Urban Partners Adds Executive, Anticipates Growth
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LOS ANGELES-With the recent addition of David Walker as vice president of capital markets, locally-based Urban Partners LLC and Harbor Urban LLC is continuing its expansion. And according to Urban’s founding principal Paul Keller, anticipated growth is expected for 2013. Keller notes that the firm is even looking into the prospect of further investment in additional asset classes.”
Keller tells GlobeSt.com that they are looking into commercial and light Industrial urban infill as product types. “As economic cycles mature and evolve in the Five Gateway City Markets, we will expand investment activities on a selected basis.”
For now, Urban Partners, a privately held real estate investment and development firm, is best known for developing transit-oriented, mixed-use projects in Los Angeles and nearby cities connected to the region’s light-rail transit system. Urban Partners and Harbor Urban currently have in excess of 3,000 multifamily units within the West Coast Gateway Markets—units that are in various stages from planning and entitlement, asset management and disposition, Keller says.
Walker, a real estate veteran with more than 20 years of industry experience, will be responsible for the procurement of debt and equity capital for all Urban Partners and Harbor Urban investment initiatives. Keller tells GlobeSt.com that his background in finance, capital markets and banking will provide the company with “a tremendous advantage in securing funding for projects and growing our portfolio.”
He comes to us with both an understanding of the property ownership side of the commercial real estate business and a deep knowledge of financial markets,” Keller adds.
Walker comes to Urban Partners/Harbor Urban after serving as the principal at Los Angeles-based Pacific Star Capital, a shopping center real estate owner/operator with $250 million in assets. Previously, Walker was a managing director in the Los Angeles office of RBS and headed the bank’s Western US Loan Originations division. He has been president of JRK Birchmont Advisors, a $203-million equity fund headquartered in Los Angeles with $1 billion in real estate assets, a managing director with Bear Stears and a director for Nomura Capital investment Co. Ltd.
Keller tells GlobeSt.com that the Urban Partners’ low leverage asset capitalization strategy has allowed the company to thrive.
Managing principal Matt Burton tells GlobeSt.com that “the debt and equity markets have continued to evolve, and with Urban Partners expanding platform, the need was apparent to have a dedicated team member to facilitate transactions with thoughtful and deliberate intent.”
On the subject of capital markets in Los Angeles, Walker tells GlobeSt.com that “The debt market continues to utilize conservative underwriting standards that have become the new-norm in the post-recession finance world. Financial institutions are lending with more deliberate speed and placing more emphasis on the quality, and overall capitalization of the operator/borrower/developer. Equity capital, while abundant, is finding the market challenging where yields in many asset classes are disappointingly low. Equity continues to take a disciplined approach to investing.”
As for the multifamily sector in L.A., Walker says it “continues to show positive signs of growth in a real estate market that is experiencing very uneven economic recovery.” He adds that “While job growth in Los Angeles is anemic as a whole, and will continue to be a drag on the velocity of this recovery, certain high-tech market sectors—like Silicon Beach and markets on the Westside of Los Angeles—are expanding and giving promise to better high paying careers.”
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