CoRE Talk - Past Guests

Join us every Thursday for an Insiders look at the South Florida Commercial Real Estate market.   Each week we feature a leading South Florida Commercial Real Estate Insider to share their market knowledge and predictions.

May 8: Robert Kaplan, Principal at Ackman-Ziff Real Estate Group, LLC

Mr. Kaplan is a Principal of The Ackman-Ziff Real Estate Group, LLC with over 25 years of experience in commercial real estate investment banking, sales, leasing, management, and law. Prior to joining Ackman Ziff in 2011, Mr. Kaplan was a practicing attorney before launching a successful career in real estate investment banking and sales brokerage. As a financing and investment sales broker, Mr. Kaplan has been involved in transactions totaling over $5 billion.

Mr. Kaplan began his real estate career in the Miami office of the law firm of Greenberg Traurig. His practice involved primarily zoning, land use, environmental law, and complex real estate equity and debt transactions. Mr. Kaplan then joined Terranova Corporation as Executive Vice President and General Counsel. Mr. Kaplan was instrumental in the firm’s workout and restructuring activities, which involved a five million square foot retail and office portfolio.

Mr. Kaplan was a partner at CREC in charge of real estate acquisitions and finance. He was also a senior member of the firm’s executive committee involved in the firm’s third-party property management, construction management, and leasing activities for a portfolio of over two million square feet of office buildings and retail centers. Mr. Kaplan eventually became the head of the firm’s third-party sale brokerage and finance group.

During his tenure at HFF and Olympian Capital, Mr. Kaplan arranged approximately $5 billion in senior debt, mezzanine financing, and equity. While at HFF, Mr. Kaplan and his team worked on many of the largest sale and finance transactions closed at the firm, and he was a top grossing producer at HFF nationally.

Elizabeth Santos, Vice President at Sime Realty Corporation

For the past 18 years, Elizabeth Santos has specialized in the area of office properties within the commercial real estate profession.  Her comprehensive knowledge of theMiami market and its tenants, along with her extensive landlord relationships, make it possible for Elizabeth to tailor innovative and effective occupancy solutions for her clients.

She has expertise in tenant representation, office leasing and subleasing, corporate real estate services and investment sales. Elizabeth’s approach is strategic rather than merely transactional.  She specializes in creating business solutions that integrate an organization’s strategy and vision. Elizabethhas experience in space planning, lease negotiations, financial analysis and construction management.

In the several years, Ms. Santos has completed over 300,000 sf of lease rep transactions withinMiamiDadeCountywith a focus on the suburban submarkets.  She is an acknowledged expert inMiami.

May 29: Alexander Bernaldo, President at Americas Industrial Realty

Alexander Bernaldo is the President of Americas Industrial Realty Corporation. Mr. Bernaldo joined the company in 1996 where he developed into a specialist in commercial – industrial real estate sales and leasing. During his tenure, he has helped establish A.I.R.C. as one of South Florida’s premier brokerage companies. Throughout his successful career, Mr. Bernaldo has been recognized as one of South Florida’s top Industrial Realtors by CoStar, South Florida Business Journal and as a member of the Miami-Dade Commercial Board of Realtors, National Association of Realtors, the Florida Association of Realtors and the Commercial Industrial Association of South Florida. He specializes in commercial and industrial real estate in the South Florida Industrial Market Area. Mr. Bernaldo has an extensive knowledge and experience in sales, leasing, investments, consulting, tenant and landlord representation, marketing developments and property management.

Mr. Bernaldo received the international designation to the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR). He is one of the youngest professionals worldwide to obtain what is now consider the highest designations that exist in the commercial real estate industry. Mr. Bernaldo is fluent in both English and Spanish.

June 5th: Tere Blanca, President at Blanca Commercial Real Estate, Inc

Tere Blanca is the founder, president and CEO of Blanca Commercial Real Estate, Inc., a premier commercial property real estate advisory services and brokerage firm based in Miami. Founded in April 2009, the Firm has advised clients in transactions valued in excess of $450.0 million, including having advised clients in approximately 1.4 million square feet of office leases.

Ms. Blanca has more than 20 years of experience in the South Florida real estate sector. Prior to launching Blanca Commercial Real Estate, she served as Sr. Managing Director for Cushman & Wakefield of Florida, Inc., where she led the Firm’s South Florida operations, achieving revenue growth and increased profitability.

