C-III Capital Partners and Colony Capital to become Grubb & Ellis stakeholders

C-III Capital Partners, an affiliate of Island Capital Group, is set to become a significant stakeholder in Grubb & Ellis with Colony Capital, Grubb & Ellis announced today. Grub & Ellis has entered into exclusive negotiations with a subsidiary of C-III Capital Partners regarding what it called “the strategic transaction.”

A C-III affiliate also will invest $10 million in Grubb & Ellis through the expansion of the company’s existing $18 million credit facility with Colony Capital and purchase $4 million of Colony’s existing facility.

Andrew Farkas, chairman and CEO of C-III Capital Partners, said the agreement would put Grubb & Ellis on firmer footing.

“C-III Capital Partners and Colony have the capital base and industry expertise necessary to bolster Grubb & Ellis’ client offerings,” Farkas said.

Read the original article on The Real Deal.

Andrew Farkas Helped Wife Create Pony Fellowship

Sandi Goff Farkas, wife of Andrew Farkas, created the Playwrights of New York (Pony) Fellowship.  This fellowship provides an apartment to live in for a year and a monthly stipend to help support emerging playwrights.  As a playwright herself, Sandi noticed many great ideas weren’t getting written into screenplays because of the lack of support, which Pony now offers.

Andrew Farkas, CEO of C-III Capital Partners, helped Sandi create the fellowship by buying an apartment for the playwrights receiving the fellowship to live in.  Farkas also asked 12 friends for $2,500 each “to support a playwright for a month.”

On Tuesday, October 11, Sandi Goff Farkas was awarded the first ever Lark Risktaker Award for the creation of Pony.  The event was held at the Midtown offices of the Lark Play Development Center.  A previous recipient of the Pony Fellowship, Katori Hall, who wrote the play “The Mountaintop”, was at the event to give Sandi her award.  Katori’s play started at the Lark in 2007 and opened on Broadway this week.

Andrew Farkas’ C-III Capital Partners Acquired JER Partners

C-III Capital Partners, a diversified real estate services firm led by Andrew Farkas, announced Tuesday that it has acquired the commercial real estate special servicing and collateralized debt obligation management businesses of JER Partners for an undisclosed sum.

JER is the named special servicer for $35.5 billion of commercial real estate loans, of which approximately $4 billion is currently in special servicing and under active management. C-III will merge JER’s special servicing operations into its wholly-owned special servicing firm, C-III Asset Management. With the acquisition, that company is now the named special servicer for approximately 14,000 loans with an aggregate balance in excess of $152 billion, of which approximately $17 billion is currently in special servicing.

“This acquisition strengthens C-III’s position as one of the top three special servicers in the country and advances our growth strategy,” said Andrew Farkas, CEO of C-III Capital Partners. “Special servicing is a key foundation of our strategy to create a fully-diversified commercial real estate company.”

The acquisition of JER’s special servicing and certified debt obligation management businesses follows 16 months of growth for C-III. It purchased Centerline Capital Group’s commercial loan servicing and institutional real estate debt fund management businesses in March 2010. Since that time, C-III has successfully launched mortgage origination, investment sales and title insurance businesses and expanded its principal investment, loan origination, fund management and primary and special loan servicing businesses. Two months ago, it announced its agreement to acquire NAI Global, the largest network of independent commercial real estate services firms worldwide.

Mr. Farkas also founded and heads Island Capital Group, a real estate merchant banking firm specializing in real estate investing, real estate operating businesses and real estate securities.

Read the full article on Crain’s New York Business.

JER Partners Commercial Servicing Business is Andrew Farkas’ Latest Acquisition

Andrew Farkas‘ C-III Capital Management acquired the commercial real estate special servicing and collateralized debt obligation management business of JER Partners for an undisclosed amount, the company announced today. JER is the named special servicer for $35.5 billion of commercial real estate loans, of which $4 billion is under active management. In May the firm sold the defaulted loan on Kent Swig’s 80 Broad Street to Savanna Investments for about $66 million (note: correction appended).

C-III will take control of all of JER’s assets, and will merge its servicing portfolio employees into its asset management division. The firm has been on a bit of a buying spree in the last 18 months, acquiring both Centerline Capital Group’s commercial loan servicing business in March 2010 and commercial services firm NAI Global in June 2011. As previously reported, Andrew Farkas is one of several high-profile firms that is strategically purchasing loan servicers to profit off of underwater boom-year loans.

“This acquisition strengthens C-III’s position as one of the top three special servicers in the country and advances our growth strategy,” Farkas, the firm’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “Special servicing is a key foundation of our strategy to create a fully diversified commercial real estate company.”

Read the full article on The Real Deal.

Commercial Real Estate Sales Rise in the Second Quarter

Good news for Andrew Farkas and others in the real estate business — global commercial real estate sales rose 47 percent in the second quarter compared to last year’s numbers. Sales finished out at $101 billion for the second quarter and are set to reach at least $440 billion for the year. Though a $440 billion year would show a vast improvement from the last years of the economic recession, the industry would still be short of its totals in 2006 and 2007 when sales reached a height of over $700 billion. But this quarter marks the highest sales total for a single quarter since 2007, and many are attributing the jump to a strengthening of lending markets, allowing necessary debt financing for transactions.

The world saw the largest increase in direct investment in the Americas at $49 billion. Europe, the Middle East and Asia came in at $34 billion, which was only a slight increase from last year, but still marked an upswing from previous quarters. Though Russia and the Nordic countries saw increased sales, investors have been cautious in European countries, especially those in the euro zone in light of economic crises in Greece, Ireland and Portugal.

