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The Latest Real Estate News, Investing and Housing Market Tips

This week’s People of Note includes the following markets: New York City, Chicago, Dallas, Raleigh-Durham, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Long Island, South , Philadelphia, and St. Louis.


Sofiev-Leviev Tapped as CEO of AFI USA

By Justin Sumner

Real estate development company Africa Israel (AFI ) has named Chagit Sofiev-Leviev as chief executive officer for the firm.

In her new role, Sofiev-Leviev will manage the company’s current portfolio of US assets. Its holdings include the Casa Moderna Hotel and Spa at Marquis Residences, a 67-story luxury condo in downtown Miami; the 250,000-square-foot retail portion of the Times Square Building (TSB) in Manhattan; and luxury residential in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Phoenix and Las Vegas.

Since joining the firm, Sofiev-Leviev has completed a $215 million refinance at TSB, reducing the company’s interest expense while lengthening terms. She is also in negotiation for leases at the 43rd Street retail space in TSB.

Sofiev-Leviev has a broad range of experience in financing, investment, development, asset management and leasing, still serving as for LGC USA Holdings, Inc., a privately-owned holdings company. Before that she served as CFO for Memorand Group, and was a financial advisor at Deloitte & Touche in Israel.

CoStar’s People of Note is published each Friday covering the latest commercial real estate executive level promotions and new hires. Click on the headline of each article to jump to full coverage. Follow the news on Twitter @TheCoStarGroup and @JSumner2.
Send your new executive hires and promotion announcements to news@costar.com.


Dempsey Joins CA Ventures

By Felipe Serpa

John Dempsey has joined Chicago-based Ventures, LLC, as the firm’s COO. Dempsey will be charged with structuring new deals at Ventures, focusing on office, residential, and senior housing developments.

Previously, Dempsey was with as senior vice president of office leasing. During his tenure, Dempsey represented landlords of two of Chicago’s largest and most recognizable buildings, the Willis Tower and the Merchandise Mart, bringing Motorola Mobility to the latter where the company will occupy 604,000 square feet.

CA Ventures LLC began as Campus Acquisitions, focusing on student housing investments. Dempsey will help continue the expansion of the firm’s office, residential, and senior housing developments and investments.


Edwards Appointed CIO At CBRE

By Verneal Adams

Mandy Edwards, a 25-year veteran specializing in IT, has been named global Chief Information Officer () at CBRE in Dallas.

As a business leader, Edwards will work with CBRE’s senior global leadership team and IT professionals to support the company’s growth and implement technologies to enable clients’ success.

Edwards has served as CIO for several companies in the past, but most recently, she held this position at GE’s global exchange services division.


Witek Joins Dilweg as EVP

By Bryce Meyers

Durham, NC-based Dilweg Cos. filled its newly-created position of executive vice president of asset enhancement with the hiring of Jeffrey Witek.

In this role, Witek will supervise the commercial management, leasing, and asset enhancement for Dilweg’s office portfolio.

Witek has spent the last 20 years involved in commercial real estate. Most recently, he served as executive vice president of portfolio management at Allegiance Realty Corp. in Charlotte, where he directed more than 600 transactions involving 2.8 million square feet.



Stewart Named SVP at Digital Realty

By Bryce Meyers

John Stewart joined Digital Realty Trust (NYSE: DLR) as senior vice president of investor relations.

Stewart will be in charge of directing the company’s investor relations program, reporting directly to CFO and Chief Investment Officer A. William Stein. He is set to take over his new role in the second week of September.

During his 15 years in the financial services industry, Stewart has led the industrial and technology REIT sector coverage at Green Street Advisors, served as the lead REIT analyst at Credit Suisse, and was a member of top-ranked teams at Citigroup Investment Research and Merrill Lynch. He has covered the REIT sector since 2000, including Digital Realty, which he has covered since 2004.



Pakravan Joins K-W Properties

By Pritchard Madarang

Michael Pakravan has joined the Beverly Hills office of international real estate investment and services firm Kennedy-Wilson Properties, Ltd. as a vice president.

Pakravan has represented both landlords and tenants throughout Los Angeles, Riverside and Orange Counties. He has received three CoStar Power Broker awards, and completed more than 400 lease transactions m the last nine years, closing 17 in one month alone.

