Stars to Watch 2013: Matt Mousavi

Director of the Investment Advisory Group, Faris Lee Investments

Memorable Achievements: Last year, he closed $213.4 million worth of deals, including work on “the marquee assignment of my career,” a long-term assignment to dispose of about $150 million worth of Ruby Tuesday properties through sale-leasebacks. The deal, gained through a referral by a client for which he had closed an $800,000 deal, represents the largest restaurant sale-leaseback offering in the country and the first time a publicly traded restaurant company has offered a sale-leaseback to the private market. Mousavi has sold about 35 of the properties thus far, working through a two-phase assignment. In addition to sale-leasebacks of the Ruby Tuesday portfolio, in December of last year he purchased Lahaina Gateway Center in West Maui in a $32 million off-market deal that took eight months to put together for an Irvine, Calif.-based REIT. Central Pacific Bank’s largest REO property, it represented a record-breaking sale for a leasehold despite issues with tenancy, the ground lease and at the property level. He also represented both the buyer and seller on the $30.1 million sale of Wainei Town Center. The seller had purchased the property 18 months prior for $26.5 million, there was a loan assumption in place, and it was an old property with seismic issues, deferred maintenance and tenants that were leaving.

What Others Say About Him: Mentor Larry Casey, president & COO of Donahue Schriber, finds him “very energetic and passionate about his work … straightforward, honest, a good communicator” and very thorough with analysis. Faris Lee president Rick Chichester also termed him  passionate, saying he is “uniquely dedicated” and someone who “understands what it takes to be successful in business,” with a good understanding of both the financial side and marketing. “He really understands all aspects of retail investment sales.” That ability has stood him well with the Ruby Tuesday deal, Chichester noted, as he can relate to both the real estate’s value and the financial impact on the share value of a public company.

Greatest Challenges: Besting the competition. “You’ve got some very smart people out there.” Also, overcoming objections to his youth, and disconnecting from work. He added: “I like being the underdog and I like showing my skill set.”

Secrets to Success: “Always be ethical, know what you’re going to do and how to behave.” Hard work,  perseverance, persistence, transparency and openness. “And strive to be the best at what you do.”

Best Advice Received: His father advised him to work hard, truly believe in yourself, respect yourself, have integrity and be honest and good to people, and good things will happen to you.

Advice to Others: Have a long-term approach and respect the business and the industry. Know yourselfwhat you’re good at and what you’re not good at. Find your calling and motivate yourself.

—Suzann D. Silverman

More details on the accomplishments of CPE’s 2013 Stars to Watch appeared in the May 2013 issue.