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NEW YORK CITY-Venable LLP has hired Ralph Miles to head its New York real estate group. The hire marks the third real estate hire for the Washington, DC-based firm in the last six months.

“Since establishing a New York office in 2005, we’ve been intent on making real estate an active part of our practice and with Ralph Miles we’ve certainly found the perfect person to lead that effort,” says Kevin Shepherd, co-chair of Venable’s national real estate group.

Miles has been involved in a number of big transactions in the Manhattan area, including the sale and foreclosure of the Ferdinand Marcos Properties, which included Herald Center, the Crown Building, 40 Wall St. and 200 Madison Ave. He also handled the restructuring of bankruptcies at Industry City in Brooklyn, NY; and the Landmark Resort Hotel in Myrtle Beach, SC.

“Ralph brings stellar credentials in real estate finance, an enviable deal list and a broad set of connections across the entire market–with major lenders, investment banks, developers, investors and other active participants,” Shepherd says. “He’s also worked through all sides of the market, including some of the rougher patches in the early 1990s that required deft skills at restructuring real estate assets. Some observers believe those skills may again be in considerable demand in the not-so-distant future.”

Rob Zinkhan, co-chair of the business division of Venable, tells GlobeSt.com, that while it is impossible to predict the future of the real estate market the cyclical nature of the industry means a downturn is somewhere in the future. To have a lawyer like Miles who has been through downturns like in the 90s, he says will benefit the company.

Miles has almost 30 years of experience in real estate finance, development and leasing. He was most recently employed at McCarter & English LLP, where he was a partner in the real estate and public finance groups. At one time he was the COO and general counsel for the RCC Group, which is part of Aegon USA, a subsidiary of Aegon Insurance Group. While there he oversaw the $400-million real estate portfolio and $350 million of commercial mortgages.

He began his career at the age of 16 when he was appointed by the Queens Borough president to the Community Planning Board Number 1. He ultimately became vice chairman of the board. He also served as special counsel to New York City council speaker Peter Vallone in the 80s and as a city council representative on the New York City Finance Control Board.

“Besides working on countless big-ticket transactions over the last several decades, Ralph has played a significant role in developing many of the important laws now governing real estate deals in New York City,” Shepherd says. “He will be a certain asset to our national real estate clients even as we begin to build a greater presence in the important New York market.”

Venable has more than 30 lawyers in its real estate group and Zinkhan tells GlobeSt.com the firm is “actively looking” to add more to New York’s real estate group. In the last six months Venable has also hired Deborah Rochkind, formerly head of real estate for AOL, in the Tyson’s Corner office and Joseph Ryan, formerly EVP and general counsel for Marriott International, in the Washington, DC office. Both Rochkind and Ryan will also focus on real estate related services.

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