From “New College Theatre” to Farkas Hall

Posted by on Oct 31, 2011

The New College Theatre, created from 2005 to 2007 by new construction behind, and a renovation of, the façade of the Hasty Pudding Theatricals venue, finally has a name. The University announced today that Andrew Farkas ’82 had endowed the complex in honor of his father, Robin L. Farkas ’54, M.B.A. ’61. Andrew Farkas, who served as Hasty Pudding Club president during two of his undergraduate years, called his times there “amongst the most joyful and memorable” of his College experiences, according to the news release. “To know that the space will…serve to incubate the creative skills of Harvard’s emerging talent,” his statement continued, “is extremely gratifying.”

Andrew Farkas founded and was CEO and chairman of Insignia Financial Group Inc., a leading owner-operator of multifamily housing and provider of commercial real-estate leasing and management services. After its units were sold and merged, respectively, in 1998 and 2003, he founded Island Capital Group, a real-estate merchant bank, where he is CEO and chairman, and Island Global Yachting, which owns and operates yacht-oriented resorts.

In prior Harvard service, he was co-chair of the class of 1982’s twenty-fifth reunion fundraising efforts, which produced a class gift of $22.8 million in 2007. The newly announced philanthropy (the terms and size of which were not disclosed) comes as he is approaching his thirtieth reunion next May. Daughter Arielle S. Farkas is a member of the class of 2013.

Beyond his undergraduate theatrical experience, according to the news release, his wife, Sandi Goff Farkas, is a playwright; she founded the nonprofit Playwrights of New York to support emerging writers and serves on the board of Lark Play Development Group, in New York.

The New College Theatre, at 12 Holyoke Street, was constructed when the Faculty of Arts and Sciences was willing to proceed on projects before outside financing had been secured; the project cost a reported $31 million. Since the 2008 financial crisis and recession, the University has reduced debt financing for building projects. The Hasty Pudding structure, dating from 1888, had deteriorated and was in need of urgent repairs; the renovation grew into a more ambitious program to provide badly needed undergraduate rehearsal and performance space—the first such new facility since the Loeb Drama Center opened in 1961.

As an arts venue, the theater within the newly named Farkas Hall, which seats 256 to 280, has become a focal point for undergraduate theatrical productions, as well as the annual Hasty Pudding extravaganza (it is also home to the Harvard Krokodiloes and Radcliffe Pitches a cappella groups), and is frequently used for lectures, guest-artist appearances, and other College programming.

View the original article in the Harvard Magazine.

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Grubb & Ellis Company Enters Into Agreement with C-III Capital Partners LLC and Colony Capital LLC

Posted by on Oct 24, 2011

Grubb & Ellis Company (NYSE: GBE), a leading real estate services and investment firm, announced today that it has entered into exclusive negotiations with a subsidiary of C-III Capital Partners LLC, an affiliate of Island Capital Group LLC, which has partnered with an affiliate of Colony Capital LLC regarding a strategic transaction with the company.

A C-III affiliate also has agreed to invest $10 million in Grubb & Ellis through the expansion of the company’s existing $18 million credit facility with Colony Capital and purchase $4 million of Colony’s existing facility, which will establish both C-III and Colony Capital as significant stakeholders in Grubb & Ellis.

“This announcement is very positive for Grubb & Ellis employees, clients and stakeholders.  C-III Capital Partners and Colony Capital are highly regarded multifaceted organizations with deep expertise and involvement in the commercial real estate industry.  Partnering with these firms offers significant growth opportunities for Grubb & Ellis,” said Grubb & Ellis Chairman C. Michael Kojaian.

“Grubb & Ellis is a long-time leader in the real estate industry and we share management’s vision of strengthening the platform and growing the company.  C-III Capital Partners and Colony have the capital base and industry expertise necessary to bolster Grubb & Ellis’ client offerings and position the company for long-term success,” said Andrew Farkas, chairman and CEO of C-III Capital Partners.

