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Swerdlow Group

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Address: 2901 Florida Street Suite 806
Coconut Grove, FL 33133

Telephone: (305) 476-0100

LEADERSHIP TEAM

MICHAEL SWERDLOW

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MANAGING PARTNER

Michael Swerdlow started investing in real estate in the 1970s through acquisitions of multifamily and office buildings in Manhattan. During that time, Michael was an early creator of net leases, which he then sold to pension funds. As a result of his expertise with leases, Michael was retained to liquidate various leaseholds in bankrupt retail entities; these include Wickes, E.J. Korvette, Food Fair, and others. These actions revolutionized the valuation of leaseholds as assets to the retail industry. 

In 1989, Michael Swerdlow acquired Hollywood Inc. with institutional investors. Swerdlow successfully developed, redeveloped, or sold off all of Hollywood Inc over a period of nine years.  

In 1999, the Company consolidated its holdings into a new entity called the Swerdlow Real Estate Group, a private REIT whose shareholders included Swerdlow, Fidelity Investments, Colony Capital, Landmark Funds, Stanford Management and Merrill Lynch. The REIT had an initial capitalization of approximately $500 million (approximately $175 million in initial equity), and had grown to approximately $1 billion in total assets. The REIT developed, owned, and operated over five million square feet of properties. 

Following the liquidation of the REIT, Michael continued to develop large-scale projects including Biscayne Landing (land development), Civica Center (retail), and Marina Grande on the Halifax (multi-family). Other projects over the past 20 years include the Dolphin Mall, Dolphin Commerce Center (f/k/a Beacon Tradeport), Great Mall of the Bay Area, and Las Olas Riverfront. Following the successful completion of these projects, Michael Swerdlow sold his interest.  

In 2003, Michael Swerdlow successfully negotiated a multi-billion-dollar ground lease with the City of North Miami that facilitated the development of Biscayne Landing, a 190-acre master-planned community that was planned to include 6,000 luxury condominium units. In addition, he acquired and obtained entitlements to construct over 2,000 condominium units in six different waterfront locations along the South Florida corridor. Michael Swerdlow partnered with Boca Developers. Pursuant to their partnership agreement, Boca Developers acquired Michael's intererest in Biscayne Landing. As a result of Boca Developers' default, Michael Swerdlow was able to reacquire two projects in 2010. After zoning and planning the development, Swerdlow sold its partnership interests to LeFrak in 2016, who continues the development today. 

STEPHEN J. GARCHIK

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MANAGING PARTNER

Stephen Garchik has been a real estate developer and owner for 37 years. In that time, he and his partners at The Evans Company of McLean, Virginia, and subsequently at SJM Partners Inc. of Delray Beach, Florida, have developed approximately 4,000,000 square feet of office space, 2,000,000 square feet of residential properties, 5,000,000 square feet of self-storage projects, 1,200,000 square feet of retail space and 500,000 square feet of an industrial product.  

Many of these projects were headquarters for tenants such as the Army Corps of Engineers in Baltimore (330,000 rentable square feet), National Science Foundation (550,000 rentable square feet), Booz Allen Hamilton (750,000 rentable square feet), ICF (200,000 rentable square feet) and the United States Postal Service (400,000 rentable square feet).  

In addition, Stephen has been involved in the development of regional campuses for Mobil Oil (250,000 square feet), SAIC (600,000 square feet), and Sprint (120,000 square feet). Retail projects include developing stores for K-mart, Costco, Builders Square, drugstores, and four grocery-anchored and shopping-anchored centers. Further, Stephen is a principal in the GW Bridge redevelopment project in Manhattan that includes approximately 120,000 square feet of new retail development.  

 

Stephen Garchik’s residential experience includes 4.5 million square feet of master-planned, developed or constructed mixed-use and standalone residential projects. The development value of these projects is in excess of $1.2 billion and includes projects in Florida, Washington DC, New York, and Baltimore. Residential developments include high-rise luxury rental projects in Washington, DC, and Baltimore and student housing for 2,500 students at the University of Maryland. 

Self-storage projects developed include 22 properties in the northern New Jersey and New York City metropolitan area, 12 properties in South Florida, and 18 properties in the Washington, DC market. Key partners on these various projects include Northwestern Mutual Life Company, Walton Street Capital, JMB Corporation, Lehman Brothers, the Marriott family, the Goelet family (of New York City), and Clark Construction Company. 

ALBEN DUFFIE

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MANAGING PARTNER

Alben Duffie is involved in all aspects of the development process. Mr. Duffie’s broad experience, professional accomplishments and business relationships make him qualified to lead the project development team. Al has held several leadership positions in both the public and private sectors. His career has included serving as Vice President of Consumer Lending for Capital Bank and as a Manager with Miami-Dade County, supporting the General Service Administration.

