Real Estate 2013

Is The Boom Back? Market Trends & Insights

It’s been about four years since the crash in the real estate markets. During that time, many cities have suffered from decreasing occupancy, rental rates, and property values. In addition, building owners and lenders have had to undertake work-outs on over a trillion dollars worth of distressed properties.  As a result, we’ve seen an economy that has been buoyed by low interest rates but with more stringent underwriting standards, limited job growth, and public policy uncertainty.   Is all that about to change?

Join our distinguished panelists to discuss the recent state of the real estate market, the near-term outlook on the economy, and underlying trends that will affect real estate development, operations, investment, financing, and sustainability.

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Opening Remarks – Moderator:

Eric Sussman

Eric Sussman has been a lecturer in accounting and real estate at the UCLA Anderson School of Management, where he has been voted Teacher of the Year twelve times by Anderson’s MBA students, and has been awarded the Citibank Teaching Award (1998) and the Neidorf Decade Teaching Award (2008), both voted upon by a committee of faculty members.  He has also received recognition by Business Week as one of the Top Ten Most Popular Business School Professors in the Nation.

Mr. Sussman is president of Amber Capital, Inc., Manager of Fountain Management, LLC, and Managing Partner of Sequoia Real Estate Partners and the Pacific Value Opportunities Fund, which collectively have acquired, rehabilitated, developed, and managed over two million square feet of residential and commercial real estate in the past 18 years.  The firms’ portfolio presently consists of industrial, multi-family residential, and retail properties (approximately 1,800 residential units and some 700,000 square feet of commercial space).

He is on the Board of Directors and Chairman of the Audit Committee of Causeway Capital’s group of funds (International Value, Emerging Markets, Global Value, and Global Absolute Return Funds, which collectively have in excess of $2.0 billion in assets), and Pacific Charter School Development, Inc.; and was former Chairman of the Presidio Fund and former Audit Committee Chair of Atlantic Inertial Systems, Inc., a producer and manufacturer of electromagnetic sensors.

He received his MBA from Stanford, with honors, in 1993, after graduating Summa cum Laude from UCLA in 1987.  He is a licensed CPA in the State of California.


Chad R. Sanderson, Principal (Business Development & Acquisitions) – The Bascom Group

Mr. Sanderson is responsible for identifying new markets for Bascom’s multifamily investment portfolio, expanding capital partner relationships and developing the firm’s fund investment platform. Mr. Sanderson played a key role in the expansion of Bascom’s multifamily platform into Arizona, Texas and Georgia. Additionally, Mr. Sanderson has been involved with the funding, restructuring, refinancing, disposition and direct acquisition of over $1.3 billion in multifamily value-added investments, including several lender REOs, foreclosures and other distressed assets totaling 15,000 units. Mr. Sanderson has managed the acquisition of over 8,500 units with a total cost of over $550 million.

Prior to joining Bascom, Mr. Sanderson provided project management and construction consulting for the architectural engineering firm Carter & Burgess, as well as business development and marketing for various other firms. Mr. Sanderson holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and a Master of Science in Real Estate and Urban Land Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Mr. Sanderson was a member of the Applied Securities Analysis Program and has served as a moderator and panelist at several prominent real estate conferences, including RealShare Apartments 2009 and 2010. He is a frequent guest lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Southern California and University of California, Irvine.

Kurt Strasmann, Senior Managing Director – CBRE Southern California


Kurt Strasmann is the Senior Managing Director of CBRE’s Orange County Operations, which is one of 5 Hub Operations Nationally for CBRE.  With over 320 professionals operating out the Orange County Region, Mr. Strasmann has direct oversight of every business line CBRE offers to the market place including- Brokerage, Appraisal & Valuation, Debt & Equity, Financial Services, Investment Properties and Property Management.  In addition, Mr. Strasmann has four other core responsibilities:

1.     As the Southern California Functional Industrial Leader, he is responsible for revenue growth and strategy for all CBRE Industrial Professionals in the Southern California Region.

2.     He serves as the Executive Management oversight for 2 of CBRE’s 6 Industrial National Practice groups, the Port Logistics Specialty Practice Group, which includes over 20 professionals Internationally specializing in Port and Logistic Related clients, and the newly formed E-Commerce Specialty Practice group, which includes 15 professionals Nationally specializing in the emerging E-Commerce Industry.

3.      Mr. Strasmann is one of 15 members nationally to serve on CBRE’s National Industrial Council which formulates National Strategies for over 750 Industrial professionals within CBRE’s Industrial Group in the Americas.

4.      Lastly, he also serves on CBRE’s Western Region Executive Management Committee which oversees the Western Region.

Tingting Zhang, Founder and President – TerraCotta Group and a co-founder of TerraCotta Asset Management

Tingting Zhang is the Founder and President of the TerraCotta Group LLC., She is responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the company and sits on TerraCotta’s investment committee.