Prior to joining KW Properties Group, Pakravan was a top producer at Center Business Management. He is also a board member of the Association of Corporate Real Estate Executives of Southern California.



Lee & Associates Expands Coverage in Long Island

By Carolyn Murphy

Lee & Associates expanded its coverage of Queens, Nassau, and Suffolk County markets with its new office in Long Island. The office will service office, retail, as well as industrial market components.

Kelly Koukou (pictured, left) is one of the principal owners of the newly formed affiliate company Lee & Associates BQ|LI LLC as well as the executive managing director of the new office. Koukou previously worked at CBRE for 13 years as senior vice president of its Long Island office.

Bradley Diamond also recently joined Lee & Associates, and will serve as the managing director of the new office.



Cushman & Wakefield Expands in South Florida

By Justin Sumner

Cushman & Wakefield has added Tony Jones, Ryan Levy and Michael Feuerman to its tenant representation group, adding to the firm’s continued growth across all market sectors in South Florida. Jones and Levy (pictured, right) will be based in the Miami office, while Feuerman will focus on the Broward / Fort Lauderdale area.

Jones previously served as a managing director at Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, where he worked closely with Levy, an associate there. Jones will serve Cushman & Wakefield as a senior director, focusing on transaction services by formulating and implementing real estate strategies that reduce occupancy costs for institutional tenants. Levy joins the firm as a senior associate and will focus on expanding its tenant representation practice in South Florida.

Feuerman (pictured, left) joins the firm as a director and will focus on office tenants in the Broward and Boca Raton markets. He most recently held the title of principal at Lehrer & Feuerman LLC. Feuerman is also a licensed attorney and holds the CCIM designation.

Jones is a graduate of the College of Charleston. Levy graduated from Wilkes University with a bachelor’s degree in criminology and political science. Feuerman graduated cum laude in 1990 from the University of Pennsylvania and received his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School in 1993.



Levin Mgmt Hires Two to Retail Leasing Team

By Justin Sumner

Levin Management has expanded its retail leasing team in response to a rebounding regional retail market by hiring Gloria Mercado of Mullica Hill, NJ and Marcia Minton (pictured, right) of Yardley, PA.

The pair will be tasked with tenant transactions within the retail real estate services firm’s 90-property, 12.5 million-square-foot shopping center portfolio.

Mercado brings 25 years of experience in retail sales, leasing and tenant representation across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic markets. Minton has been involved in real estate for 15 years, seven of which were in the shopping center sectors of New Jersey, Pennsylvania and the south central U.S.



Transwestern Expands Tenant Advisory Service Team

By Aderonmu Zainab

Amber Strang has joined Transwestern’s tenant advisory services team in the newly created position of executive managing director.

Based in the firm’s Dallas office, Strang will be responsible for expanding Transwestern’s national tenant representation platform, supporting regional efforts in recruiting, skills development, integrated services and securing multi-market business. She will also join the company’s board of directors and executive committee.

Strang previously worked at Cushman & Wakefield as managing director of corporate occupier and investment services for that firm’s 22-state central region. Before that, she served as senior vice president of global corporate solutions at Jones Lang LaSalle.



Opus Promotes Downs in St. Louis Office

By Trevor Peglowski

Opus Development Company has promoted Joe Downs to senior director of real estate and placed him in charge of its recently opened St. Louis office.

Downs will draw on his experience with the company to pursue business opportunities across a variety of sectors, including office, industrial, multifamily, retail, higher education and government.

A LEED-accredited professional, Downs previously spent more than eight years with Opus Northwest’s design-build unit, first as a manager in Minneapolis and later as director of and general manager in St. Louis.



Multi-Housing Investment Specialist Joins HFF

By Jeremy Hoffmann

Nathan Blair has joined HFF as a director. He will focus on multi-housing investment sales for the firm.

Blair previously worked for Arroyo & Company as senior vice president of its California multi-housing group, where he closed more than $667 million in multi-housing units in the Northern California region.

Blair is a member of Urban Land Institute and graduated from Arizona State University.

Send your new executive hires and promotion announcements to news@costar.com.
Follow the news on Twitter @TheCoStarGroup and @JSumner2.
Check out last week’s edition of People of Note.

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