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Building Success: An EisnerAmper Real Estate Blog

Can You Really Have It All? Women Real Estate Finance Leaders Weigh In

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When EisnerAmper tax partner Lisa Knee moderates panel discussions, she often tells the speakers about a situation that happened between her and a colleague in the early part of her career.

“He told me that I can’t have it all,” she told panelists during the private equity session at Real Estate Weekly and EisnerAmper’s Women’s Forum, held at the New York City Bar Association on May 11. “I’ve spent my entire career trying to prove him wrong.”

So is it possible?

TPG Real Estate Finance Trust CEO Greta Guggenheim shaped the discussion by recalling a situation that has happened in different iterations to many professional women. She was watching a video from her son’s pre-school class, and it showed her son following his teacher, pulling on her skirt, and repeating, “My mommy’s picking me up today!”

“He said it about 100 times,” she said. “I do it so rarely that I felt guilty and lost some sleep over it. It’s tough.” 

Brookfield Property Partners senior vice president of asset management Sara Queen also recalled one of her children’s school projects, which insinuated that all Mommy does is “work, work, work.” (Her guilt was assuaged by another child’s project, which claimed that all his stay-at-home mother does is “yell, yell, yell.”)

“You can have it all, but not all at once,” said Kathleen McCarthy, global COO for Blackstone’s real estate group. “I feel like I get a lot done in a day and live a very full life as a result. But there’s a lot of people who don’t start practicing early enough in their careers trying to manage a full personal life and career. I don’t think you wake up one day and figure it out.”

Carnegie Corporation director of investments Alisa Mall once read an article by Facebook’s Randi Zuckerberg which talked about career, family, fitness, friends, and sleep—and how you can only pick 3 of those. “I think that’s 100% correct, but for me, it’s 3 on any given day,” Mall said. “That’s how I like to think of it, and I make sure they’re in constant rotation.”

One of her colleagues once told her to sneak out for 45 minutes each day, and that no one would notice. “I thought I’d get in trouble,” Mall recalled. “But I started practicing it, and in 15 years, no one has really noticed. Everyone’s important, but you’re not that important—try to really embrace that. When I try to compare myself, it makes me feel terrible.… You can’t win at everything.”

A strategy that Queen employs: “Outsource all the crap you don’t want to do,” she said to audience laughter. “There are all sorts of great ways to outsource in this city, so embrace those. Just because your kids know your FreshDirect or Seamless password does not make you a bad mother.”

Queen also lets her children know that the opportunities they have happen because she works. “So everyone understands that there are times when you can’t be there and there are times when you can. So you have to pick the ones that are really important and be there.”

The industry is really beginning to understand how important it is to have diverse ideas in a room, McCarthy added. “We have different experiences and exposure to things, and that’s valuable. Be memorable and be vocal—it’s important that you add something to the conversation.”

Even though the real estate and finance industries have made strides in attracting more women over the past 20 years, “we need to be genderless,” Knee said.

Guggenheim, who grew up in a family of all girls, said she’s never felt different than men, despite it being more difficult to break through into the c-suite. Throughout her career, she said she has joined trade organizations—not women’s organizations—because she wanted to interact with everyone in her industry.

“I never felt or acted different, which has served me well,” she said. “I feel like I’m a real estate professional, not a female real estate professional.”


San Francisco Event Second Annual Real Estate Private Equity Summit West Draws Over 350 Attendees

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San Francisco Event Featured Industry Newsmakers Connecting and Talking Deals

At the recent Second Annual EisnerAmper Real Estate Private Equity Summit West, more than 350 real estate investors, owners, developers, and industry leaders came together on April 27 at the Julia Morgan Ballroom in San Francisco. Attendees were provided with leading edge perspectives from power panels and featured speakers in a networking-rich environment.

EisnerAmper Director Michael Morris and Partner Kathy Williams served as co-chairs for the event, running the program committee and serving as emcees for the introduction of the keynotes. Keynote sessions with Yat-Pang Au of Veritas and Luis Belmonte of Seven Hills Properties offered unique perspectives on the marketplace.  As Founder and Chief Executive Office of Veritas Investments, one of the largest owner operators of multi-family housing in San Francisco, Pang discussed how he built Veritas, how company culture has evolved, and the inefficiencies they have overcome in order to achieve continued growth.  Luis, a legend in the industry, spoke about running a first class organization. 

