NEW YORK CITY-Dealing with the “displacement” surrounding development projects has been keeping Daniel Hollander busy since he hung out a shingle on the consultancy that bears his name. “The kinds of projects I’ve been focusing on have been development deals that are in distress in one form or another,” says Hollander, principal of Daniel Hollander & Associates. “These projects are coming into the marketplace sooner than many others.”
In the current climate, Hollander tells GlobeSt.com, “a development deal typically is losing value if it isn’t being dealt with, so whether it’s on the principal side or the lender’s side, there’s a lot of help needed and it’s happening right now.” He says he’s “already working on a number of these deals, and I expect 2010 will bring many more. As foreclosures get through the process, more lenders begin to get a handle on what the value of their asset really is and become more willing to act on it.”
A 20-year commercial real estate veteran, Hollander announced the launch of DHA last week. Among other things, it’s focused on strategic advisory, fee development, fractured condominium workouts, market and financial analyses and real estate investment.
Before forming DHA, Hollander spent six years as senior managing director of the Clarett Group, where he acquired or developed residential, commercial and mixed-use properties totaling 2.5 million square feet and valued at more than $2 billion. He also helped the company expand its investment platform both geographically—branching out from the New York metro area to California and Washington, DC—and strategically, from residential to commercial office properties. Hollander also raised significant amounts of debt and equity capital for the company’s projects and joint venture relationships.
With that kind of track record, “I could’ve joined another firm” after leaving Clarett, Hollander says. “But when I looked at what was going on in the marketplace, I thought I could add much more value as a principal.”
A great deal of DHA’s client base to date has been lenders, and Hollander says they’re “divided pretty evenly” between those that want to bring their own capital to bear in dealing with the projects and “those that want to rescue capital from the outside.” Many lenders, he says, “are going through that debate internally, and that’s why 2010 will be the year that many of those decisions will get made and the projects will get recapitalized.”
Whatever side of the divide they’re on, Hollander says client’s exit strategies are all pretty similar: “to recoup as much of their proceeds as they can, as quickly as possible. On a broken development deal, some lenders will feel that executing the project on their own, with their own capital, will get them a higher level of proceeds even if it exposes them to more risk. Some of them are deciding that those risks aren’t worth it and are willing to take more of a discount in order to bring other people’s money. Both of those things are happening; this year we’ll see which is the prevailing trend.”
Hollander predicts that the menu of development deals will broaden from the busted condo deals that predominate at the moment. “As loans begin to come due, and there’s a need to recapitalize projects, there will be much more varied product type,” he says.
He also sees his own practice evolving along with the market this year and next. “I’m extremely well set up right now to deal with the development issues that are most prevalent in the marketplace, just because of my background,” Hollander says. As the year goes on into 2011,” there will be more assets coming to market that don’t require development skills but are more of a pure investment play. I certainly am planning to expand the firm and shift its focus over that time period as those assets begin to come to market. But we have to see that happen first.”