New Group Specializes In CRE Advisory Services

A new real estate advisory and investment group focusing on commercial and multifamily residential properties has been formed in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

The CREF Group will assist developers, investors and financial institutions with loan modifications, debt renewals, equity raises, acquisitions and dispositions, according to a company statement. The group is founded by Steve Russo, a former managing director and Florida regional real estate executive with Wachovia Bank. In that position, Russo managed all commercial and multi-unit residential lending for Wachovia in Florida, the Caribbean and Latin America.

While at Wachovia, he oversaw the production of fixed- and floating-rate commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS), construction lending, bridge loans, mezzanine loans, preferred equity and agency debt.

"There is a real need for value-added restructuring services," Russo says. "The problems are not going away anytime soon.� Sticking your head in the sand is not a strategy for any party involved."

According to the company statement, the CREF Group has already restructured a $40 million CMBS loan in Palm Beach County, Fla., and has been engaged for several other assignments, ranging from multifamily construction loans to repositioning office buildings.



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