The agenda kicked off with welcoming remarks from San Francisco Partner-in-Charge John Williamson. Real Estate Services Group Chair Ken Weissenberg’s panel, Making Smart Decisions: What is “Smart Money” Telling Us About the Market featured Robert Brunswick, Chief Executive Officer, Buchanan Street Partners; Mark Carlson, Managing Director, Stockbridge Capital; Matt Field, Chief Investment Officer, TMG Partners; Jake Lehmkuhl, Executive Vice President, California Bank & Trust; and Matt Lituchy, Chief Investment Officer, Jay Paul Company.

EisnerAmper Partner Todd Hankin lead a panel entitled The Full Spectrum: A Specialty Asset Round Table featuring Oliver Chang, Managing Director, Sylvan Road Capital; Alexander Fraser, Managing Director, GI Partners; David Madrid, Manager – West, AllSteel; Paul Nieto, Executive Vice President, Signature Development Group; and Tiffani Schuh, VP – Private Equity, CFH Investment Partners.

John Williamson hosted the 20/20 Vision: How are Investors Planning for an Uncertain Future panel, which included Marc Davidson, Managing Director, AEW; Melinda Ellis Evers, Managing Principal, Ellis Partners; Paul Odland, Founder and Managing Partner, Belveron Real Estate Partners; and Marc Perrin, Managing Partner, The Roxborough Group.

Bloomberg Radio also broadcast live from the Summit, interviewing the most prominent speakers including EisnerAmper Partners Jay Weinstein and Ken Weissenberg.

At the end of the event, attendees had the opportunity to do more networking at a cocktail reception. With another successful program complete, the planners are looking ahead to the East Coast edition on September 28, and beyond that to next year’s West Coast Summit.


Important Change to Bonus Depreciation Under the PATH Act

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April 12, 2016

By Michael Torhan, CPA

The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes of 2015 Act (PATH Act) includes a substantial change in the 50% additional first-year depreciation rules for property placed in service after December 31, 2015. This should be welcomed by all businesses that are currently undertaking or plan to undertake capital expenditures in 2016.

Prior Law

Previously and in general, a 50% additional first-year depreciation deduction was allowed for certain qualified property acquired after December 31, 2007 and placed in service before January 1, 2016.

Qualified property consisted of brand new property which was included in one of several categories. One of these categories included qualified leasehold improvement property (“QLIP”) which was defined as any improvement made to the interior part of nonresidential real property, provided that 1) the improvement be made under a lease with the lessee exclusively occupying that part of the building and 2) the improvement be placed in service more than 3 years after the date the building was first placed in service. Leases between related persons were not eligible and expenditures attributable to the following were not eligible: 1) building enlargements, 2) elevators and escalators, 3) structural components benefiting a common area, and 4) the structural framework of a building.

QLIP was not only eligible for 50% bonus depreciation but also for a MACRS recovery period of 15 years in comparison to the general 39-year recovery period for improvements made to nonresidential real property.

Changes for 2016 included in the PATH Act

The PATH Act includes a qualifying property category of qualified improvement property (“QIP”) instead of QLIP for purposes of the additional first-year depreciation rules. This new category is defined as any improvement made to the interior part of nonresidential real property if the improvement is placed in service after the date the building was first placed in service. The following requirements have been eliminated from the new definition: 1) the requirement that the improvement be made under a lease and 2) the requirement that the improvement be placed in service more than 3 years after the building was first placed in service. Furthermore, the exclusion of expenditures attributable to structural components benefiting a common area has been removed. 

These changes result in a new 39-year category of property that is eligible for the 50% additional first-year depreciation allowance. It should be noted that property qualifying as QLIP also satisfies the requirements for QIP. QLIP will continue to have a MACRS recovery period of 15 years. 

Tax Impact

The ultimate result is that taxpayers making qualifying improvements will be eligible for an immediate 50% first-year depreciation deduction with the remaining balance being depreciated over 39 years. This is a substantial benefit when compared to the standard 39-year depreciation schedule which would only provide a maximum deduction of approximately 2.46% in the first year (assuming property placed in service in January).

EisnerAmper is an independent member of Allinial Global.
EisnerAmper is an independent member of EisnerAmper Global.