Wheelock Street Capital
a real estate
Wheelock Street Capital
a real estate
Wheelock Street Capital L.L.C. is a private real estate investment firm founded in 2008 by Merrick R. Kleeman and Jonathan H. Paul and headquartered in Greenwich, CT and Boston, MA. Wheelock focuses on real estate investments throughout North America and will invest in both public and private market opportunities and in all parts of the capital structure. The firm is a trustworthy source of capital for borrowers seeking to recapitalize overleveraged properties and portfolios. Our capital funding gives us the flexibility to pursue investment opportunities of all sizes, from single assets to corporate or portfolio investments of over $1 billion. Wheelock has raised five funds to-date, the latest of which closed in February of 2017 with $725 million in capital commitments.
Alongside extensive capital markets and investment management expertise, Wheelock has developed deep internal operational and management capabilities in targeted asset classes to provide a competitive advantage in its chosen areas of focus. This vertical integration of investment and real estate skill sets provides Wheelock with the flexibility to work with or without local partners, to react quickly to changing fundamentals or investment opportunities and to maintain hands-on involvement at each stage of the investment process. Current focus areas or “Verticals” include Hospitality, Retail, and Residential Land & Homebuilding, although the firm looks opportunistically at all asset classes. Wheelock employs an experienced team of investment professionals with offices in Boston, New York, Greenwich, Tampa and the DC area.
Wheelock’s primary goal is the protection and growth of its limited partners’ capital. We seek to achieve this through a disciplined investment approach and thoughtful underwriting. We are a focused firm; our goal is to do fewer things, better. We won’t take on more than we can handle well, despite the promise of greater firm profitability. This allows us to give each investment the attention it requires and to remain accessible to our important relationships at every level of the organization. We invest in asset types and locations we understand through experience, and in situations where the firm’s expertise and relationships provide it a competitive advantage.
Wheelock seeks to align its interests with those of its investors and partners through careful structuring and the co-investment of meaningful amounts of employee capital. In the marketplace, Wheelock looks for likeminded partners who share our investment philosophy and our commitment to integrity. Once identified, we welcome repeat business with trusted partners and intermediaries.
Wheelock invests a significant amount of time and energy in the front end of every investment process. The goal is to significantly reduce the chances that unforeseen events arise during the formal due diligence process. We believe this makes Wheelock a better and more reliable buyer and partner.
Wheelock has recruited a strong team of investment professionals and created an organizational structure which encourages and rewards performance. The absence of rigid hierarchies and a collaborative approach to decision making promote internal debate, foster intellectual honesty and ensure the best ideas are identified, regardless of where they originate. A true partnership structure ties a significant share of compensation to the long term success of the firm and gives employees at all levels a vested interest in Wheelock’s performance.
Wheelock pursues a highly focused, fundamentally-driven investment strategy.
The firm believes that having in-house, specialized operating and management expertise is a critical element of its strategy. To this end, Wheelock has built proprietary operating platforms (“verticals”) in its chosen areas of focus. The verticals give Wheelock a competitive advantage in identifying value, driving operating performance and working seamlessly with local operating partners.
Current verticals include:
Hospitality – Overseen by Patrick Campbell, who previously ran Acquisitions and Asset Management for Highland Hospitality Corporation before it was sold for $2.0 billion in July of 2007 and had extensive hotel operating experience before that while at Crestline and Bristol Hotels and Resorts.
Residential Land and Homebuilding – Overseen by Dan Green, the former head of Land and Acquisitions for the eastern United States at KB Home, one of the country’s five largest homebuilders.
Retail – Directed by Claude Chandonnet a 26 year veteran in the commercial real estate industry who’s experience includes the acquisition, design and development, leasing, management and disposition of high end urban retail mixed use properties, lifestyle shopping centers and triple net leased retail buildings. He comes to Wheelock Street Capital after spending the last nine and half years as the President and CEO of Merchants’ National Properties, Inc. and its management arm Marx Realty & Improvement Co. Inc.
