I wake up at about 6:45. That's if my 4 month old, Hatcher, permits me to sleep that late. My wife does the night shift and I do the morning. I leave my home between 7 and 9. I live in Hollywood and our office is right by the Grove in the Fairfax area. It's a 20-minute drive. I get to work around 8 to 9 on average. I don't eat breakfast but early and big lunches.
When I get to work, I start my day wherever I left off the night before. I'm a business guy with a legal background. I oversee project acquisitions. Essentially, Phoenix Realty is a private equity firm with offices in San Diego, Los Angeles, and headquarters in New York. We manage private real estate equity funds, workforce housing, manage partnerships and make housing affordable for those in the middle market, meaning families that annually make $43,000-$119,000. That allows people to find a house in the $320,000 range. It's no secret that affordable homes are hard to find in this area.
I focus on the compliance side. We take money from investors and have an obligation to do what we're say we're going to do. Sometimes developers say we'll begin on a particular date and certain financing needs to start. These are all milestones to selling and renting, and the compliance side is making sure the development is done as it was said. From that side, anything that doesn't rise to the need of outside legal counsel comes to my desk. I deal with compliance letters, contracts, phone calls, discussions, lots of e-mail, and reading of documentation. There's a lot of back and forth.
One recent development is the Puerta Del Sol Condominiums in Lincoln Heights. It's the first construction in Lincoln Heights in about 40 years. The project redeveloped an old factory site to create affordable workforce housing. It includes a minimum of 66 percent of the units at prices affordable by a two-wage-earning family earning between 80 percent and 150 percent of the average median income for the area.
There are two sides to the process. On the left side you have acquisition officers who look at properties for potential investments. We develop a term sheet setting forth the terms of the deal, then we execute, go to a committee, and fine tune the process. Once risks are determined we enter a partnership agreement to execute those terms leading to closing, signing the documents and funding. Once we've signed and funded, we go to the right side by handing the plan to the asset management department. We give the plan to the internal investment committee and do due diligence.
I spend one week out of every four in New York at the home office. In order to maintain information between the places someone has to go back and forth. From the legal and closing end, I come back the most.
The life of a construction project can't be too structured. We have about 30 projects in California and different issues come up. On a daily basis, we're holding meetings and reviewing documents. There's no true structure. We usually have a meeting to say where we're at for the day and week and what the top priorities are. We address problems as they come up. As far as lunch, it's more productive to have it brought in. We have about nine employees at this office and we often all have lunch together.
I don't go to the site. I would love to, but I'm more valuable when I'm at my desk doing risk aversion and keeping the project going. No office works alone. Asset management works with me and acquisition officers work with them. It all flows back because we have the relationships. If asset managers see something wrong then we sit down and form a plan to deal with the problem.
We do more than provide capital, we provide expertise. We have to make sure we do what we say we do. With modern technology we can do that. It's about keeping the projects going so the developers get the projects done so people can have homes to move into.
I leave between 7 and 9. It's not as stressful as a law firm but I'm a pretty relaxed guy. The hours are less and it's more like having one client opposed to several. A 12-hour day is a good day.
Back at home, my wife and I take care of Hatcher. We bathe and feed him then put him to bed by 9:30. Then I get about an hour to sit and relax before going to sleep.
As told to Jade Takahashi
Vice president, project acquisitions and assistant general counsel
Phoenix Realty Group
Sports Stuff: Die-hard Mets fan; Shea Stadium is named after his grandfather
Hobbies : "I love construction and the house we live in is rather dilapidated so my free time is spent on home improvement. I like golf, too."
Professional Background: Previously associate attorney with Bingham McCutchen LLP, O'Sullivan LLP, and Shea & Gould
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