• Peter Plaut
  • Frederick N. Cooper
  • David M. Ledy
  • Kurt Carlton
  • Sondra C. Wenger
  • Michael Halperin
  • Jay Rollins
  • Nicholas Baccile
  • Pamela Watkins-West
  • Ed Steffelin
  • Thomas Maira
  • Joel Breitkopf
  • Andrew Charles
  • Rose Araghchy
  • Christopher Terry
  • George Moffa
  • Kamil Homsi
  • Gerd S. Alexander

Speaker Profiles

Peter Plaut

Executive Director, Wimmer Group

Peter Plaut is consistently recognized as a leader in the industry. Among his many achievements and awards, he was ranked as one of the Top 20 Rising Stars of Hedge Funds during the 2008 financial crisis – a recognition of his ability to manage through crisis and create positive investment opportunities in all environments, Mr. Plaut’s two decades of experience cover both the sell-side and buy-side as a banker, portfolio manager, salesman and analyst.

 

Plaut operates globally sourcing, researching, negotiating and structuring capital markets transactions. He has been a lead banker on many successful capital raises, transactions, and consultative assignments with senior management teams and Boards of Directors. Plaut has senior level relationships with some of the largest hedge funds, private equity funds, family offices, sovereign wealth funds, pension funds and banks in the US, Canada and Europe. 

Currently, Plaut serves as an Executive Director of the Wimmer Family Office in London. His specialty is sourcing real estate development opportunities for Wimmer.

Frederick N. Cooper

Senior Vice President, Finance, International Development, & Investor Relations, Toll Brothers, Inc.

Toll Brothers, Inc. (Tollbrothers.com) (NYSE: TOL) is a Fortune 500 Company, the leading builder of luxury homes in the U.S. and one the nation’s largest land developers. The Company began business in 1967 and went public on the New York Stock Exchange in 1986. Toll Brothers serves first-time, move-up, empty-nester, active-adult and second-home buyers, as well as renters, in suburban and urban markets in 24 states across the U.S. and Washington, D.C.  In 2022, Fortune magazine named Toll Brothers the World’s Most Admired Homebuilder, the seventh year it has been so honored. 
 
Fred Cooper joined Toll Brothers in 1993 to establish its Finance and Investor Relations Departments. As the firm’s in-house investment bank, the team he leads is responsible for Toll’s capital markets and investor relations activities, its financial planning initiatives, and its partnering relationships with major U.S. and international financial and development institutions. Since formation, the group has raised over $20 billion from U.S., European and Asian banks, the public capital markets and US and International institutional partners. In addition to capital raising, they advise on complex project structuring, joint ventures, corporate mergers and acquisitions and major property acquisitions.
 
Fred has been financial point for Toll’s expansion into the urban high-rise condo business through Toll Brothers City Living, which has grown into an operation of over 45 buildings and 5,500 units. He also has been financial point for Toll’s expansion into the rental apartment business through Toll Brothers Apartment Living, which now controls $3 billion in assets in a pipeline of completed and in-development projects totaling over 20,000 units. He also has overseen Toll Brothers’ development of international relationships in Europe, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.
 
From 1989 to 1993, Fred was Director of Corporate Finance and Planning at DKM Properties Corp., the real estate arm of a Forbes Private company and of the nation’s largest private companies. From 1984 to 1989, he was Senior Vice President and a member of the Executive Committee of the NYC Financial Services Corporation, (now NYC Economic Development Corp.), New York City’s economic development bank.    From 1980 to 1983 he worked in community-based affordable housing and economic development in the South Bronx and Brooklyn, New York.
 
He holds an A.B. from Brown University and a Master of Public Policy in finance and international development from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
 
Fred has a strong personal interest in economic and real estate development and affordable housing in emerging markets.  He co-developed and teaches in Wharton’s “Real Estate Development in Emerging Markets” course and has lectured on real estate finance and development since 2006 in Wharton’s International Housing Finance Program.  He is President of U.S. Friends of Kenya Community Development Foundation and an advisor to REALL International, which provides capital and technical assistance to affordable housing developers in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. He is a volunteer consultant with the Stanford University SEED Program, where he works with African entrepreneurs in the real estate development sector.

