Here it is, our final selection of commercial real estate's top movers and shakers who could make a big difference in how the industry evolves in the future. For earlier editions of this list, please refer to the January and February 2000 issues of NREI or visit the magazine's Website at www.nreionline.com.
Timothy Callahan President & CEO, Group Head, Equity Office Properties Trust Chicago Some people think any company owned by Sam Zell has to be run by the man himself or a Zell-like clone. But those in the know are aware that Tim Callahan is anything but Zell-like; although he does embody many characteristics that make Zell such an observed investor.
Callahan has ensured that Equity Office remains at the forefront of innovations for the REIT community. In February 1998, the firm issued a $1.5 billion bond offering, $1 billion larger than any REIT had issued at that time.
He worked with the IRS for more than 16 months to get a private letter ruling in January 1999, which allowed the delivery of advanced telecommunications services to Equity Office customers without violation of current REIT rules.
Callahan also devised a branding strategy for the company, "Redefining the Workplace," which aligns its 1,700 employees to the philosophy of working with customers to affect change in the workplace. He launched the "FastTrack Lease," which is an abbreviated document offering tenants more equitable terms up front. It also replaces "legalese" with plain English in many instances. And he created the Equity Office access program, which offers more products, services and conveniences to its customers, rather than just bricks-and-mortar.
These innovations appear to be only the beginning of what we can expect to see from Callahan. You can be sure he will continue to find new ways to turn the traditional building/tenant relationship on its ear.
Douglas Crocker II President & CEO Equity Residential Properties Trust Chicago They say you can't fight success. It would be one thing if Equity Residential's Doug Crocker made a misstep or two along the road to ultimate multifamily firm, but he just keeps making those big deals and hitting those financial numbers.
There's the latest merger - a $733 million deal with Lexford Residential Trust in November 1999. Then there was the $2.2 billion Merry Land & Investment acquisition in late-1998. Also in 1998, the firm's revenues shot past $1 billion for the first time. And every quarter, Crocker just keeps on delivering those results to investors. All of which has positioned Equity Residential as the nation's largest publicly traded apartment company, with more than 1,000 properties across 35 states.
With all of the acquisitions, Crocker has become a master of the phrase, "accretive to earnings." But investors and shareholders are listening. In third-quarter 1999, Crocker delivered an 11% growth in funds from operations and a 28% earnings increase over the same period in 1998.
So far, the firm has eschewed the notion of national branding of its products, but who knows if that will change, especially as its office-brother, Equity Office, continues its own branding program.
Recently, Crocker has shown his latest proclivity by acquiring a complementary business that isn't necessarily a pure apartment play. Last month, EQR bought Cincinnati-based Globe Business Resources, for $65 million. Globe's corporate housing division provides fully furnished short-term housing, and its furniture division rents and sells residential and office furniture.
No doubt about it: Crocker and EQR will continue to make headlines.
Jeff Hines President Hines Houston When your name is on the door, you have added responsibility. But in the case of Jeff Hines, son of legendary founder Gerald Hines, the pressure must be enormous at times. But Jeff has paid his dues, joining his father's firm right out of Harvard Business School in 1981. Today, he's responsible for overseeing all of the firm's policies and procedures as well as day-to-day operations. And he's a Hines executive committee member.
No question Jeff has some pretty big shoes to fill. Gerald Hines founded the company in 1957, building it into one of the leading real estate firms in the world. He's a world-renowned stickler for high-quality standards, great architecture and for supporting urban planning initiatives. Today, the company he built includes a portfolio of more than 500 properties valued in excess of $9 billion.
Jeff will continue Hines' recent expansion into international markets. And come the next downturn (whenever that may be), he will have learned from Gerald's conservative bent during the 1980s, when he began financing projects with equity rather than loading up on debt.
So far, Jeff has directed the development of the firm's first $410 million emerging markets fund, which provides capital for new development projects in emerging international markets. He's also been instrumental in developing Hines' domestic and international acquisition program, which has snapped up more than $1.3 billion of properties to date.
Since joining the firm, Jeff has assumed a major leadership position, which has resulted in a major expansion of Hines' holdings, products and services as well as a dramatic increase in the firm's capital base and the reinforcement of its reputation for excellence.
Jeff holds a bachelor's degree in economics from Williams College and an MBA from Harvard's Graduate School of Business.
Ross Perot Jr. Chairman Hillwood Development Corp. Ft. Worth, Texas Flying around the world in a helicopter in fewer than 30 days might not be what most real estate executives consider recreation today, but if you're Ross Perot Jr. and you have a famous father (or infamous, depending on how you look at it), expectations for your success run high. That was in 1982, but today Perot is ably carrying on the family name in the real estate business.