Other Asset Classes – Wheelock pursues opportunistic investments in other major real estate asset classes including office, multifamily (including student housing), and mixed-use.
While the firm will focus on its verticals, the team will continue to be opportunistic in other asset classes and may establish additional verticals as market conditions evolve. An example of this is the recent addition of our Retail vertical which was formed to capitalize on increasing opportunities in this asset class.
While Wheelock has no formulaic approach to investing, the firm seeks opportunities which exhibit characteristics common to successful real estate investments, including quality of micro location, barriers to new supply growth, high quality assets in strong markets and out of favor opportunities where the firm can build a reasoned, contrarian viewpoint. Wheelock uses a disciplined, research driven investment process to identify opportunities exhibiting these characteristics and is prepared to make concentrated investments in such situations. The firm begins with in-depth macroeconomics analysis to identify asset classes, geographies and parts of the capital structure that it believes will outperform in the current economic environment. Wheelock combines detailed fundamental real estate analysis with deep-in-house operational and financial expertise to source and execute on the best opportunities within its areas of focus.
The founders’ experience in completing large transactions while at Starwood Capital, Rockpoint Group and Westbrook Partners provides Wheelock with the capability to execute on large portfolio deals or public company opportunities. The firm is comfortable and has experience dealing with both stable and distressed situations, will consider joint ventures with like-minded industry participants, can work with or without local partners and is flexible about participating through subordinate debt, preferred or common equity. The firm is also a trusted capital source for borrowers seeking to restructure overleveraged situations.
Wheelock has recruited a strong team of investment professionals.
Click a team member below to view bio:
Rick Kleeman is a founding partner of Wheelock Street Capital (“Wheelock”), a real estate private equity firm established in 2008 to pursue a value-oriented investment strategy. Since its founding, Wheelock has raised five funds totaling over $2.1 billion which have invested in over $3.0 billion of properties on behalf of a diverse group of institutional and high net worth investors. Wheelock’s investment portfolio includes a broad range of asset classes reflecting an opportunistic approach, with a concentration on hotels, residential land and retail where the firm has developed specialized in-house platforms or “verticals”. Mr. Kleeman has over 25 years of real estate experience with all asset classes including office, hotel, retail, multi-family, residential land, resort residential and condominiums, as well as golf and other leisure assets.
Before founding Wheelock, Mr. Kleeman spent over 15 years at Starwood Capital Group (“Starwood”), where he was one of the early partners and served as Senior Managing Director and Head of Acquisitions. At Starwood, Mr. Kleeman was directly or indirectly involved in the majority of Starwood’s investments which comprised over 215 transactions within all major asset classes, across eight equity funds and totaling $6 billion in institutional capital commitments.
Mr. Kleeman led the acquisition of Westin Hotels & Resorts, National and American Golf, and Le Meridien Hotels & Resorts in collaboration with Starwood Hotels, helped lead the acquisition of ITT Sheraton, and led the formation of Troon Golf and Starwood Land Ventures. Before joining Starwood, Mr. Kleeman worked at Coastal Management and Consultants, a real estate investment company and at Merrill Lynch in its Investment Banking Division.
Mr. Kleeman is a Director of the Board of NYSE listed EverBank (“EVER”), a member of the boards of The Waterside School in Stamford, CT and The Norwalk Open Door Shelter and a member of Dartmouth’s President’s Leadership Council. Mr. Kleeman received a B.A. from Dartmouth College and an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School, where he was a Baker Scholar.
Jonathan H. Paul is a founding partner of Wheelock Street Capital, a real estate private equity firm established in 2008 to pursue a value-oriented investment strategy. Since its founding, Wheelock has raised five funds totaling over $2.1 billion which have invested in over $3.0 billion of properties on behalf of a diverse group of institutional and high net worth investors. Wheelock’s investment portfolio includes a broad range of asset classes reflecting an opportunistic approach, with a concentration on hotels, residential land and retail where the firm has developed specialized in-house platforms or “verticals”. Mr. Paul has over 25 years of real estate experience with all asset classes including hotel, office, industrial, retail, multifamily, residential land and condominiums, as well as golf and other leisure assets.