This spike in sales gives world economists — and real estate professionals like Andrew Farkas — a good reason to be optimistic for the future of the commercial real estate industry.

Fitch Ratings Returns Decision on C-III Investment Management LLC CDO Transfers

Fitch Ratings, a global credit rating company, reached its decision regarding C-III Investment Management LLC collateralized debt obligation (CDO) transfers. The credit rating company decided that C-III meets all the criteria necessary for becoming a potential replacement CDO collateral asset manager. In April, Fitch Ratings was notified of two possible transfers — Nomura CRE CDO 2007-2 and AMAC CDO Funding I — of CDOs from C-III Asset Management LLC to C-III Investment Management.

Though as a rating company, Fitch Ratings is not a party to the transfers, and thus does not approve or consent to them, Fitch Ratings has confirmed that C-III Investment Management meets the minimum criteria. Fitch Ratings’ criteria for evaluation can be found on its website in two separate documents, “Global Structured Finance Rating Criteria” from August 13, 2010 and in the special report “CDO Asset Managers: U.S. Replacement Activity Update” dated December 9 of last year.

C-III Investment Management is a subsidiary of Andrew Farkas’ C-III Capital Partners LLC, which manages about $2 billion in invested capital and has offices in both New York and Texas. Island Capital Group LLC,  led by Andrew Farkas, is C-III Capital Partners’ controlling company.

Andrew Farkas’ C-III Acquires NAI Global

C-III Capital Partners LLC (C-III), a portfolio company of Andrew Farkas’ Island Capital Group, announced on Wednesday that it has reached an agreement to acquire NAI Global, a network of independent commercial real estate firms in 55 countries around the world.

Farkas said that he plans to use C-III’s asset base and the acquisition of NAI Global — as well as other strategic acquisitions — to develop a more diversified real estate company.

“This is the strategy that was successful for Insignia,” he said. “C-III is led by the same team that built Insignia, and with C-III’s significantly larger asset base, I believe C-III can substantially exceed Insignia’s success.”

NAI Global boasts 5,000 professionals and 350 offices in the United States alone, and provides a variety of corporate, management and technological services, with over $45 billion of transactions completed annually. Despite the acquisition, the company will still operate independently under its current management.

Before acquiring NAI Global, C-III also purchased Centerline Capital Group’s real estate debt fund management and commercial mortgage loan servicing businesses. Through this acquisition, C-III was able to develop mortgage origination, investment sales and title insurance businesses.

President and CEO of NAI Global Jeffrey M. Finn called the partnership between C-III and NAI Global a “perfect fit” for the two companies. He went on to say that the acquisition will “take the enterprise to a new level.”

ASPCA Spay and Neuter Clinic Opens in NYC

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), one of many charities supported by Andrew Farkas, recently opened a spay/neuter clinic for animal rescuers in Ridgewood, Queens. The clinic will serve as an interim facility through 2012, when construction for the permanent headquarters in Manhattan is expected to be completed.

The clinic is part of a larger effort to make safe and high-quality spay and neuter services available and affordable to all cats and dogs in New York City. It is yet another step in ASPCA’s plan to address animal homelessness, and the new facility will feature modern equipment, accept appointments and work with the organization’s transport services, which provide free rides to spay and neuter animals, including feral cats and dogs.

ASPCA’s current mobile clinics treat 30,000 animals per year in New York City, and have recently started a program to identify neighborhoods with higher numbers of abandoned cats and dogs. The organization is beginning by targeting East Harlem and the Lower East Side with increased spay and neuter services, monitoring the number of abandoned animals in those areas both before and after their efforts. ASPCA is an influential force outside of New York as well, and their website features a searchable database so you can find low-cost spay and neuter programs in your own community.

How Andrew Farkas Landed at the Top of the Real Estate Game

Do you ever wonder how Andrew Farkas went from being an energetic Harvard undergrad to one of the top players in the real estate industry? After graduating in 1982 with a degree in economics, he went on to work at Salomon Brothers, a Wall Street investment bank. Soon after, he founded Insignia, which quickly became one of the largest owners and operators of both multifamily real estate and commercial space in the United States.

Now, Andrew Farkas remains busy as the CEO and founder of Anubis Advisors, which is a subsidiary of Island Capital Group LLC (ICG), an international real estate merchant banking and asset management firm. The company is headquartered in New York, where Farkas lives with his wife Sandi. In addition to being heavily involved in the commercial real estate industry, the couple supports several charities and is often seen at fundraisers for organizations such as The Doe Fund, The Fresh Air Fund, NARAL, the ASPCA and AMFAR.

Crain’s 40 Under Forty: The New Class

It’s been nearly 15 years since Andrew Farkas was named as one of Crain’s New York Business’ “40 Under Forty,” but the people who make up 2011’s class seem to hold just as much promise—especially Sush Torgalkar, a CEO whose path to success sounds similar to the one that Farkas himself took. Torgalkar began as an associate at Westbrook Partners, and after bonding with co-founder Paul Kazilionis over a difficult coffee machine in the break room, began his journey to the top of the company. Now he oversees the fund, which owns more than $20 billion worth of real estate, including office space, multi-family residential buildings, hotels and retail areas, similar to Andrew Farkas’ Island Capital Group LLC (ICG).

Just as Torgalkar dominated the real estate category of the 2011 class, Farkas was the most notable real estate entrepreneur of the class of 1997, and he continues to work in the industry, overseeing ICG as well as Anubis Advisors. Separating the most recent class from previous years is an increased involvement in the digital area—Crain’s reported that 50 percent use Twitter and 77.5 percent use Facebook.

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