The TerraCotta Group is a private investment company that has been successfully investing in commercial real estate loans since 2003.  The company invests in commercial real estate loans through both origination and acquisition. Their portfolio of loans is secured by all major commercial property types: industrial, office, retail and multi-family. TerraCotta manages a discretionary fund and a few separate accounts with institutional investors and high net-worth individuals.

Prior to founding TerraCotta, Dr. Zhang was a Senior Consultant with the Eurasia Group, a leading economic and political consulting firm. During her tenure at Eurasia Group, she conducted political and economic risk analyses for senior executives of global Fortune 500 companies such as Citigroup, AIG, Deutsche Bank, and Price Waterhouse Coopers. She also provided consulting services for the National Intelligence Council of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and was a primary contributor to the development of the Deutsche Bank-Eurasia Group Stability Index (DESIX), the first and only political risk index on Wall Street.  She has written and published extensively on the subjects of public finance, central-local relations and environmental issues in developing economies. Dr. Zhang co-founded the Special Assets Management Association, the only trade association for bankers in special assets. She currently sits on SAMA’s Board as a Co-Chair.

Dr. Zhang holds two Master’s degrees, in Statistics and International Relations as well as a Ph.D. in International Political Economy from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Jan Brzeski, Principal – Arixa Capital Advisors

Jan Brzeski is the principal of Arixa Capital Advisors, LLC, a private real estate investment avidsor in Los Angeles that he founded in 2006.  He is the fund manager of Arixa Fund I, which lends to investors who purchase, renovate and resell single family homes.  He also manages Arixa Fund II, which purchases, renovates and operates single family homes as rental properties.  Mr. Brzeski has participated in more than 150 real estate transactions, valued in excess of $100 million, including virtually every aspect of sourcing, structuring, financing and acquiring investment properties. Mr. Brzeski’s insights into real estate trends and opportunities have been featured in the Los Angeles Times, the California Real Estate Journal and the Daily Journal.

Prior to forming Arixa Capital, Mr. Brzeski was Vice President of Acquisitions at Standard Management Company, a highly regarded real estate investment and management company founded by Samuel K. Freshman. While at Standard Management, Mr. Brzeski’s responsibilities included identifying properties to acquire, underwriting, and negotiating to purchase income property and land. Mr. Brzeski has purchased properties including shopping centers, industrial projects, agricultural and development land in Los Angeles, Kern, Riverside, San Bernardino, Placer and Yolo Counties in California.

Before joining Standard Management, Mr. Brzeski was a successful entrepreneur. He co-founded and served as CEO of STV Communications, Inc., a media services businesses that he sold in 2000.

Previously, Mr. Brzeski’s worked at Goldman, Sachs & Co. as an investment banking analyst where he contributed to initial public offerings, secondary stock and bond offerings, as well as mergers and acquisitions of leading technology companies.

Mr. Brzeski is the author of The Common Sense Guide to Real Estate Investing.  He holds a B.A. in Physics from Dartmouth College and an M.A. in Economics (PPE) from Oxford University.

Steve Orchard, Senior Vice President of Structured Finance – Transwestern.

Steve Orchard is the Senior Vice President of Structured Finance at Transwestern.  Mr. Orchard is responsible for  the delivery of real-estate investment banking and mortgage banking services, arranging debt financing and equity investments for Transwestern’s institutional and corporate clients nationwide.

Prior to joining Transwestern, Mr. Orchard served as senior vice president at George Smith Partners, where he facilitated the placement of approximately $2.2 billion in debt and equity financing during his ten years with the firm. Steven works with a variety of capital sources including life companies, pension fund advisors, agency lenders, CMBS platforms, banks, credit companies, REITs, mortgage funds, and private equity. He is proficient with the structural requirements and risk mitigation strategies associated with transitional business plans including ground-up development, renovation and leasing. His practice emphasizes multifamily, office, retail, and industrial product types, but he also works extensively in healthcare, seniors housing, and hospitality assets.

Mr. Orchard’s background in commercial real estate was preceded by a four-year assignment with Peak Capital, a private equity merchant bank, where he was instrumental in the start-up and sale of a software company.  He is an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California, teaching real estate finance for the Marshall School of Business.

Mr. Orchard was honored in 2011 by Commercial Property Executive Magazine as one of the nation’s top 10 “Stars to Watch” among fellow commercial real estate professionals under 40.  He holds a MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management and two bachelor of arts degrees from the University of Southern California.


When: Thursday, May 2, 2013 (6:00PM to 9:00PM)


Luxe Hotel

11461 W. Sunset Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA 90049 

Tickets @


* $25, Student Rate (with valid student ID at check-in; limited quantity available: first-come, first-serve)

* $45, Professional Early Registration Rate (before May 2)

* $60, Professional ‘Walk-Up’ Registration Rate (day of May 2nd – occupancy limit, cash only)

***Are you a member of a Real Estate organization or Alumni Group in Southern California? If so, ask them to provide you with a customized Discount Code. 

* Networking reception includes appetizers

* Business casual dress is encouraged

* Valet and Street parking is available

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