Prior to co-founding Wheelock, Mr. Paul was a Managing Member of Rockpoint Group L.L.C. (“Rockpoint”), a company he co-founded in 2003, which manages over $10 billion in equity capital. From 2004 to 2007 he had oversight responsibilities for Rockpoint’s investment activities in Europe, including the opening of new offices in London and Frankfurt. From 1994 to 2003, Mr. Paul was a Managing Member of Westbrook Partners, L.L.C. (“Westbrook”) where he played a critical role in the company’s formation, its fundraising efforts, and the investment of four funds with over $4 billion of equity capital. Prior to joining Westbrook, Mr. Paul spent six years at Morgan Stanley in the real estate and corporate finance areas, including three years with the original Morgan Stanley Real Estate Fund (“MSREF”).
During his tenure at Westbrook and Rockpoint, those firms completed 265 transactions involving a total equity commitment of approximately $7 billion. At those firms, Mr. Paul was instrumental in several notable hospitality investments including the acquisition of Red Roof Inns while at MSREF, the acquisition of Allegro Resorts Corporation, the $1 billion take-private acquisition of Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc. in 1999, and another $700 million in Sunstone follow-on investments prior to its IPO in 2004. At Westbrook, Mr. Paul played a key role in the acquisition of several large land development businesses including Mobil Land Development and American General Development. These acquisitions, combined with numerous follow-on investments, were combined to form Terrabrook, which at the time was the largest owner of master planned communities in the United States.
Mr. Paul is a Trustee at The Rivers School in Weston, Massachusetts. He is a former director of Sunstone Hotel Investors, Inc. Mr. Paul received a B.A. from Dartmouth College and an M.B.A. from the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration at Dartmouth College.
Jeffrey Laliberte joined Wheelock in 2009. As Head of Acquisitions, he is responsible for helping to oversee and implement the firm’s investment strategy across all asset classes from underwriting through execution. Mr. Laliberte has over 13 years of direct real estate experience, including both complex, corporate acquisitions and asset-level investments. In addition, Mr. Laliberte has extensive experience in capital structure executions in the real estate debt markets. Since joining Wheelock, Mr. Laliberte has led a number of the firm’s largest transactions, including the acquisition of substantially all the assets of John Wieland Homes & Neighborhoods and the disposition of four large master-planned communities to a partnership between affiliates of North American Sekisui House and Newland Communities. In addition, Mr. Laliberte oversees the firm’s debt placement process and maintains key lender relationships across the broad spectrum of financing sources.
Prior to joining Wheelock, Mr. Laliberte spent almost six years at Starwood, most recently as a Vice President in the Acquisitions group in Greenwich, CT. While at Starwood, Mr. Laliberte was very active in the firm’s hospitality area, including the $600 million acquisition of seven Westin branded hotels in the US and Canada and the $1.3 billion acquisition of Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts in partnership with Lehman Brothers and Starwood Hotels & Resorts. In addition, Mr. Laliberte led the acquisition of two B-notes totaling $120 million of principal balance secured by two premier, Class A office buildings in the Austin, TX CBD.
Prior to Starwood, Mr. Laliberte worked for a year at Wells Fargo in the Real Estate Group while completing his undergraduate education at the University of Pennsylvania. At Wells Fargo, Mr. Laliberte was focused on debt origination in the residential and retail sectors.
Mr. Laliberte received a B.S. from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Patrick Campbell joined Wheelock in 2009. He has primary responsibility for Wheelock’s hospitality investments. Mr. Campbell’s 31 years in hospitality include hotel acquisitions, development, asset management and extensive experience in hotel operations. Since joining Wheelock, Mr. Campbell has lead the firm’s hospitality investment in 44 hotels totaling over 9500 rooms, with total invested equity of approximately $435 million to date across Wheelock’s four funds.