Farkas is the founder of New York-based Island Capital Group LLC and former chairman and CEO of Insignia Financial Group, Inc.  Island Capital Group is a leading international real estate merchant banking firm specializing in real estate investing, real estate operating businesses and real estate securities.  Island Capital was founded by Farkas in 2003 immediately following Insignia’s merger with CB Richard Ellis.

Read the full release on PR Newswire.

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WSJ: Salutes to the Creative Class

Posted by on Oct 17, 2011

In the Midtown offices of the Lark Play Development Center on Tuesday, the playwright Sandi Goff Farkas was awarded the first ever Lark Risktaker Award for her creation of the Playwrights of New York (Pony) Fellowship. Pony supports emerging playwrights with a monthly stipend and the use of an apartment for a year.

Katori Hall, a Pony recipient whose play “The Mountaintop” started at the Lark in 2007 and opens on Broadway on Thursday, was on hand to give Ms. Goff Farkas her award. She neighed at the presentation of a glass pony and described the benefactor as “the most gorgeous woman with legs as tall as skyscrapers. I was like, ‘What is this woman doing helping the Lark?'”

Ms. Goff Farkas, who writes plays and screenplays “about business people and their family dynamics,” said she created Pony because she saw the pull of Hollywood over New York for young writers. “I witnessed a lot of great plays not get written,” she said. She asked her husband, Andrew Farkas, the CEO of Island Capital Group, to buy an apartment, “and he did,” and asked 12 friends for $2,500 each “to support a playwright for a month.” She thanked everyone “who ponied up here” for the evening and “my own patron,” i.e. Andrew Farkas, “who puts me in a nice apartment. I get a stipend and he gives me support in every category.”

Read the full article on The Wall Street Journal.

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JER Investors Trust Inc. Reports Recent Developments

Posted by on Oct 13, 2011

JER Investors Trust Inc. (“JERIT”) today summarized for its shareholders the following recent developments:

— The New Manager is an indirect subsidiary of C-III Capital Partners LLC (“C-III”). Joseph Lytle, Robert Phillips and Jenna Unell are employees of C-III. Lawrence Block, William Jarrard and Yvonne Owens are employees of Island Capital Group LLC, which indirectly controls C-III. More information about C-III is provided below.

— These changes to JERIT’s management were effected in connection with a transaction in which C-III purchased the commercial real estate special servicing and collateralized debt obligation (“CDO”) management businesses previously operated by J.E. Robert Company, Inc. (“JER”) and its affiliates. As a result of that transaction, affiliates of C-III have taken over the special servicing (previously performed by JER) of loans collateralizing various commercial mortgage-backed securities (“CMBS”) owned by two subsidiaries of JERIT that have issued CDOs, as well as collateral administration of those CDO entities.

Read the full press release on Market Watch.

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Fitch Affirms CMBS Primary and Special Servicer Rating of C-III Asset Management LLC

Posted by on Oct 6, 2011

Fitch Ratings affirms C-III Asset Management LLC commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) primary servicer rating at ‘CPS2-‘ and its special servicer rating at ‘CSS1-‘.

On Aug. 30, 2011, C-III Capital Partners LLC (C-III) announced that it had acquired the special servicing and CDO management businesses of JER Partners (JER), a private real estate investment management company. JER was the named special servicer for $35.5 billion of commercial real estate loans, of which approximately $4 billion is currently in special servicing and under active management.

C-III will merge JER’s special servicing operations into its wholly owned subsidiary, C-III Asset Management LLC, which is a special servicer of commercial real estate loans. With the acquisition, C-III is now the named special servicer for approximately 14,000 loans with an aggregate balance in excess of $152 billion, of which approximately $17 billion is currently in special servicing.

Fitch has affirmed the following ratings:

CIII –Special servicer rating at ‘CSS1-‘; –Primary servicer rating at ‘CPS2-‘.

Additional information is available at

Andrew Farkas is the CEO of C-III Capital Partners.

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