Prior to joining Cushman & Wakefield, Ms. Blanca held the position of Sr. Vice President at Codina Realty Services Inc. ONCOR International where she was consistently among the top producers during her 14-year tenure. She has participated in multiple projects from land acquisition through the master planning, design, construction, marketing, successful lease-up, and sale phases.

Ms. Blanca is a past chair of The Beacon Council, a member of the Board of Directors of City Year Miami and the World Presidents’ Organization (WPO) Miami-Ft. Lauderdale Chapter, a member of the University of Miami’s President’s Council, and the University’s School of Business Real Estate Advisory Board. She also serves on the ULI SE Florida/Caribbean Advisory Board.

Ms. Blanca has earned several honors from her peers and leading news outlets, including being named among 2010’s “Women of Influence” by Real Estate Forum, 2010’s “Top Dealmakers of the Year” by the Daily Business Review, and 2009’s “Most Influential Business Women” by the South Florida Business Journal.

Ms. Blanca holds a bachelor’s of business administration with a concentration in international marketing and finance and an MBA from the University of Miami. A resident of South Florida since 1979, she currently resides in Coral Gables with her husband, F. Javier Juncadella, and two daughters.

June 12th: Alex Zylberglait, Vice President Investments at Marcus & millichap Real Estate Investment Services

 In the past twelve years, Mr. Zylberglait has been involved in more than $1.5 billion in real estate transactions and has been recognized as the top agent in the Miami office since its inception with more than $350 million in transactions since 2006. As a seasoned senior investment specialist, Zylberglait has represented owners and investors in numerous local and national transactions, including the Region’s Bank Building in Coral Gables and the United Teachers of Dade Building in Miami Florida. As a member of Marcus & Millichap’s National Office and Industrial Properties Group, Zylberglait has ranked as a top agent nationally and ranked as the top agent nationwide in 2009. In addition to publishing several articles on real estate and investment strategies, Zylberglait has also participated in numerous panels, seminars and real estate roundtables in the region. Backed by a network of more than 1,300 investment professionals nationwide, Zylberglait and his team of commercial real estate specialists provide detailed market analysis, underwriting and investment services for an array of clients around the country and abroad.

Zylberglait has earned the designation of Certified Commercial Investment Member and earned a bachelor’s degree from theUniversityofCalifornia,Los Angelesand a master’s degree from theUniversityofIllinoiswith a concentration in finance and real estate. He is a licensed real estate broker in the State of Florida. In addition, Zylberglait was presented with the 2012 Top 50 Entrepreneur Award by Business Leader magazine for South Florida. In 2007, Alex received the Building our Community Awards in Real Estate from the March of Dimes. He was also a an Up and Comer in Real Estate as well as a Heavy Hitter in Real Estate  as published in the South Florida Business Journal. He has recently been selected as one of the “40 under 40” by the South Florida Business Journal.

Zylberglait is very active in the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, where he organized Sunset over Miami, the largest event of its kind for the organization’s real estate division and currently acts as co-chair of the Network, the young adult division of the Federation. He is also actively involved with the American Jewish Committee and also co-chairs the young professionals division. Zylberglait is also a member of SIOR (Society of Industrial and Office Realtors) as well as the Association of Hispanic Leaders, an organization sponsored by the Government of Spain. Zylberglait serves on the board of Junior Achievement and supports Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, as well as several other charitable groups in the region.

June 19th: Steve Medwin, Managing Director at Jones Lang Lasalle

Steve Medwin is Managing Director with Jones Lang LaSalle in South Florida specializing in landlord and tenant representation. His responsibilities include leading the South Florida Brokerage Division and expanding Jones Lang LaSalle’s agency leasing, tenant representation and industrial brokerage business lines. During his 22-year career, Mr. Medwin has completed more than 650 real estate transactions, covering properties located in 25 states, and valued in excess of $1 billion.


Sept 27: Tony Cho, President at Metro 1 Properties

Tony Cho is president, founder and broker of Metro 1 and is a native Floridian fromVero Beach.

Currently, Tony serves as president of the board of directors for the Non-Violence Project, is a member of the Executive Committee for the Friends of the New World Symphony and has recently become one of the Governors of the Commercial Board of Governors for the Miami Association of Realtors®.

