While our Milwaukee office is less than two years old, we have quickly grown to a nine-person team and are proud to have one of the most diverse team rosters with a myriad of capabilities and expertise under one roof. The additions of Richard Evans from Berkadia Institutional Solutions powered by Moran, Andrew Jumbeck from the JV Equity & Structured Capital Group and Ralph DePasquale has bolstered our team’s ability to offer a litany of services to Midwest market participants.
Richard, Andrew and Ralph, alongside Senior Managing Director Mark Dellonte and Director of Operations Amy Barry, sat down to discuss the most valuable lessons they’ve learned doing business in Wisconsin, their different backgrounds and how it lends to collaboration.
Q: How has the team grown and what excites you about being part of the Berkadia Milwaukee team?
Mark: In the beginning, Amy and I opened the Milwaukee office as just a two-person team. I brought my background as President and CEO of a large, national HUD/FHA lending company, and Amy brought her expertise in real estate finance, LIHTC investment analysis and strategic planning. We grew the team to six with the initial focus on Agency financing (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and HUD), affordable housing and growing the mortgage banking side. But once we got going, we realized that there were a number of services that Berkadia offers and we wanted this office to do it all.
The addition of our newest team members, Richard and Andrew, have been really beneficial in helping us spread our wings even more. Along with the full array of Agency products, we now offer all CRE financing options for multifamily, seniors housing, hotel and other property types, giving our clients a full suite of tools. We’re excited to have team members from across Berkadia’s breadth of expertise all under one roof—so far, one of the only Berkadia offices of its kind. It’s rewarding to see how much we have been able to grow in less than two years, even amidst a pandemic!
Q: What are some of the most important things you’ve learned about doing business in Wisconsin?
Amy: We’re trying to shed light on the solid businesses in both Wisconsin and the greater northern states. There is a huge unmet demand for both affordable and high-end market rate housing that are challenged by lack of competitive financing choices. For example, one of our clients is focused on adaptive reuse—taking historic, beautiful buildings and renovating them into housing, office, retail and hotels for the community. We have another focused on aggressively preserving naturally-occurring affordable housing in their community with a goal of expanding to cover their entire state.
The challenge with these deals is that they are too big for local banks to play in, but too small or complicated to get the attention of people who shy away from looking at these Midwest markets. Our team brings incredible expertise as well as the tools to support our clients’ needs in a consistent, cost competitive and efficient way. We are very proud of this new team and excited for what lies ahead. We are not done growing yet!
Q: Richard, Andrew and Ralph, can you share more about your backgrounds?
Richard: I attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison where they have an excellent undergrad real estate program. I got my first job out of college in Chicago where I served as an analyst for four years, then spent the next five years as an acquisition associate in Chicago for a Seattle-based pension fund advisor. That experience gave me insight into acquiring and developing a variety of property types (multifamily, industrial, retail, office) across the Midwest in Chicago, Indianapolis, St. Louis, and Minneapolis-St. Paul. Afterward, I teamed up with Pete Evans at Moran & Company in Chicago, where I spent the past 11 years covering multifamily investment sales and raising equity for new multifamily developments in Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.
I have lived in Milwaukee since 2012, meaning that pre-pandemic, I was commuting to my Moran & Company office in downtown Chicago via Amtrak every day. So, when Berkadia and Moran & Company merged at the beginning of this year to create Berkadia Institutional Solutions powered by Moran, I was fortunate enough to join the Milwaukee office. Pete and our Midwest team are still based in Chicago, but working in the Milwaukee office has given us the opportunity to partner with Ralph on everything the team is doing in Wisconsin, Minnesota and beyond. I am really excited to take our resume in investment sales and equity in the greater northern states and combine it with Ralph’s investment sales expertise in the area. This formula lends to some powerful teamwork. In fact, our combined new team has transacted $650,000,000 in multifamily investment sales in Wisconsin alone, making us the top multifamily investment sales team in the state, by far.
We may specialize in different areas of real estate capital under the Berkadia umbrella, but in our office, it feels like a family with a strong local presence.
Andrew: I started out my career at MLG Capital, where I helped build out the first private fund, spending time traveling around the Midwest trying to meet sponsors and write equity checks. After about five years, I shifted into the asset management role and oversaw portfolios and the operation side of things. From there, I joined a Denver-based sponsor, who was solely focused on multifamily, and had the opportunity to run the acquisition strategy and manage a small ten-property portfolio. Now, I’ve come over to the equity side at Berkadia—they call me the “bricks and sticks” guy, because it’s rare for someone with acquisitions and operational experience to join a capital markets team. In this market, the value of a deal is not always obvious and my experience is beneficial when our team is trying to understand the full story and value of each deal we look at. It takes time to dig in and understand an operational or micro market story, which is something I really enjoy doing. Hopefully, my experience will help our clients close a few extra deals in 2021 and beyond.
The JV Equity & Structured Capital Group has mostly funded deals in the larger, institutional markets along the coasts, as well as larger secondary markets throughout Texas and the Southeast. I’ll be bringing my experience and relationships to help us grow the business in the non-coastal/Midwest markets, such as Minneapolis, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Columbus and beyond. We currently have equity relationships that are willing to invest in those markets and I’m excited to start closing deals in these communities.
Ralph: It’s hard to believe that my first transaction in Milwaukee was back in the early 1990’s with the sale of Landmark by the Lake! Over the last few decades, we’ve sold over 5,000 units throughout the state. The region and the state has so much to offer—I have always been and will continue to be a huge champion for more investment in this area.
Q: How has having all these different backgrounds and expertise under one roof offered room for collaboration?
Ralph: The collaboration is just beginning. Many of us are still working remotely, and while not everyone is in the office, we’ve got a lot of common clients and common deals bringing us together. These have been great areas to collaborate and provide different strategies to both developers and investors. With the growing team, we all focus on different parts of the business that lend to a free-flowing collaboration and hopefully, more business opportunities.
Andrew has been around Milwaukee and has a strong understanding in the local equity space and how local deals are structured. It’s been a great benefit for us, as well as Richard’s contacts that lend to terrific synergy and credibility in meetings and deals. The collaboration is present from a deal-by-deal perspective and with this team, it’s a constant flow of education, information and expertise that has already been so beneficial.
Our Commitment to Our Clients & Partners
While we do financing anywhere in the country, we are committed to finding solutions that address the challenges of efficiently and cost effectively developing, operating and selling rental housing and commercial real estate in Wisconsin—and the greater Midwest. It matters to us that we make a difference in the communities we are proud to be a part of. Berkadia has made a huge commitment by investing in our team and we look forward to growing Berkadia’s Midwest presence together.