Fred is an active mentor and lecturer at a variety of graduate-level real estate programs.  He serves on the Harvard Alumni Real Estate Board, and as an advisor to the Harvard Journal for Real Estate. He also serves on the University of Wisconsin Graaskamp Center Real Estate Advisory Board and is a member of the ULI Global Exchange Council.

 

David M. Ledy

COO, U.S. Realty Advisors, LLC

Kurt Carlton

Co Founder, Sherman Bridge Lending

Sondra C. Wenger

Senior Managing Director, Head of Commercial Real Estate, Americas, CBRE Investment Management

Sondra Wenger is Head of Americas Commercial Operator Division for CBRE Investment Management. In this role, Sondra is responsible for all elements of the execution and operation of the firm’s office and retail assets in the Americas. She is a member of the Americas Direct Real Estate Investment Committee for commercial transactions.

Sondra began her career in the commercial real estate industry in 1995 and has sourced, negotiated and closed over $10 billion of transactions in more than 35 cities. Prior to joining CBRE Investment Management in 2021, she served as a senior executive for institutions including CIM Group, General Electric and Equity Office Properties. In these roles, she was responsible for strategizing, developing and executing those firm’s real estate investment strategies. 

Sondra earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business with an emphasis in Accounting from the University of California, Riverside.

Michael Halperin

Managing Director, Real Estate, Contrarian Capital Management, LLC

Jay Rollins

Founder, JCR Capital

Mr. Rollins is President and Co-Founder of JCR. Mr. Rollins is responsible for the oversight of the firm, as well as the development and execution of its investments strategies.

From 1999 to 2005, Mr. Rollins was a Managing Director at GMAC Commercial Mortgage, where he oversaw a balance sheet platform that provided bridge loans, mezzanine loans and participating debt for middle market commercial real estate sponsors.  After founding the group, Mr. Rollins grew it to approximately $1.6 billion of investments and over 180 transactions, making it one of the most successful platforms at GMAC.

Prior to GMAC, Mr. Rollins was the President and Founder of Eastern Realty Corporation, an “RTC-era” real estate investment company. Eastern Realty acquired distressed assets from the RTC, banks and savings and loans, in a variety of asset classes throughout the country.  Mr. Rollins oversaw the assets’ acquisition and disposition, which included debt restructurings, bankruptcy and development as well as note and property sales.

Early in his career, Mr. Rollins worked as a real estate lender for banks in Washington, D.C. and was Director of Finance for a public homebuilder.

Mr. Rollins actively supports financial education and is a frequent guest lecturer and presenter at universities and professional symposia.  Additionally, Mr. Rollins has published a real estate finance manual, titled Commercial Real Estate Uncovered: A Handbook for Real Estate Finance and Investments, and is a regular contributor to industry and national publications.

Mr. Rollins holds an MBA, specializing in Finance, from George Washington University and a BS in Finance and Marketing from Virginia Tech.

 

Nicholas Baccile

Vice President, Canyon Partners Real Estate LLC

Nicholas Baccile is an Assistant Vice President of Canyon Partners Real Estate LLC. Based in New York, Nicholas is responsible for financial analysis, due diligence, acquisitions, developments, debt originations, asset management, and fund management. Prior to Canyon, Nicholas was an associate at RXR Realty in New York. Nicholas graduated from Cornell University with a focus in Applied Economics and Management and a Real Estate Minor.

Pamela Watkins-West

Managing Director - Real Estate Impact Investing, Nuveen

Pamela Watkins-West has 18 years of transaction experience in real estate. Her career began with CBRE, where she primarily focused on multifamily investment sales in the southeastern region of the U.S. In 2007, she joined TH Real Estate, formerly TIAA-CREF Global Real Estate, and has transaction experience across several portfolios. She currently sources, acquires, manages and disposes of various asset types consistent with the investment style of Nuveen’s impact investing strategy. Watkins-West has been instrumental in cultivating joint venture relationships to grow the portfolio for the General Account’s opportunistic allocation. She also recently managed a portfolio with commitments of up to $460 million. She earned an MBA in real estate and finance from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a bachelor’s degree in English and education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Ed Steffelin

Senior Vice President

George Smith Partners

Mr. Steffelin has over 25 years of investment experience in structured products, alternative assets and real estate. He currently serves as SVP of George Smith Partners advising real estate sponsors on debt and equity capital and serves as a cofounder of two start up real estate companies, STAC Capital and Balcara Group. STAC Capital finances model homes and Balcara Group creates single family rental communities.
From 2009 until late 2017, he was EVP of Capital Markets at Walton International Group where he oversaw a New York based analyst team. While at Walton, Mr. Steffelin was instrumental in building up their institutional relationships. During his tenure, he formed a distressed vacant developed lot fund, structured a long-term land investment vehicle with a family office and created a private equity firm focused on the residential real estate space, RAM Real Estate Capital.