Tony earned his CCIM (Certified Commercial Investment Member) designation in 2010 in addition to his GRI Certificate (Graduate Realtor Institute) in 2007.

Specializing in office, industrial, land and hospitality brokerage services, sustainability services and investments, Tony Cho has been involved in the acquisition, leasing, management and disposition of several hundred million dollars worth of assets over the past 10 years and continues to blaze the trail for his team of highly skilled and specialized associates.

He currently manages 30 active sales associates, regularly consults for Fortune 500 companies, credit tenants, and investors.

Metro 1 completed over $60,000,0000 in real estate transactions in 2010 and was recognized in 2011 and 2012 as one of the top 25 commercial real estate organizations in South Florida by the South Florida Business Journal.

Tony Cho owns and manages a portfolio of real estate of retail, industrial, multi-family and residential real estate.

In July 2011, Cho was awarded the prestigious honor of Young Leader of the Year by the Urban Land Institute. In June 2012, he was recognized by the South Florida Business Journal as a 40 under 40 professional thanks to his community involvement and professional success.

Most recently, Cho has been recognized for assembling over 20 contiguous acres of land and 500,000 SF of existing buildings inWynwood,FL, the arts epicenter in the urban core of Miamifor future development. Cho is currently spearheading the acquisition, leasing and future development planning for this site.

October 4: Brian Ruane,   Executive Vice President & Director Real Estate and Hotel Practice

Brian Ruane, an Executive Vice President based in New York, serves as Director of Willis HRH’s National Real Estate and Hotel Practice.  In 2006, he also managed the New York Region’s Sales Group; however, due to the significant growth of the Practice, he returned to his position as Practice Leader full-time again in 2007.

In 2003, Willis HRH established the National Real Estate and Hotel Practice and promoted Brian to the Position of National Director. Since the formation of The Practice, Willis has grown its position in this sector substantially and maintains a retention ratio in excess of 92 percent.

Previously, from 1995 to 2002, Brian was Co-Manager of Willis HRH’s New Jersey office, where he began his concentration of efforts on our growing real estate and hotel book in the Tri-State Region, and personally produced, serviced and managed many of the region’s real estate and hotel accounts.
Brian came to Willis HRH in 1985 as Regional Marketing Manager, responsible for negotiating all new business and renewal programs in the Tri-State Region. Prior to joining Willis HRH, he was an Underwriting Manager with Travelers Insurance Company.
Brian graduated from St Peter’s College with majors in Accounting and Management. He has taught at St. John University’s College of Insurance and Risk Management for many years and has written extensively on insurance and risk management issues impacting the real estate and hotel industries.  He is a frequent speaker at industry conferences, including BOMA, NAREIT and The AHLA.
In 2006, Risk and Insurance Magazine awarded Brian its Power Broker designation, an award given to 100 insurance professionals, recognizing their dedication to their clients and commitment to excellence
October 11: Scott O’donnell, Senior Vice President at CBRE

Scott O’Donnell is the senior member and co-leader of the Private Capital Group (PCG) South Florida Commercial Team which specializes in delivering complete property solutions including joint venture equity, debt restructuring and refinance, asset disposition and new debt financing for commercial real estate assets located throughout South Florida. In addition to being the primary client liaison along with partner Dominic Montazemi, Scott oversees and manages all of the team’s roles and responsibilities.
After a 10-year career as a CRE appraiser with Coopers & Lybrand and Midtlantic Bank (Special Assets Department) culminating in the achievement of the MAI designation, Scott transitioned in 1995 into CRE brokerage while with Insignia ESG (acquired by CBRE). Mr. O’Donnell rejoined CBRE in 2004 after a five-year tenure at Trammell Crow Company where he was the highest producing broker in Florida in 2002 and the highest in South Florida in 2003.
Scott has been a perennial top producer including ranking in the “Top 20” for all CBRE brokers statewide in 2006, 2007 and 2011. Scott also was recognized as the fourth largest producer in the Private Capital Group nationwide in 2011. Additionally Scott’s team was awarded the top five position on a team level for the entire PCG platform nationally. This notable production has earned Scott an exclusive position as one of only 13 members of the Advisory Board for the 300+ member PCG platform nationally.  Mr. O’Donnell has also provided expert testimony regarding commercial real estate value.