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Rockefeller Group Investment Management CEO Dennis Irvin
Bisnow DC editor Amanda Metcalf recently visited HQ of Rockefeller Group Investment Management in (where else?) Rockefeller Center and spent two hours with CEO Dennis Irvin in his office, where we snapped him giving us the lay of the land. An econ major, Dennis took a job as a banker renovating low-income housing in an effort to reinvigorate Chicago’s South Side. He moved to LaSalle Partners in the early ’80s and then on to JPMorgan in the ’90s. He says he saw the real estate investment management industry expanding without paying attention to fundamentals—the habit of underwriting based on the previous transaction was a disregard of risk, and the CMBS crash became a question of when, not if. Debt securitization, he says, became a tool for risk dispersion, not risk management. He also knew investors would seek operating companies, not just allocators of capital, and that’s why he took the chance to lead global investment management for Rockefeller.
Rockefeller Group Investment Management acquisition head Paul McDermott's office
Proof that Rockefeller acquisition head Paul McDermott is hard at work at his base, the firm’s new office in DC: the incredibly tidy office that was unoccupied during our visit. Dennis says that few high-quality assets have come to market in NY, making it a paper market in which people are buying debt to get access to properties. In ‘12 and ‘13, NYC will post double-digit rent increases, with average Class-A rates sitting between $80 and $90/SF and top-tier Midtown properties over $100/SF. (The hottest commodity in Midtown office, by the way, is a trading floor.) Of the nation’s 54 office markets, the 10 most liquid significantly outperform in the 25-year-value analysis, he tells us, with high physical, regulatory, and environmental barriers to entry. The firm’s four target markets also provide a diverse tenant base: defense contractors in DC, tech inSan Fran/Silicon Valley, R&D/healthcare in Boston, and entertainment in West LA. (Its existing portfolio in NY takes care of financial services.)
Chocolate custard brownie at Oceana
A visit to Rockefeller Center isn’t complete without lunch. This one atOceana included the signature chocolate custard brownie, complete with a gold leaf.