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Aries Capital, Conlon Capital Merge And Take On The Big Dogs

Two of the most colorful players in Chicago real estate have joined forces in a bid to be one of the five largest commercial property financing houses in the U.S.

Aries Capital's Neil Freeman (top left) and Conlon & Co's Sean Conlon (top right) are merging their firms' capital markets divisions to form Conlon Capital. The move allows the company to offer a wider range of services, compete with larger firms, and capitalize on a strong local market and choice opportunities nationwide. Aries generated $500M in deals the past two years, while Conlon's loan originations topped $250M in 2016.

Aries has focused exclusively on financing in the hotel and healthcare sectors, while Conlon brings multifamily experience and handles asset sales.

Joining Conlon and Freeman in the venture are Aries Capital EVP Rushi Shah (bottom left) and Conlon & Co capital markets president Tom Reckley. Shah will serve as CEO while Reckley will assume COO duties. The other partner in the venture is Conlon & Co CEO Benjamin Burford. Freeman said he recognized Aries needed to grow in a strong market but needed some fresh blood, according to Crain's.

Conlon, who is one of the hosts of CNBC's upcoming show "The Deed," said the merger was a no-brainer, one where the sum is greater than the parts. It also allows Freeman and Conlon to step back from day-to-day operations with trusted lieutenants in Shah, Burford and Reckley. [Crain's]