MIAMI-Real-estate investment and merchant banking firm AztecGroup has hired Wachovia veteran Kevin Miliffe. Miliffe joins Aztecas a director to help diversify the firm’s interests.

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Miliffe brings experience in real estate capital markets,structured finance, and investment transactions. Specifically, hehas been responsible for the origination, analysis, and closing ofreal estate financing and equity transactions exceeding $2.5billion throughout the US.

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Miliffe comes to Aztec from Ft. Lauderdale-based IronshoreCapital, a residential real estate firm funded by a valueinvestment hedge fund. There he served as an investment analyst.Miliffe previously served as an associate at Wachovia Real EstateCapital Markets. He holds an M.B.A in Finance and Real Estate and aM.S. in Management from the Warrington College of Business at theUniversity of Florida.

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“During his time at Wachovia, Kevin touched every imaginablereal estate asset from a capital markets perspective,” JasonShapiro, managing director at Aztec, tells GlobeSt.com. “Then atIronshore, he got a chance to look at things from the other side ofthe table, which fit nicely with the investments we make.”

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Miliffe is responsible for originating, underwriting, financing,and investment opportunities. He will work directly with Shapiroand Ezra Katz, chairman of Aztec Group. The firm sees Miliffe’scombined experience in structured finance, CMBS transactions, andprivate equity real estate investments as critical to developingand implementing successful investment and financing structures ofcommercial and residential real estate transactions.

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Miliffe also expects to help the firm venture into distressedassets. The core mission of Ironshore Capital is to buy distressednotes and properties. “I’ve had extensive experience underwritingportfolios with distressed residential debt and that’s somethingthat we are looking at for Aztec,” Miliffe tells GlobeSt.com. “Itmight be the right time to start heavily investing in distressedassets and finding capital for those deals.”

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Shapiro agrees. Like other shops in town, Aztec has been lookingfor distressed opportunities for the past two years but has donelittle investing or funding. “It’s a difficult environment in whichto make a deal,” Shapiro says. “Getting the people on the otherside of the table to capitulate so the deal makes sense is oftenthe challenge. Kevin brings a different perspective to the tablethat can help us drive these deals forward.”

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