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CHICAGO-Navigant Capital Advisors has hired Mitchell Hochberg as part of an effort to increase resources within the company’s Distressed Real Estate Solutions Team. Hochberg joins NCA, the corporate finance unit of Navigant Consulting, as a senior advisor after more than three decades of work in real estate development and operating. The hire is one step within a larger initiative to enhance NCA’s distressed real estate division and its ability to provide advisory and liquidity services to underperforming real estate investments and operating companies, in light of current economic conditions.

“We’ve had these capabilities for years, but we recognized the magnitude of market challenges,” says Edward Casas, senior managing director and head of Investment Banking and Restructuring for NCA. “We wanted to enhance our expertise in dealing with financial issues and one area we felt would be critical to enhance is our operating and developing capabilities. When you’re dealing with the numbers we are, we wanted to make sure people know about the (distressed real estate solutions) services we offer and dedicate more resources to that.”

Hochberg worked for two decades as founder, president and CEO of Spectrum Communities, later selling the company and serving as president and COO of Ian Schrager Co. “My goal is to provide focused development and operational expertise to complement NCA’s fully integrated suite of advisory services and liquidity solutions,” Hochberg says. “In the current investment environment, the ability to combine the distinguished restructuring and distressed investment banking capability of Navigant Capital Advisors with Navigant Consulting’s investigative, valuation and regulatory services, provides a unique platform to address our clients most complex challenges.”

In having increased the department’s visibility and the amount of resources allocated to it, NCA hopes to help fund managers, investors and creditors, among others, face the challenges of the current economic environment. NCA’s services in strategic assessment, valuation, restructuring, operations and development, and transaction solutions can be applied to both single properties and distressed portfolios of a variety of asset classes nationwide.

Casas says there is $3.5 trillion of outstanding commercial real estate debt, one-third of which was issued between 2006 and 2007. The number is a significant increase from historic debt levels, having nearly tripled since a decade ago when the figure was around $1.3 trillion. In the past two years, Navigant has restructured more than $50 billion of real estate assets.

“There’s a tremendous amount of acquired real estate restructurings that are going to occur,” Casas tells GlobeSt.com. “You have a lot of debt that needs to be refinanced that doesn’t have the values to support that refinancing. There is tremendous demand, and we believe we are unique in offering the full continuum of services.”

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