Michael Happel has over 25 years of experience investing in real estate, including acquisitions of office, retail, multifamily, industrial, and hotel properties, as well as acquisitions of real estate companies and real estate debt.
Mr. Happel founded Waterfall Properties in 2017. Prior to founding Waterfall Properties, he was CEO of New York REIT, Inc. (“NYRT”), as well as CEO of New York City REIT, Inc. (“NYCR”). He has been responsible for over $3.5 billion of real estate acquisitions in New York City since 2009, when he formed and launched NYRT.
From 1988-2002, Mr. Happel worked at Morgan Stanley & Co., specializing in real estate and becoming co-head of acquisitions for The Morgan Stanley Real Estate Funds, or MSREF, in 1994. While at MSREF, he was involved in acquiring over $10 billion of real estate and related assets in MSREF I and MSREF II. In 2002, Mr. Happel joined Westbrook Partners, a real estate private equity firm with over $5 billion of real estate assets. In 2004, he joined Atticus Capital, a multi-billion dollar hedge fund, as the head of real estate with responsibility for investing primarily in REITs and other publicly traded real estate securities.
Mr. Happel received a B.A. in economics from Duke University in 1985 and a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1988.
Joe Zuber has over 25 years of real estate investment, development, asset management and restructuring experience across all major property classes, with deep experience both in New York City and globally.
In 2015, Mr. Zuber was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Amstar Group LLC, a privately owned real estate organization based in Denver, Colorado with ~$2.5 billion of AUM. Mr. Zuber successfully led the restructuring of Amstar, including streamlining its operations, enhancing its liquidity and repositioning the organization for growth before returning home to New York in late 2016.
Prior to co-founding Waterfall, Mr. Zuber was the Managing Principal of Black Walnut Capital LLC, a real estate private equity entity that invests in longer duration real estate investments on behalf of institutions and ultra-high net worth families.
Mr. Zuber was previously the President and Chief Operating Officer of O’Connor Capital Partners and a partner in the firm. Mr. Zuber was responsible for O’Connor’s multi-billion dollar real estate funds business, including direct responsibility for its investment management platform. Mr. Zuber led the firm’s investment strategy, including the day-to-day management of 18 investing professionals, and the strategic oversight of the firm’s portfolio of 40 plus real estate investments with total capitalization in excess of $4.1 billion.
Previously, Mr. Zuber served as the Chief Investment Officer of The City Investment Fund, LP (CIF), a fully integrated real estate investment manager designed to pursue opportunistic real estate investments within New York City. Established in 2004 by Fisher Brothers and Morgan Stanley, CIF committed to 31 investments with a total capitalization of ~$4.0 billion during his tenure. Mr. Zuber was also an Executive Director of The Morgan Stanley Real Estate Funds (“MSREF”), where he was responsible for sourcing and executing U.S. investment opportunities and led MSREF’s investing activities in New York City.
Mr. Zuber received an MBA from The Colgate Darden Graduate School of Business at the University of Virginia and a B.Arch. degree from Cornell University.
Prior to joining Waterfall Properties in 2017, Mr. Stillwagon spent over 2 years working in real estate advisory at CBRE.
In 2015, Jack was selected to participate in CBRE’s Wheel Program as a rotational analyst serving CBRE Global Investors, Investment Properties Institutional Group, and the Consulting group. Mr. Stillwagon aided CBRE Global Investors in the underwriting of acquisition opportunities nationwide in the office, multifamily, retail and industrial disciplines, while assisting the Investment Properties Institutional Group in the underwriting and offering process in the New York City market. He also served as an analyst with CBRE’s consulting group working with brokerage teams in the tenant advisory process.
After completing the Wheel Program in 2016, Mr. Stillwagon joined the Investment Properties Institutional Group full-time as a Senior Analyst under Darcy Stacom and Bill Shanahan. During his time with IPIG, the team successfully facilitated the disposition of over $4BN in office, multifamily, and development sites in New York City. Jack was responsible for financial modeling and preparation of pitch and marketing materials in his role with IPIG.
Mr. Stillwagon has a BSBA with a concentration in Finance from The Robins School of Business at the University of Richmond.