Taking the time to grasp the industry's fundamentals will pay off handsomely, says the George Smith Partners principal
Antonio Hachem, principal at George Smith Partners, brings with him 18 years of experience that has seen him handle complex financing for all kinds of developments – including high-profile projects such as the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles.
Hachem’s storied resume began with his stint as a sales broker with Coldwell Banker Commercial. He credited this early focus on sales and leasing of income-producing properties for the fine-tuning of his keen business sense.
“Before the 2008 downturn, my focus was on brokerage and development. With little activity happening from 2008 through 2011, I wanted to help some of my developer clients with their desperate financing needs,” Hachem said. “I reached out to a client of mine who was a correspondent for life co-lenders to discuss a loan placement opportunity. That meeting turned into an interview and three months later, I decided to ‘follow the money’ and understand how it works.”
Very early on, Hachem took to heart his mentors’ advice to work as an analyst and underwriter for five years “to really grasp the business.”
“Fortunately, my past career and experience made my learning curve a very short one,” Hachem said. “Within six months, I transitioned into production and the following year, I become one of the top producers in the company. My career has exceeded my expectations as I am doing what I love and that is structuring deals. I enjoy helping my clients achieve the best possible financing for their projects. The relationships I have with my clients, lenders, and co-workers keep me energized every day.”
“Over the years, I pursued development projects, both residential and commercial, in the Los Angeles area through syndications. I worked as a correspondent for Life Insurance Company lenders for six years prior to joining George Smith Partners as a principal.”
And while the 2008-2011 downturn was indeed a challenging time, Hachem called it a blessing in disguise.
“That [period] allowed me to spend more time with my family as my wife and I had our first child in 2008,” Hachem said, adding that he rode it out by keeping in touch with his contacts and loved ones, and helping “where possible, even outside of my expertise.”
Hachem’s long career and the resulting expertise have shaped his pinpoint-accurate approach to the business.
“My specialty is delivering complex financing for my clients’ real estate capital needs through structured debt and equity solutions on stabilized and spec properties, across all asset types,” Hachem said. “I always kept up to date on supply (lenders) and demand (sponsors), so that I can match them based on priorities and not just what is perceived to be the best deal.”