Prior to joining Wheelock, Mr. Campbell served as Executive Vice President, Chief Investment Officer and Head of Asset Management of Highland Hospitality Corporation, a publicly-traded real estate investment trust. Mr. Campbell acquired a total of 30 assets for Highland, placing approximately $1.4 billion in capital. Additionally, Mr. Campbell supervised Highland’s asset management team and directed the firm’s repositioning and redevelopment program. Mr. Campbell helped execute the sale of Highland to JER Partners for $2.0 billion in July of 2007.
Prior to Highland, Mr. Campbell spent three years at Crestline Hotels & Resorts, an independent hotel management company, where he served as Senior Vice President of Acquisitions and was responsible for developing the company’s portfolio of managed hotels through asset acquisitions, new hotel development and acquisition of management contracts. Before joining Crestline in 2000, Mr. Campbell held the position of Vice President—Acquisitions and Development with Bristol Hotels & Resorts. During his 16 year tenure with Bristol, the company grew from 36 hotels to over 120 hotels. Mr. Campbell held various other positions with Bristol, including Vice President—Revenue Management and Vice President—Operations, along with various other operations, sales and marketing roles.
Mr. Campbell received his B.S. with Distinction, from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration.
Claude T. Chandonnet joined Wheelock Street Capital in November 2016 as its Director of Retail Investments. Mr. Chandonnet has been in the business of commercial real estate for nearly 26 years with experience in all aspects of retail, office and multi-family acquisitions, operations and development.
Prior to joining Wheelock Street Capital, Mr. Chandonnet was President and CEO of Marx Realty and Improvement Co., NYC. While at Marx, Mr. Chandonnet was responsible for a portfolio comprised of 80 assets, totaling approximately $1.5 billion in value, for which he implemented acquisition, development, repositioning and disposition strategies that resulted in substantial value creation. Before joining Marx, Mr. Chandonnet was a partner with Urban Investment Advisors and directed all of their leasing and tenant coordination efforts. UIA purchased and redeveloped over 50 high-end, urban, mixed-use projects from Wellesley, Massachusetts to Miami, Florida. Mr. Chandonnet began his real estate career at Federal Realty Investment Trust where he spent the majority of his time as a senior leasing associate.
Mr. Chandonnet received his BS from Skidmore College.
Dan Green joined Wheelock in 2008. Based out of Wheelock’s Tampa Bay Area office, Mr. Green is responsible for Wheelock’s residential land and homebuilding investments. Mr. Green has 29 years of experience with land acquisitions, financing, entitlement, development, and sales across the United States. Since joining Wheelock, he has helped build a portfolio encompassing more than 24,000 residential lots in a dozen communities coast to coast and a regional homebuilder.
Prior to joining Wheelock, Mr. Green spent five years with KB Home, one of the nation’s largest homebuilding companies, most recently as the Regional Vice President of Land Acquisition. In that role he oversaw land operations for the eastern United States. Mr. Green joined KB Home in 2003 as Senior Vice President of Land for the Orlando Division, where he was responsible for land acquisition, planning and development, and government affairs.
Before KB Home, Mr. Green spent 18 years in management roles with Richland Properties, an entrepreneurial real estate investment firm with over $1 billion dollars in assets. Richland develops master planned communities in Florida, Texas and California and was active in purchasing distressed real estate from the RTC. During his tenure at Richland, Mr. Green held positions ranging from Controller to COO. He was responsible for acquisitions, financing, repositioning and selling land assets for mixed use, commercial, and residential end uses. He also assisted in the formation and operation of Richland’s broadcast tower business, in conjunction with the 1996 FCC ruling to transition from analog to digital television. Previously, Mr. Green served as an Accounting Manager for Eckerd Drug Company. He began his career in auditing with Ernst & Young.
Mr. Green holds a B.A. from Cedarville University and an M.B.A from Syracuse University. Mr. Green is a Certified Public Accountant.
