Inland's New CEO
Meet Mitchell Sabshon, who took the helm of Inland Real Estate Investment Corp last August. He’s bullish on the economic recovery, loves Chicago’s cultural scene (since relocating from Scottsdale), and possesses a competitive spirit well suited for real estate operations and endurance sports. (Just a guess, but he could probably also beat you in a staring contest.)
Immediately prior to joining IREIC, Mitchell served as COO at competitor Cole Real Estate Investments in Arizona (prior to that, 10 years at Goldman Sachs in NYC). Like many in the commercial real estate business, he's a reformed lawyer. He got his start in corporate law at Skadden Arps in NYC. Call it right place right time, but he found himself a witness and participant in the birth of the mortgage securitization business (the innovative marriage of real estate lending and the public bond markets) when the firm asked for volunteers to helm the burgeoning sector. Lehman Bros was one of Mitchell’s clients, and after six years in law he took his talents to the leading investment bank’s global capital markets and real estate practice. (Lebron’s “Decision” pales in comparison.)
In his favorite Lehman deal, Mitchell was asked to help refi the global HQ of the Canadian Broadcasting Corp, an iconic Toronto building (above) with a high-LTV, short-term loan from the Canadian government coming due. Thanks to a bold question, Mitchell created the first commercial mortgage-backed security ever sold in Canada. He asked if the CBC was backed by the government (like Fannie or Freddie), and instead of taking "no" for an answer he sought out a knowledgeable Canadian attorney who helped prove that Canada would in fact back up the company if it defaulted on its loan obligations. (Nobody ever asked.) With that, Mitchell made history and pulled off a AAA mortgage-backed securitization that ended up 4X oversubscribed. (Ask and you shall make history.)
As a manager, Mitchell says it’s most important to “provide resources, clear away obstacles, and allow good people the opportunity to perform at their best.” Being smart about how you buy real estate is key, but real value for investors is created by blocking and tackling, he says. (The unsung heroes of the NFL.) A landlord must operate real estate intelligently to increase revenues and reduce expenses, while keeping tenants happy through property management, asset management, and leasing. Mitch’s employees that report to him are his best teachers in that regard, while he has admired BlackRock’s Larry Fink (above) from afar for his vision and energy to execute on an investor-centric, globally respected plan, he tells us.
In today’s improving market (consumer confidence and spending up, unemployment down), the IREIC CEO advocates a shift from a more defensive investment strategy (protecting downside risk) to an offensive one to participate in the growth of the economy. For real estate, that means properties with shorter lease terms (ex. multi-tenant office, retail, multifamily) that offer more chances to increase rents and boost returns. He calls this a “harmonizing theme” as IREIC designs its investment products, like Inland Real Estate Income Trust (IREIT), which is focused on acquiring primarily core multi-tenant retail assets.
Mitchell has been a passionate triathlete since his early 50s, and now competes to raise money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to honor a friend that passed away. (The next race is in September.) Each year more and more people that have never done triathlons join him in raising money and training for the endurance event, and at this point he’s helped almost 100 people do their first triathlon (even teaching one grown man to ride a bike) while raising over $750k as a group for the cause.