In 2008 and 2009 Mr. Steffelin was a Managing Director at ICP Capital where he was responsible for winding down several structured finance vehicles and purchasing distressed mortgage securities.
Mr. Steffelin joined GSC Group to manage the Eliot Bridge hedge fund in 2005 and became a Senior Managing Director and member of the firm’s Operating Committee. At GSC Group, he managed Eliot Bridge, a long short credit fund, and ultimately created and managed a distressed mortgage fund, Pendulum. He also served as CEO of GSC Capital Corporation, an alternative mortgage REIT.
Prior to GSC, he worked at TCW Group, Inc. as a portfolio manager in the mortgage backed securities group. Prior to TCW, he was a Principal at Allianz Risk Transfer AG. During his three years at Allianz, Mr. Steffelin was focused on leveraged credit positions and CDO equity. During the two years prior, he worked at XL Financial Solutions in Hamilton, Bermuda.

From 1998 to 2000 he worked as a Vice President at CGA Investment Management. At CGA Investment Management, Mr. Steffelin helped structure and execute the first two CMBS transactions created in Canada. Mr. Steffelin also has held positions at CapMAC and the New York Stock Exchange.

He graduated from Dartmouth College with an M.B.A. degree and graduated Phi Beta Kappa and with Honors from Occidental College with a B.A. degree in Economics.

Thomas Maira

Partner- DLA Piper

Thomas Maira advises Real Estate private equity groups, sponsors, operators, investors, sellers, buyers, developers, borrowers and lenders in connection with Real Estate joint ventures and preferred equity investments, acquisitions, dispositions, development, mortgage and mezzanine loans - for all asset classes nationally.

Joel Breitkopf

Principal of Alchemy Properties

Joel Breitkopf, Principal of Alchemy Properties, has been in the real estate industry his entire professional career. Joel is involved in all aspects of Alchemy’s developments and investments including acquisition, finance, design, construction, marketing and strategic planning and is a principal of Alchemy – ABR Investment Partners which acquires existing commercial buildings in select major markets. He joined Alchemy in 1993. Previously, he was an executive at Commercial Bank of New York and was Vice President of Acquisitions and Finance for Himmel+Meringoff Properties. In this capacity he oversaw opportunistic acquisitions and structured bank workouts in the early 1990’s. Joel was also a real estate loan officer at Chemical Bank Realty and, prior to that, an analyst at LaSalle Partners, a national real estate advisor.

In 2013, Joel started a music therapy program for Veterans with PTSD, called Healing our Heroes, at the Music Conservatory of Westchester where he is now the President of the Board of Trustees. He was also President of B’nai B’rith Real Estate, and has been affiliated with numerous other industry groups and charities. Joel has financed well over $2 Billion in real estate transactions and has acquired over 3,500,000 square feet of real estate during his career. He has lectured at the Yale University School of Architecture, the University of Pennsylvania, the Wharton Graduate School of Business, Cornell University and has been an Adjunct Professor at New York University’s Master’s Program in Real Estate. Joel is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in Economics.

Andrew Charles

Partner, Kramer Levin

Andrew Charles has extensive experience in all aspects of commercial real estate law, including partnerships and joint ventures, financing for borrowers and lenders, acquisitions and sales, and development and leasing. His client base includes private equity funds, financial institutions, developers, and operators in the acquisition, financing, development, sale and leasing of all classes of commercial properties including office, hotel, multifamily, retail, public storage, mixed use and condominium properties. Andrew focuses mainly on structuring transactions for institutional investors and opportunity funds such as joint ventures, preferred equity investments, mezzanine financing and mixed debt/equity investments.