 

Al is credited with creating a credit enhancement program to secure working capital and establish bonding capacity for over two hundred minority contractors and subcontractors, enabling them to participate in County’s Mass transit projects. In the Office of Minority Business Development in Miami-Dade County, Al was part of the team that won in the United States Supreme Court, leading to the creation of an ordinance drafter by the staff and approved by the County Commissioners. The ordinance gave minority firms a preference for inclusion on the contracts that were advertised for bid by Miami-Dade County.

 

Since his retirement from the County, Al has participated in many public/private projects. Some of his representative projects include: Martin Luther King Jr. Station in Miami-Dade County, a 200,000 square foot office facility designed to headquarter three of Miami-Dade County’s major departments, Biscayne Landing, a $1+ billion 200-acre mixed use retail, entertainment and residential complex, Cityview, a $33 million mixed use space encompassing a 1,257-car parking structure, 308 units of moderately priced market-rate housing and 15,800 square feet of retail space.

 

In order to successfully address the needs of today’s communities, Al integrates the resources and agendas of public and private stakeholders, as well as the capital of outside investors. Al is instrumental in helping RRG’s clients define their revitalization goals, balancing them with economic feasibility, communicating a shared vision to key stakeholders and leading the execution with professionalism and compassion. 

STEPHEN MCBRIDE

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DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT

Stephen has been involved in all aspects of development with expertise ranging from acquisition to construction on over 8 million square feet of retail, office, mixed-use, multi-family residential and infrastructure. Currently, he is a principal in the development of the George Washington Bridge Bus Station, New York, including upgrading the existing bus station and providing 120,000 square feet of new retail. A few of his past projects and partnerships include University View Complex, College Park, MD, a 1.4-million-square-foot mixed-use project for more than 2,500 students where the scope of project work included acquisition, entitlement, land consolidation, master planning, design and construction; Maxwell House Project in Hoboken, NJ, which comprises 200,000 commercial square feet and 1.2 million residential square feet, was an old industrial site transformed through entitlements, partnering with multiple state and federal agencies, historic approvals, waterfront park development, and environmental approvals; Inner Harbor, Baltimore, MD, a master planned urban project of four city blocks of mixed-use high-rise residential, office, and retail that is the foundation of the now-thriving Inner Harbor, Baltimore; and Crossroads Shopping Center, Bailey’s Crossroads, Virginia, managing the development of a 300,000-square-foot nationally anchored shopping center that sold for the highest square foot price for retail space in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. 

MICHAEL LIU

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Chief Strategy Officer

Michael Liu has over 40 years of experience in housing policy and finance beginning from his service as a Delegate to the 1978 Hawaii State Constitution Convention. His career has also included service with the federal government as U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Under Secretary for Small Community and Rural Development and U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing. In the private sector, he practiced real estate law for 13 years, and held executive officer positions with the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago, Bank of America (FSB), and Dutko Grayling. Prior to joining Swerdlow Group, Michael served as senior advisor on housing to the City of Miami’s City Manager, which followed a 9-year term as Miami-Dade County’s Public Housing and Community Development (PHCD) Director, the largest housing agency in the State of Florida.

Among many accomplishments, Michael can point to creation of HUD’s Capital Fund Financing Program (like the Rental Assistance Demonstration Program (RAD)) a financing tool that involves leveraging private sector funds with public housing subsidy) that raised over $2 billion in its first 18 months of private sector funds for investment in public housing; expansion of the Native American home mortgage program 184 to assist with homeownership on non-tribal lands; establishment of RAD as the formal basis  for the redevelopment approach for all of public housing in Miami-Dade County; improving PHCD’s 7 year public housing sub-standard designation to standard after 1 year; and establishing the redevelopment of public housing sites “Liberty Square/Lincoln Gardens” and the Senior Campus (now known as River Parc), developments that will involve in over $1 billion in equity, debt, and grants, and upon completion result in over 15,000 new and/or total rehabilitated units.    

 

Michael is a graduate of Stanford University (BA) and the University of Hawaii’s Richardson School Law. He is a member of the Hawaii and Washington, DC bar associations.    

MARIA FUNDORA

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CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER

Maria Fundora joined the Swerdlow Group in 1998 and holds the position of Chief Financial Officer. She is primarily responsible for all financial accounting of the company. Her responsibilities include reporting to owners, joint venture partners, financial institutions, and management. Maria has extensive experience working in real estate development accounting. As the CFO of the Swerdlow Group, Maria has overseen the Shops at Civica: a $40 million 42,000 square foot retail complex, Marina Grande on the Halifax/Blue Tides Apartments: a $175 million 486-unit two-tower condominium building and an adjacent 108-unit apartment complex, Biscayne Landing: a $1+ billion 200-acre mixed-use retail, entertainment, and residential complex, Great Mall of the Bay Area: a $280 million 1.246 million square foot mega-mall, entertainment and food complex, Las Olas Riverfront: a $55 million 256,000 square foot festival entertainment center. Prior to working at the Swerdlow Group, Maria Fundora worked for 11 years as a property accountant, project accountant, and accounting manager. 

