BentleyForbes Appoints Warwick as New CEO

BentleyForbes has tapped CRE veteran Jeffrey Warwick as its new CEO, president & managing partner to spearhead the company’s aggressive expansion plans.

Jeff WarwickHi

BentleyForbes, a Los Angeles-based real estate investment firm, has tapped CRE veteran Jeffrey Warwick as its new CEO, president & managing partner to spearhead the company’s aggressive expansion plans.

“Jeffrey Warwick provides BentleyForbes with the national experience and proven leadership necessary to maximize the firm’s reach at an optimal time, as the improving economy is providing ever-increasing investment opportunities,” Chad Lasdon, BentleyForbes’ managing director, said in a news release.

Warwick, the former managing director of U.S. investments for Portman Holdings who also spent 20 years at Bank of America as a senior executive, has handled more than $50 billion in real estate capital investments. He has also led numerous IPO and M&A capital markets transactions and generated more than $1 billion in corporate revenue.

“I’ve had the opportunity to have what I’d call a broad-based experience on both the real estate and capital side,” Warwick told Commercial Property Executive. “I’ve worked with industry icons side by side and in an advisory capacity. I’ve led a multitude of transactions across the country. I’ve gleaned leadership knowledge and experience that is going to bode well for BentleyForbes and what we’re going to do.”

Warwick said his appointment “creates the perfect opportunity for us to capitalize on the industry cycle and to firmly establish BentleyForbes as a national leader in the acquisition and management of commercial office, retail, multi-family and industrial real estate assets.”

Taking advantage of his multi-family experience, Warwick said he plans to expand BentleyForbes’ holdings in that sector.

Calling it one of the “key strengths of the company,” Warwick said he also expects to continue the firm’s focus on single-tenant and/or sale-leaseback property investments.

“It runs in the DNA of the company,” he said. “We’ll also be evaluating other parts of the property sectors to see where there are other opportunities to see where we can expand in different ways.”

Investments will “run the spectrum from what we may call larger trophy property assets to staggered small lease-back transactions,” Warwick added.

He said the company would be “more opportunistic, very disciplined and very thoughtful” in seeking out solid value-add opportunities.

While he declined to target specific areas of the country for investments, Warwick said he would consider “secondary cities and emerging cities.”

During the economic downturn, BentleyForbes sold at a loss or turned over several trophy properties around the United States that were bought at the height of the market before the credit markets began seizing up in 2007 followed by the crash a year later. Among its high-profile losses was the Bank of America Plaza in Atlanta, which it had bought for $436 million in 2006 and lost to foreclosure in February 2012.

In June, BentleyForbes sold the controlling ownership stake in the iconic 2.2 million-square-foot Prudential Plaza in Chicago to an investment group led by Mark Karasick of 601W Companies and Michael Silberberg  of Berkley Properties for $100 million. The firm had bought the two-building East Loop asset for $470 million in 2006.

“No company in our industry was immune from the economic downturn,” Warwick said. “The good news is that today BentleyForbes has a very solid baseline foundation of assets of a little over 4 million square feet. It provides a really strong launching pad for what we want do to in the next phases.”

Warwick will be running the company from his base in Atlanta. The headquarters for BentleyForbes, which has a regional office in Dallas, will remain in Los Angeles. Asked whether he expected to open a regional office in Atlanta, Warwick said, “One would expect to see some regional offices to pop us. I would expect that sooner rather than later.”

An active member of numerous real estate industry associations, Warwick is an alumnus of Georgia State University and serves as a Board Trustee of the Endowment Foundation and Real Estate Department. He is married and has a daughter who is a senior at Samford University.