He and his dad are solely responsible for the vision that brought about the Fort Worth Alliance Airport and the 8,300-acre, mixed-use development around it, between Dallas and Fort Worth. Alliance was just the springboard to bigger and better things for Perot's company.
Today, Hillwood Holdings is a national player, with particular focus on investment and development. Victory, Hillwood's 65-acre mixed-use development near downtown Dallas (see December NREI, p. 12), is one major project to watch. Construction is now under way on the new $230 million American Airlines Center arena for the Dallas Mavericks basketball team (of which Perot is a majority owner) and the Dallas Stars hockey franchise. Office starts should soon follow.
Early last year, Perot reorganized Hillwood into eight different divisions, including investments, strategic services for U.S. and international ventures, land, sports and entertainment, and even a West Coast division. Hillwood also is developing Circle T Ranch, a 2,500-acre mixed-use development in Westlake; Heritage, a 2,300-acre primarily residential community in North Fort Worth; and nine residential communities throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The company is getting bigger and bigger with age.
Perot is looking at the effect of e-commerce on his business in the future. Already, Alliance has attracted a number of high-tech firms, and he expects that trend to continue. "This [the Alliance project] will evolve into one of the great e-commerce stories in real estate," says Perot. The latest project, soon to be completed, is an air trade center, which will allow on-tarmac access to planes. It also doesn't hurt that Perot is spending more time at his dad's Perot Systems, learning the technology business firsthand.
A native of Dallas, Perot earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from Vanderbilt University in 1981.He served eight years in the U.S. Air Force.
Scott Rechler President & co-CEO Reckson Associates Realty Corp. Melville, N.Y. Just take a quick peek at Reckson Associate's Website at www.reckson.com, and you'll know there's something different here. There are short video presentations from both chairman & co-CEO Donald Rechler and president & co-CEO Scott Rechler. Scott talks of "changing the paradigm" of how people think about real estate operating companies and "building a brand." Now you might get the feeling you've heard all of this before, but Reckson is, again, different.
Scott Rechler is part of the new breed of real estate executives who is carving out change. He was the architect of Reckson's successful initial public stock offering in June 1995, which has been the foundation for Reckson's dramatic growth. And, he has been instrumental in shaping the company's growth strategy as Reckson has branched into New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
Rechler has overseen more than $2.5 billion in acquisitions and developments since joining the company in l989. Following Reckson's IPO, Rechler helped to grow the company more than four-fold to about 20 million sq. ft. with a total market capitalization in excess of $3 billion.
Most importantly, Reckson has generated a 135% return to the company's shareholders. Rechler has used his finance and real estate acumen to help the company deliver above-average returns and capitalize on investments.
In 1997, Rechler engineered the spin-off of Frontline Capital Group, a business services provider with a total market capitalization of about $142 million. As Frontline's president and CEO, Rechler has made Frontline a significant player in the executive suite business as well as the telecommunication services industry.
He has become a visible spokesperson for the REIT industry, and you can look for more from him in the future.
John Stanfill President & CEO PropertyFirst.com Alhambra, Calif. John Stanfill is an experienced and recognized commercial real estate investment executive with more than 25 years in the business. But last year, Stanfill, a tech convert, went beyond traditional real estate and launched PropertyFirst.com. This move was a bid by Stanfill to create the most advanced online multiple listing service for the commercial real estate industry. It allows site users to buy and sell commercial real estate more efficiently and features business news, weather and even sports updates.
"Commercial real estate executives are presently at a crossroads because they are unsure of the role the Internet should play in their strategic business plan," says Stanfill.
You could say Stanfill first saw the light in 1996, when he hired RealUSA, a small software company, to develop a private label version of its database software as a listings management system for CB Richard Ellis. Within a year, the firm launched the system. Stanfill was so impressed by the software's power that he left CB and acquired RealUSA and the rights to its technology. That was the basis for what is today PropertyFirst.com's multiple listing service.
Financial backers include Brentwood Venture Capital, Oak Investment Partners, Amerindo Investment Advisors, Sun America Investments, the Wolfson Group, TMCT Ventures and an alliance with the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS).
Stanfill began his career as a commission investment broker for Coldwell Banker (now CB Richard Ellis), and later co-founded Stanfill, Paulson & Co., a real estate investment banking firm. He was president of CB Richard Ellis' highly successful investment properties group until the end of 1997.
Stanfill has a bachelor's degree in English from UCLA.
Barry Sternlicht CEO Starwood Hotels & Resorts White Plains, N.Y. Could he really do it? Could this 30-something Harvard grad really buy ITT and create a behemoth hotel company that makes money instead of falling apart under its own weight?
