Aaron Halfacre Becomes RealtyMogul's First President
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A former Campus Crest president and chief investment officer, Halfacre took a year and a half break after the publicly traded student housing REIT was acquired by Harrison Street Real Estate Capital in a $1.9B deal.
As president of RealtyMogul, Halfacre will be responsible for creating a strategy, growing assets and augmenting business growth. He will serve as a voting member of the firm’s investment committee, which has invested in more than $1.4B of real estate since 2013, the company reports.
“We will benefit immensely from his experience, and I am confident he will help the company reach new heights,” RealtyMogul CEO Jilliene Helman said.
This is the second major executive move from RealtyMogul. Earlier this month, RealtyMogul named Chris Fraley its chief investment officer.
“I am excited to be joining the RealtyMogul team and contributing to the continued success of the company,” Halfacre said. “I believe my industry experience across real estate and alternatives, debt and equity, retail and institutional, and both public and private markets is a perfect fit for RealtyMogul’s future.”
Halfacre has more than 20 years of experience in commercial real estate. He has served as an executive of Cole Real Estate Investments and chief of staff and head of product development for BlackRock’s Global Real Estate Group.
Now he moves into the newly created position of president at RealtyMogul.
"To paraphrase famed business author Jim Collins from 'Good to Great,' get the right people on the bus and then figure out where they sit," Halfacre wrote in an email.
Bisnow spoke with Halfacre about why he joined the company after more than a year off.
Bisnow: Tell us a little bit about yourself. Do you have a hobby? If so, what is it and why do you do that hobby?
Halfacre: Recently I have really enjoyed flying small private airplanes — a Piper J-3 Cub being my favorite. Not sure how much flying I will get in now that I have just moved to Los Angeles. My biggest two hobbies, not to sound cheeky, are my family and my work. My wife and I have an 18-month-old son and two teenage daughters — time for hobbies is limited.
Bisnow: Walk us through your decision to join RealtyMogul. What did you see at RealtyMogul that peaked your interest?
Halfacre: After Campus Crest, I took some time off. I started flying again, I was there for the birth of my son and I assembled a private multifamily investment portfolio. I invested alongside "Sons of Anarchy" and "Luke Cage" actor Theo Rossi in Ounce Water — an urban water brand — and for the first time since getting my MBA years ago, I took time to think long and hard about what I wanted to do next in my career.
I turned down a handful of regular real estate opportunities. I didn’t want to go to something overly predictable or a place that lacked real upside to grow. I wanted to really push myself toward the cutting edge of the investment industry, to be part of an experience that is positively disruptive to the marketplace, and join a team where all my skills and experience could help an enterprise succeed. I found all that at RealtyMogul.
RealtyMogul, as an institutional-grade real estate company offering real estate securities directly to investors — no gatekeepers required — is perfectly positioned. Not only do we source, underwrite and acquire high-quality real estate for individual investors, we are also one of the pioneers in redefining real estate investing for the broader public. It’s a very exciting time for the industry.
Bisnow: How do you make that transition from focusing on student housing investments to general CRE investments?
Halfacre: I have been blessed with the opportunity to work in all types of real estate … student housing, net lease, office, multifamily, retail … you name it. I have seen it through the retail and institutional lenses, I have structured debt and equity, buy side and sell side, and I have led companies that were both private and public. In some ways, I am uniquely suited for my role at RealtyMogul.
Bisnow: Now that you are leading RealtyMogul, what are your goals for the company and your investors?
Halfacre: As a member of the executive team, our collective goals are to lead our team, drive execution and become even greater. I will be particularly focused on real estate transaction volume and growing assets under management. We do that, day in and day out, by taking care of our investors. By underwriting each deal with the highest of standards and being good financial stewards, we are helping countless individuals achieve greater financial stability through real estate investment. It’s simple, meaningful and exciting.
Bisnow: Anything else you would like to tell our readers about yourself or RealtyMogul?
Halfacre: Author Simon Sinek, in his book "Start With Why," emphasized that each person and each company needed to know, at a deep level, what their “why” was. For me, someone who never had a Rich Dad, or a Rich Uncle for that matter (pun intended), creating wealth through high-quality real estate wasn’t an easy or direct path. With RealtyMogul and other great shops like Blackstone, everyday individuals can now invest in real estate to provide income for their families and to potentially enjoy a lifestyle unobtainable by our grandparents. I am passionate about that.