Eastern Union promotes two women leaders

Following a company tradition to promote from within, Eastern Union has named Sarah Steinhardt as director of the small loans division, and Estie Rotstein as director of recruitment.

The commercial real estate (CRE) financing firm recently launched a new small loans division that reportedly will focus on multi-family property deals ranging from $150,000 to less than $1.5 million, and promoted Steinhardt as its director.

As Eastern Union expands its engagement in smaller size transactions and add new asset classes, the nationwide small loans division also will arrange financing for portfolios of single-family rental (SFR), and plans to handle other types of property type transactions including office, retail, healthcare, hospitality, industrial and self-storage.

Over each of the last two years, Eastern Union closed more than 300 small deals valued at a total of $250 million, according to the company website, and closes $5 billion in CRE transactions annually.
Steinhardt joined Eastern Union in September 2019 as a processor and underwriter. She has had a prolific record of success with the firm, the company said, having recently closed 75 deals valued at a total of more than $60 million over a six-month period – most of which were small-scale transactions. Steinhardt carries a dual degree in international business and economics.

“This new division will ensure that smaller deals will continue to be handled with the same energy and efficiency as larger transactions,” said Ira Zlotowitz, Eastern Union’s founder and president. “Sarah Steinhardt and Ben Schwartz will introduce new, streamlined systems that will maximize speed and proficiency.”

Ben Schwartz, also an accomplished deal-closer and a senior loan consultant, will serve as lead broker for the new unit. In addition to numerous larger transactions, he closed 60 small deals in 2019, and has already exceeded 50 such transactions this year. He also will work on larger deals.

“Smaller loans have always comprised such a large percentage of our business that it made sense for Eastern Union to scale up and devote a full division to their interests,” said Zlotowitz.

After introducing a quarter-point fee, with no back-end charges, for refinancing multifamily properties backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac during the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company reported, business is growing and driving a hiring spree. The number of active mortgage brokers on the Eastern Union professional staff more than doubled to 92, up from 45 in March.

The brokerage offers two on-boarding pathways. A three-part, 21-to-90 days long Broker Training Program, trains and educates newly hired brokers in a range of sales skills and commercial real estate disciplines. The second, designed for college students, is the Ambitious Boot Camp in 21 Days, or ABC21.

Eastern Union promoted Rotstein to the newly created, full-time position of director of recruitment, to help manage the rapid expansion of the company’s broker workforce, and oversee the hiring process. 

She will lead a nationwide recruiting initiative, targeting both new entrants to the workforce, and seasoned sales professionals. Rotstein, who lives in in Denver, Col., “will play an instrumental role in identifying and recruiting tomorrow’s successful real estate executives,” Zlotowitz said.

Rotstein joined the company as executive hiring assistant and rose to her present title after rapidly taking on a range of added responsibilities. She has more than 17 years of experience as a certified life coach and teacher.

Eastern Union is fortunate to have a rising star like Rotstein, Zlotowitz said. “Under her leadership, I expect to see strong and steady growth in the size of our sales force.”

Blackstone taps former Amazon executive 

Blackstone announced that Christine Feng, a former senior executive at Amazon focused on mergers and acquisitions, has joined the firm as senior managing director, based in San Francisco. She will focus on technology investing for Blackstone’s opportunistic investing platform, Blackstone Tactical Opportunities, and will work closely with Blackstone’s credit investing platform, GSO Capital Partners LP.

“To successfully invest in the technology sector it helps to have worked at some of the most innovative technology companies in the world,” said David Blitzer, global head of Blackstone Tactical Opportunities. “Christine’s experience working at Amazon and Microsoft makes her a fantastic addition to our team as we continue to identify new opportunities to invest and partner with innovative companies reshaping the world.”

“We see tremendous opportunity across the technology sector,” added Dwight Scott, global head of GSO. “She brings technology expertise, investing experience and deep relationships in Silicon Valley.”

Feng started her career in investment banking as part of the Global Mergers & Acquisitions team at JPMorgan. Most recently, prior to joining the $564 billion asset global investment firm, Feng led data and analytics M&A in Corporate Development at Amazon Web Services (AWS), where she sourced, evaluated, negotiated and executed acquisitions and investments to support AWS’s strategic priorities, according to her Linkedin profile. 

Prior to AWS, she was a senior member of the Corporate Development team at Microsoft, where she “focused on evaluating and executing acquisitions and divestitures” across all of Microsoft’s business units. Before MS she worked on middle market private equity buyouts at Rhone Capital.  

Feng holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BSE, cum laude, in Electrical Engineering and a Certificate in Finance from Princeton University.

“I am pleased to join Blackstone as it continues to increasingly focus on investing in fast-growing companies and technological leaders,” Feng said in a statement. 

The firm’s scale, global reach and resources are immense and I look forward to partnering with their world-class team.”

LRES hires CRE valuation strategy director

Commercial real estate (CRE) industry expert, Molly Skipper has joined LRES Corporation – a provider of real estate appraisal, valuations, CRE trustee services and asset management for lenders and real estate investors – as national director of commercial valuation strategy.

Skipper will oversee commercial product and service offerings for LRES, and focus on developing the company’s growth strategy and the expansion of the commercial division.

“Molly brings to LRES a deep understanding of commercial valuations and business development though her previous work at several large commercial appraisal firms,” said Mark Johnson, president of LRES. “We are elated to have Molly on the team and look forward to leveraging her many talents.” 

Her commitment to valuation is evident through community engagement, having served as a Board Member of the DC chapter of the Appraisal Institute, Mortgage Bankers Association, and the International Right of Way Association, Johnson added. 

Skipper has worked in the commercial appraisal industry for more than seven years, he said, and prior to focusing on commercial valuations, held roles in various industries in client relations, marketing, and business operations.

“I am delighted to join the LRES family,” and a team that has established itself as a leader in the commercial valuation sector, said Skipper. “The product lineup offers real value to our customers, and I am looking forward to helping further refine and develop that platform. I am confident in the firm’s ability to enrich existing operations, and achieve our short and long-term goals.” 

Headquartered in Orange, Calif., LRES also offers customized compliance and financial risk assessment solutions associated with property valuation, homeowners association or HOAs, and mortgage backed assets.

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