ELLIOT PRESS

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DIRECTOR OF CONSTRUCTION

As Director of Construction, Elliot oversees developments on-site to bring projects to fruition.  He brings over 25 years of management and leadership experience in the military and the construction industry. Elliot has managed, led, and supervised a wide range of pursuits and construction projects that include but are not limited to the federal, state, municipal, mixed-use, airport/seaport, and civil infrastructure market sectors in and around Miami-Dade and Broward Counties.  These efforts, exceeding $2B in total value, require the connection between strategic vision and operational execution that Elliot excels in and continues to bring to the team ensuring the group’s success. 

Elliot enlisted in the US Army in 1997 and subsequently attended the United States Military Academy at West Point where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in economics and a Field of Study in systems engineering. Upon graduation and commissioning as a US Army Intelligence Officer, Elliot was stationed in Ft. Stewart, GA with the 3rd Infantry Division and was assigned to the 1st Brigade Combat Team. With the Brigade, Elliot served over 24 months in combat to include a 15-month tour as part of “The Surge” in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom VII in 2007-2008. As a decorated war veteran, he not only worked as a tactical intelligence officer leading combat missions, but he also assisted special operations units and covert American agency operations throughout the Middle East. His exemplary efforts were published by several best-selling authors and public institutions, as well as included in many classified US Presidential Daily Briefs. 

After multiple years of working directly with several governmental agencies such as the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the US State Department assisting in coordinating construction projects in Iraq, Elliot pursued a professional career in construction after leaving the active-duty military in 2009.  Since then, he has served in nearly every position within the general construction industry to include field operations, safety, and quality control, estimating, business development, project management, corporate executive, and chief of operations.  Elliot believes in leadership through service and most notably his past and present positions include Vice President for the South Florida Chapter of the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME), USACE and Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Task Force, and National Committee Member for the American General Contractors (AGC), and a corporate representative for the US Chamber of Commerce’s ‘Hiring Our Heroes’.  He is an avid volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, the United Way, and many other organizations whose purpose is to improve the lives of those in our communities. 

SID ATZMON

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Sidney Atzmon has been engaged in commercial real estate development for nearly all of his professional life. During his 33-year tenure with Swerdlow Group he was an integral member of a team of professionals that has developed in excess of 7.5 million square feet of commercial space and 1,100 acres of vacant land containing more than 4,000 residential units. He has extensive experience managing large and complex projects across all asset classes. Some of his key strengths include a thorough understanding of the entitlement and approval process across a myriad of municipal and state agencies; expertise in sophisticated financing alternatives including bond financing available through Community Development Districts and public-private partnerships; and proficient in development and construction project management including financial analysis, budgeting, critical path coordination and contract management. 

DEVELOPMENT ADVISOR

NICHOLAS SWERDLOW

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Nicholas Swerdlow serves the position of vice president at Swerdlow Group. He is responsible for monitoring the progress of all projects and overseeing the coordination of all development activities including zoning and permitting, financing, leasing, and construction.

VICE PRESIDENT

ELISABETH DORSETTE

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Elisabeth Dorsette, Director of Residential Occupancy & Assistance Programs, has almost 20 years of experience in the affordable housing industry within Miami-Dade County. She has a proven track record of delivering innovative and effective solutions for complex and diverse housing challenges. Throughout her career she has been responsible for overseeing the development of strategies and policies to enhance the quality and accessibility of affordable housing for low-income families.

 

In Elisabeth's current role her primary responsibility is assisting the company with the management and oversight of activities related to the occupancy, tenancy and management of the properties in the company's portfolio. She is also responsible for ensuring compliance with various programs associated with residential tenancies, including but not limited to Surtax, Low Income Housing Tax Credit and Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers, including Project Based Vouchers and Rental Assistance Demonstration.

DIRECTOR RESIDENTIAL OCCUPANCY

ROGER LEBLANC

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Roger has been involved in the development, leasing and management of shopping centers for over 35 years. During his tenure as Executive Vice President of Leasing and Property Management with Swerdlow Group, he was responsible for all retail space throughout Florida, Maryland and California. Roger has created and nurtured longstanding relationships with all major national retail tenants in the industry.

DIRECTOR OF LEASING AND PROPERTY MANAGEMENT

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