James Eberhart joined Wheelock in 2008 and is based in the firm’s Greenwich and Manhattan offices. At Wheelock, Mr. Eberhart is a principal in the acquisitions group, working across all major asset classes with primary responsibility for overseeing the firm’s investment activity in New York City and on the West Coast. Recent investment focus areas have included office, retail, multifamily and hospitality, including ground up development. Prior to joining Wheelock, Mr. Eberhart was an analyst in the Real Estate Investment Banking Group at Deutsche Bank AG, where he focused mainly on the gaming and lodging industries.
Mr. Eberhart received a B.A. from Dartmouth College, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude.
Tim Hodes joined Wheelock Street Capital in 2008 and is based in the firm’s Greenwich office. At Wheelock, Mr. Hodes is a principal in the acquisitions group, working across all major asset classes with primary responsibility for overseeing the firm’s investment activity in Chicago and the major Texas markets. Recent investment focus areas have included hospitality, retail and office. Mr. Hodes has experience with structured-debt, entity-level and asset-level investments.
Prior to joining Wheelock, Mr. Hodes was an analyst in the Real Estate Investment Banking Group at Deutsche Bank AG. At Deutsche Bank, Mr. Hodes focused primarily on the real estate and gaming industries.
Mr. Hodes received a B.B.A. from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, where he graduated with High Distinction.
Lawrence Settanni joined Wheelock Street Capital in 2009. Mr. Settanni’s primary responsibilities include financing, financial & risk management, reporting, tax, operations, fundraising and investor relations. Mr. Settanni has over 13 years of real estate experience where he has held a variety of different roles within financial reporting, risk management and capital markets.
Prior to joining Wheelock Street Capital, Mr. Settanni spent over three years with Lehman Brothers Real Estate Partners. During his tenure at Lehman Brothers, Mr. Settanni focused on global financial and risk management where he assisted in arranging and managing over $1 billion in subscription facilities, coordinated all foreign currency and interest rate derivative strategy and execution, assisted in the asset valuation process, and managed fund level liquidity. Before joining Lehman Brothers, Mr. Settanni worked as an auditor in the real estate group of PricewaterhouseCoopers where he focused on private equity real estate funds.
Mr. Settanni is a member of the Board of Directors of Special Kids of New York, a charity started by his family. Mr. Settanni received a B.S. from Villanova University, is a Certified Public Accountant and a member of the AICPA.
Gary Kamin joined Wheelock in 2013. He is responsible for providing asset management oversight across the joint venture and land portfolios. Mr. Kamin has over 25 years of real estate experience with an emphasis on joint venture management.
Prior to joining Wheelock, Mr. Kamin was an independent consultant for clients that included Turnberry Associates and AIG Global Real Estate. Before that, Mr. Kamin was a founding partner at a company which focused on residential land development opportunities in New England.
In the mid-1990s, Mr. Kamin began his real estate career with Aldrich, Eastman and Waltch. During his tenure at AEW he completed transactions in the restructuring and capital markets groups and later pursued new joint venture investments on behalf of the firm’s opportunistic platform.
After AEW, Mr. Kamin was employed by Charlesbank Capital Partners, an investment firm that was originally part of Harvard Private Capital. At Charlesbank, Mr. Kamin was the portfolio manager for the firm’s core-plus separate account and additionally served as head of asset management for the opportunistic investment portfolio.
Mr. Kamin received an M.B.A. in real estate finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. cum laude from Harvard University.
Al Hatfield joined Wheelock in 2011 and is responsible for asset management of Wheelock’s hospitality investments. Mr. Hatfield has 30 years of hospitality experience including hotel operations, sales and marketing, development, asset management, and advisory services.
Prior to joining Wheelock, Mr. Hatfield served as Vice President Asset Management for New York based Arcturus Group. Mr. Hatfield provided asset management and advisory services for 13 assets for owners and lenders with a combined value of over $600 million.
Prior to Arcturus, Mr. Hatfield was the Senior Vice President of Operations of Prism Hotels & Resorts, an independent hotel management company. Before joining Prism, Mr. Hatfield held the position of Vice President of Operations for CSM Lodging, based in Minneapolis. Mr. Hatfield spent 16 years in various operational positions at Bristol Hotels & Resorts as the company grew from 2 to over 120 hotels. Roles included developing the infrastructure for field operations and sales/marketing, with posts in Dallas, Atlanta, San Francisco and San Diego.
