Whitman Voices


The Post-Pandemic Real Estate Market: Emerging Trends 2022

The Post-Pandemic Real Estate Market: Emerging Trends 2022

Syracuse University Talks Business Webinar: Jan. 21, 2022, from 1 – 2 p.m.

Join us for an interactive discussion with our Whitman alumni and faculty host about the many facets of real estate after the pandemic, covering real estate investment and development, public financing, financing and development of hotels, brokerage and much more.

Milena Petrova – Associate Professor of Real Estate & Finance, Whitman School

Justin Cooper ’09, ’10 M.S. – Founder and Managing Principal of Layla Capital
Asher Flaum ’02 (FALK) – Associate Real Estate Broker, President, Flaum Management Company
Jeff Grasso ’09 – Managing Partner at Vesta Realty Partners
David Nass ’91 – Managing Director at UBS Investment Bank
Gregg J. Wallace ‘91 – Owner and President, AMA Financial LLC.

Please register for this free online Zoom webinar at: http://cc.syr.edu/Post-PandemicRealEstate

Biographies of our Moderator and our Panelists:

Moderator: Milena T. Petrova, Associate Professor, Finance, Whitman School

Professor Petrova is an associate professor at the Department of Finance and serves as an academic director of the real estate programs at Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University. She also teaches International Corporate Finance in the masters in finance program at Bocconi University, Milan, Italy. Petrova further researches in the areas of commercial real estate valuation, real estate asset pricing and portfolio management, corporate financing strategy and restructuring, and corporate governance. She has written several book chapters and has published over 30 articles in leading international journals including the Journal of Banking and Finance, Financial Management, European Financial Management, Journal of International Money and Finance, Real Estate Economics, and Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics. Petrova has won multiple awards and grants for her research and teaching and presented her research at over 120 international conferences. 

Besides being an active researcher, Petrova is a well-recognized expert in real estate and corporate finance with over 20 years of experience in the field. She has consulted for investment professionals in the USA, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Petrova has advised on the development, acquisition and disposition of commercial real estate (hotel, office, industrial, residential and mixed-use), M&As – valuation, post-merger integration and exit opportunities; corporate restructuring; and business plan evaluation. She has also served as an advisor in setting up REITs and the use of tax deferred exchanges. 

Previously, Petrova worked in management consulting (Booz Allen Hamilton) and project finance (Finnvera). Petrova has a Ph.D. in finance from the University of Florida, USA; master’s degrees in finance and business administration from Hofstra University, USA, and Helsinki School of Economics, Finland; and post-graduate certificates in industrial management from Helsinki University of Technology, Finland, Fintech from Oxford University, the UK and Applied Machine Learning from Columbia University, USA.

David Nass ’91, Managing Director, Head of Real Estate Finance, UBS

David Nass is a managing director and head of real estate finance at UBS. In this role, Nass oversees the Real Estate Finance group’s CRE and Mortgage Finance Warehouse businesses and the CRE securitized and balance sheet lending platforms including loan origination, pricing, hedging, structuring and distribution. Prior to this role, Nass was head of capital markets – real estate finance for UBS. In this role, Nass was responsible for, among other things, principal and agent CMBS new issue partnerships and the execution of new issue CMBS transactions and commercial real estate debt advisory assignments.

Prior to joining UBS in 2011, Nass was a managing director at Morgan Stanley and head of CMBS Banking. Prior to joining Morgan Stanley, Nass was a managing director at DTZ Rockwood where he led the firm’s debt restructuring and loan sale advisory initiatives. Before joining DTZ Rockwood in 2009, Nass was a managing director and head of CMBS Banking at Lehman Brothers, where he oversaw the development and distribution of more than $95 billion of fixed and floating rate securitization. Prior to joining Lehman in 2001, he was a vice president at J.P. Morgan, where he securitized more than $4 billion of fixed and floating rate product.

Nass holds a bachelor’s in marketing management from Syracuse University and an MBA from the John M. Olin School of Business at Washington University in St. Louis.

Jeff Grasso ’09, Managing Partner, Vesta Realty Partners

Jeff Grasso is the managing partner of Vesta Realty Partners where he is responsible for the overall strategy, investment activity and management of the firm. 

Prior to forming Vesta in 2020, Grasso was a senior vice president, head of acquisitions and investment committee member for Silverstein Properties, an owner/developer headquartered in New York City with holdings exceeding 20 million square feet globally. In this role, he completed over $10 billion of real estate acquisitions, development and loan originations throughout the United States, Europe and China. Grasso was actively involved in all areas of the firm’s investment, capital markets and new development activities. Prior to joining Silverstein in 2010, Grasso was an analyst in the Portfolio Management Group of ING Clarion Capital – a $5 billion AUM real estate credit fund. 

Grasso holds a bachelor’s in accounting and finance from Syracuse University. He is a member of ULI’s Global Exchange Council, the Pension Real Estate Association and a Board Member of the James D. Kuhn Real Estate Center at Syracuse University.

Justin Cooper ’09, ’10 M.S., Founder and CEO, Layla Capital

Justin Cooper is the founder and CEO of Layla Capital. Cooper began his career at Silo Financial Corp., a private commercial bridge lender based in Stamford, Connecticut, where he underwrote, sourced and asset managed bridge loans. After Silo, Cooper joined a New York based distressed debt, special situations and lending fund with more than $1.7 billion in AUM, where Cooper managed a portfolio of 50+ assets across the continental U.S. Thereafter, he was asked help launch the fund’s private lending strategy, where he built a team and grew the loan origination business from the ground up. Subsequently, Cooper led the direct lending business of a Family Office located in New York and Miami. His focus at the Family Office was on originating senior-secured, first mortgage bridge loans, mezzanine loans and preferred equity investments in the $1M to $40M range.

Cooper graduated magna cum laude from Syracuse University with dual bachelor’s degree in finance and accounting. Cooper also was awarded a master’s degree in finance from Syracuse University, in which he finished first in his class. He resides with his wife and two children in Delray Beach, FL.

Dawn McWilliams
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