While still being tested, Barry Sternlicht seems to be making Starwood Hotels & Resorts work. Last year he de-REITed, and since then the Street has been kinder to his stock. Today, this 39-year-old chairman and CEO has made Starwood one of the largest hotel and gaming companies, with a total market capitalization exceeding $18 billion and more than 690 hotels in 71 countries worldwide. The company controls six premier global brands, including Westin, Sheraton, Four Points by Sheraton, St. Regis/Luxury Collection, W Hotels and Caesars.
But that's only the beginning. Sternlicht is also president and CEO of Starwood Capital Group, a Greenwich, Conn.-based private real estate investment firm he formed in 1991. For the past six years, he has structured more than 190 separate investment transactions (with a cost basis of more than $5 billion) and secured credit facilities totaling more than $2 billion.
Starwood's funds now have interests in more than 8,000 apartment units, more than 125 hotels, more than 6 million sq. ft. of office properties and several thousand acres of land in residential subdivisions. Today the firm manages more than $1.6 billion of capital and recently completed investments for its fourth commingled fund with $830 million of commitments from taxable and tax-exempt investors.
>From college, Sternlicht joined Chicago-based JMB Realty, as senior vice >president in the acquisition group. Today, he is also chairman of Starwood >Financial Trust.
Jay Scott Sugarman President & CEO Starwood Financial Trust New York What is it about these Harvard grads? Here's another one - Starwood Financial president and CEO Jay Sugarman. He's extremely successful and certainly one to watch.
Sugarman runs one of the largest publicly traded finance companies, which focuses exclusively on commercial real estate. But it wasn't always that way. The company started in 1993 as a group of private investment funds. Since then, the business has grown to about $1.1 billion in assets, and in March 1998 it became a publicly traded entity.
In 1998, Starwood Financial acquired the loan origination and servicing business of Phoenix Realty Services and its largest private competitor's mortgage and mezzanine loan portfolio for approximately $280 million and concurrently raised $220 million of perpetual preferred equity. Just last November it closed on its merger with TriNet Corp. Realty Trust. Today, Starwood's permanent book equity is almost $2 billion and its total market capitalization is about $4 billion. The company's business platform is now recognized by real estate professionals as the largest and most experienced in several key finance markets including structured real estate finance, mezzanine finance and net-lease financing.
Sugarman became president and trustee of Starwood Financial in 1996 and then CEO in 1997. Previously, Sugarman was senior managing director of Starwood Capital Group and president of Starwood Mezzanine Investors, where he was responsible for all fixed-income investments and led the origination or purchase of $1 billion in structured commercial real estate loans.
Prior to forming Starwood Mezzanine, Sugarman managed diversified investment funds on behalf of the Burden family, a branch of the Vanderbilts, and the Ziff family. In that position, he was jointly responsible for the formation of Starwood Capital and HBK Investments, one of the nation's largest convertible arbitrage trading operations. Sugarman also was responsible for investments in a variety of asset classes and investment strategies, including distressed and high-yield securities, corporate buyouts and venture-capital investments. Earlier in his career, Sugarman worked at First Boston Corp. and Goldman Sachs.
He received his undergraduate degree summa cum laude from Princeton University and his master's degree in business administration from Harvard Business School.
John A. Vickers Chairman &CEO Tishman Realty Corp. Tishman Hotel Corp. New York When the finishing touches are put on the Westin New York Hotel in Times Square in early 2002, one person will be smiling more broadly than the rest. That's John Vickers who, at the tender age of 37, has turned Tishman Hotel Corp.into one of the country's largest hotel management firms.
"These deals are tough to get done, but luckily we have the track record that we can put these things together," Vickers said in a January 1999 NREI cover story.
During his tenure, Vickers has overseen some high-profile projects, including: development and financing for the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotels and convention complex; development and financing for the Westin Rio Mar Beach Resort & Country Club in Puerto Rico; development and financing for the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers; development and financing for the E-Walk retail complex in Times Square; the $140 million restructuring of the Hilton at Walt Disney World Village; the development of the Westin New York in Times Square; and establishment of Tishman Hotel Corp., now ranked the fourth-largest independent hotel management company, and Tishman Real Estate Services, Tishman's office leasing and management division.
Vickers holds a bachelor's degree in economics from Trinity college and an MBA in finance from Columbia University in New York. He is a member of the Columbia University Real Estate Program Advisory Board, the Urban Land Institute, Young Mortgage Bankers Association and the Real Estate Board of New York.
Right now, Vickers has a lot on his plate just with the huge E-Walk project, but you can bet that he'll be making more moves ahead.