Additionally, during his tenure with Bristol, he oversaw the repositioning of several high profile assets with significant renovation projects.
Mr. Hatfield received a B.S. from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration.
Evelyn Makarewicz joined Wheelock Street Capital in 2011. At Wheelock, Ms. Makarewicz has been primarily focused on fund level management which includes financial reporting, asset valuation, tax, operations, risk management, liquidity management and investor relations. She is also dedicated to the oversight of financial reporting and accounting for the residential land platform.
Prior to joining Wheelock, Ms. Makarewicz was an auditor in the real estate group of PricewaterhouseCoopers. She received a B.S.B.A. from Boston University, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude. She is a Certified Public Accountant and a member of the AICPA.
Hunter Jones joined Wheelock in 2012 and is based in the firm’s Greenwich and Manhattan offices. At Wheelock, Mr. Jones is an acquisitions generalist with responsibility for the firm’s investment activity in Florida across all major asset classes and within the firm’s residential land vertical throughout the country.
Prior to joining Wheelock, Mr. Jones was a Director at Lerner Real Estate Advisors in Tampa, Florida. At Lerner, Mr. Jones was focused on retail, multi-family, master planned communities, and the workout and restructuring of distressed land developments on behalf of institutional investors.
Mr. Jones received a B.S. in Finance and Real Estate from Florida State University, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude and a Master of Science in Real Estate Development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Elizabeth DeVito joined Wheelock Street Capital in 2013. At Wheelock, Mrs. DeVito focuses on fund level management and investor relations, which includes financial reporting, asset valuation, tax, operations, risk management, liquidity management and fundraising.
Prior to joining Wheelock, Mrs. DeVito was an auditor at PricewaterhouseCoopers. She received a B.S. from Marist College, where she graduated Cum Laude and is a Certified Public Accountant.
Chris Mejia joined Wheelock in 2013 and is based in the firm’s Greenwich and Manhattan offices. At Wheelock, Mr. Mejia is an acquisitions generalist, working across all major asset classes.
Prior to joining Wheelock, Mr. Mejia was an analyst in the Real Estate Investment Banking Group at Goldman Sachs, where he focused primarily on the lodging, gaming, and leisure industries.
Mr. Mejia received a B.S. from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration with a concentration in hospitality finance and a minor in real estate.
Ryan Patton joined Wheelock in 2012 and is based in the firm’s Boston office. At Wheelock, Mr. Patton is an acquisitions generalist working across all major asset classes, with a particular focus on the Boston and Nashville markets. Prior to joining Wheelock, he worked as an auditor in the real estate and private equity groups of Deloitte & Touché in their Manhattan office.
Mr. Patton received his B.S. from Syracuse University, where he graduated Cum Laude with concentrations in Finance and Accounting, and was a four-year member of the Varsity Crew team.
Nicholas Fair joined Wheelock in 2017 and is based in the firm’s Greenwich and Manhattan offices. At Wheelock, Mr. Fair is an acquisitions generalist, working across all major asset classes.
Prior to joining Wheelock, Mr. Fair was an acquisitions analyst in the Private Real Estate Investing Team (MSREI) at Morgan Stanley, where he focused primarily on industrial, office, and retail opportunities on behalf of their core and opportunistic funds.
Mr. Fair received a B.A. from Brown University with a concentration in U.S. History.
Andrew Kelly joined Wheelock in 2017 and is based in the firm’s Boston office. At Wheelock, Mr. Kelly is an acquisitions generalist working across all major asset classes.
Prior to joining Wheelock, Mr. Kelly worked in the Wells Fargo Commercial Real Estate Group and focused on debt origination.
Mr. Kelly received his B.S. from the University of Connecticut, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude with a concentration in Real Estate and Urban Economics.
660 Steamboat Road, 3rd Floor
Greenwich, CT 06830
500 Boylston Street 16th Floor
Boston, MA 02116