Rose Araghchy

Founder and president at R2 Advisors

Founder and president at R2 Advisors, a business advisory firm that helps clients grow confidently and soundly through the coordinated delivery of accounting, tax, and asset investment services. Prior to starting R2 Advisors Rose began her career at EY where she was in financial services advisory. At EY she gained experience in financial transaction advisory and regulatory compliance, in the financial services industry. Throughout her career she has always placed in depth focus in investment accounting, taxation and structuring of alternative investments.  

Rose’s extensive accounting and tax experience includes real estate funds, private equity funds, small business investment companies, alternative investment funds. In addition to her experience in tax, accounting and financial reporting, Rose has also advised clients on technology implementation as it relates to the back and middle office functions of various organizations, specifically sponsors of real estate funds.

On the tax and compliance side she is involved with clients in a range of real estate funds and transactions, including acquisitions, refinancing, like-kind exchanges, joint venture agreements, and structuring tax rehabilitation credits for a variety of clients, such as leading real estate owners, operators, investors, and developers. Her exposure to all real estate asset classes, structured finance, distressed debt acquisition, disposition, real estate syndications and pooled investment funds make her a knowledgeable advisor in the industry. Rose also works with complex partnership issues, including Section 704(b), 704(c) and 752 debt allocations.

Rose is a Certified Public Accountant in the state of Virginia and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accounts. Rose, holds a Masters of Accountancy from George Washington University School of Business and a BBA (Accounting) from Marymount University



Christopher Terry

Partner- Kleinberg Kaplan

Chris Terry advises clients in the areas of real estate and real estate finance law, including joint venture transactions, real estate development, sales and acquisitions, financing, leasing and real estate private equity. He has particular experience in medical office and healthcare development, commercial leasing, and the sale and acquisition of hotels, resorts, and commercial office buildings.

George Moffa

Partner- Mazars

George has over 20 years of experience in public accounting, primarily working with privately held businesses and private equity firms in the real estate and financial services industries, as well as high net worth individuals. He specializes in partnership and limited liability company taxation, individual income taxation, state and local income tax compliance, and foreign reporting issues. George also provides consulting and transactional support involving sales and purchases of real estate and other financial assets. Prior to joining Mazars, George served in a similar position at a Long Island accounting firm where he focused on closely held businesses and private client services, as well as common interest realty associations. George received his Bachelor of Science in Accounting from St. John’s University.

Kamil Homsi

CEO - GRC Investments Group

Kamil Homsi - CEO of the GRC Investments Group - Dubai, Single family office that focus on commercial real estate, renewable energy, and waste management.

Mr. Homsi is a permanent member of the investment committee and the head of the global expansion and the portfolio oversight. Multi-lingual, seasoned executive and consummate global entrepreneur with 30+ years of valued transaction-centric experience in cross-border deal structure, alternative investments, and capital markets.

Kamil is an advisory board member among various entities and an expert dispute resolution specialist, recognized speaker on philanthropy, Impact investing and ESG principals. He is an expert on family governance, Mentorship, and succession.

Kamil is fully versed in cross border capital placement regulations and tax incentives within developed economies and emerging markets (i.e., BEPS, GDPR, SFDR, JETRO, CCPA, FIRPTA, CFIUS, AML, FIRRMA, KYC, GRI.... Etc.),

Mr. Homsi has extensive background in engaging with C-Suite executives, influential HNW families and financially accredited multi-national investors. Additionally, has established credibility as a strategic advisory board member within the Global HNW & Family Office Space on dynamic macro-economic vision, and uncommon ability to engage an inter-disciplinary team of professionals with immense global network connections and endured business alliances.

Global Realty Capital LLC is the onshore arm of the global family office, Its focus is to identify investment opportunities and qualify potential partners that share alignment of interests, code of ethics and common objectives.

 

Gerd S. Alexander

Principal - Transactional Advisory Service

Gerd S. Alexander is a partner in the Real Estate practice of Paul Hastings and is based in the firm’s New York office. Mr. Alexander represents real estate developers, operators, and investors on a wide range of real estate transactions (including acquisitions, dispositions, joint ventures, and debt financings) in connection with office buildings, hotels, condominiums, self-storage facilities, multi-family properties (including affordable housing), and retail properties.