic and foreign commercial developers, owners, and operators, as well as several non-real estate companies with significant real estate holdings, such as insurance companies, commercial and private banks, mining companies, and pension funds.
Koffler received his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and a B.A., magna cum laude, from Boston University.
Brian N. Gurtman’s real estate practice is grounded in nearly 20 years of work in the New York City real estate market. He has advised his clients in varying economic situations. His clients include investors, developers, lenders and owners in New York and throughout the world
Gurtman received his J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law and a B.S., cum laude, from Yeshiva University.
Ross A. Honig has advised clients on all types of complex real estate transactions throughout the United States for three decades.
With a primary focus on real estate finance, he regularly represents financial institutions, public and private commercial lenders, sellers, and purchasers.
Honig received his J.D. from the Boston University School of Law and a B.A., cum laude, from the State University of New York at Albany.

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JLL has promoted Mary Oppel as regional operations manager for its New Jersey property management business.
Oppel will position the firm’s property management group to be more responsive to changes in the Garden State’s real estate market by providing a combination of solutions that go beyond traditional operational management strategies.
Oppel has more than 15 years of experience in business and property management. She previously served as vice president of business development with Quantex Laboratories Inc., where she was responsible for the firm’s business strategy, new business initiatives, and client management and engagement.
Earlier, she was an assistant property manager with Hines, overseeing property management efforts for real estate assets valued $1 billion, including two of the international real estate firm’s main New York trophy assets.
Before that, Oppel worked as a portfolio coordinator and assistant general manager with SL Green Realty Trust. She also served as salesperson with luxury residential developer Toll Brothers on its Maxwell Place residential property in Hoboken, N.J.
Oppel received a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University.

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Hunt Real Estate Capital announced that Tyler Griffin joined the firm as its new Chief Operating Officer.
She will be based in the firm’s New York headquarters and will report to James P. Flynn, President and Chief Investment Officer of Hunt Real Estate Capital.
Prior to joining Hunt, Griffin was Chief Operating Officer at Dwight Capital, where she established the firm as an FHA/MAP lender with GNMA servicing capabilities.
During her tenure at Dwight Capital, she was responsible for a servicing portfolio that exceeded $3 billion and more than $1.2 billion in annual loan production.
Before Dwight Capital, Griffin was with Capital One Multifamily Finance as Senior Director, Head of FHA Programs.
Earlier in her career, she held key roles at Beech Street Capital and Metropolitan Funding Corporation.
Griffin graduated Magna Cum Laude with her Bachelor of Arts in Economics & Financial Economics from Vanderbilt University.
While there, she was an All-American athlete and has since been inducted into the Vanderbilt Hall of Fame.

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Rockwood Capital has promoted Andrew Blanchard and Niraj Shah to partners of the firm.
Andrew Blanchard, based in San Francisco, joined Rockwood in 2004.
He has made significant contributions to Rockwood’s commingled fund business and separate account business, most recently as a portfolio manager.
Niraj Shah, based in New York, joined Rockwood in 2008.
He spearheaded the development of Rockwood’s structured products platform.

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CBRE Group, Inc. announced that Darcy Mackay has been appointed Global Director of Human Resources.
Mackay will oversee CBRE’s worldwide human resources activities – including those related to talent development, diversity and compensation & benefits – impacting a global workforce totaling more than 80,000.
She is currently President of CBRE’s Global Workplace Solutions West Division.
In her 19 years with CBRE, Mackay has held many roles including COO of the Americas Occupier Advisory and Transaction Services business and served as CBRE’s Global Head of Transaction Management and Portfolio Services.
Mackay holds a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University and a Master of Public Policy, with an emphasis in real estate and land use economics, from the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley.

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Hudson United Mortgage Services is growing its footprint in Westchester County with the opening of a new office in Elmsford, NY.
Donald Arace, a veteran of the mortgage industry, has been named Vice President of Sales and Production of the new branch.
Arace has over 30-years of mortgage experience. He was previously Vice President of Columbia Home Loans, producing manager for Homebridge, and Vice President of several major prospect mortgage lenders in Westchester County, New York.
He was a legislative committee member and speaker on Lobby Day for Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors and serves on the Hudson Gateway Realtor Foundation.

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