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Investment Banking

Senior positions at two major bracket firms, Warburg, Paribas, Becker, Inc. and Bear Stearns & Co, Inc., with responsibilities that included general management and recruitment, corporate finance and financial advisory assignments, the organization and distribution of equity offerings, and asset acquisitions and dispositions.

Representative Transactions

October 1986: Wellsford Group, Inc. was organized with the founders of Wesray Corp. (the LBO firm led by former Secretary of the Treasury William E. Simon and financier Raymond Chambers) and Eastdil, Inc. (the real estate advisory firm led by Benjamin Lambert). Its initial capitalization was $1 million.

December 1990 to March 1992: Wellsford Group, Inc. with California Federal Saving & Loan formed venture with $450 million of commercial and residential real estate owned (REO) assets located primarily in California. This joint venture was organized in response to the passage of the Financial Institutions Reform Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA). This was federal legislation, enacted in the wake of the savings and loan crisis, which ultimately led to the closing of hundreds of insolvent banking institutions. Mr. Lynford served as CEO.

November 1992: Initial public offering of $100 million for Wellsford Residential Property Trust (listed on NYSE) with 18 multifamily rental properties containing 5,255 apartments. Mr. Lynford served as Chairman.

December 1994: At year end, Wellsford Residential Property Trust owned 83 multifamily rental properties containing 20,541 apartments situated in eight states (12 major cities), making it the fourth largest apartment REIT in the nation. During that year, it acquired 51 properties containing 11,416 apartments for a total consideration of $438 million, as follows:

  • Holly Residential Properties, Inc. with 5,223 rental apartments located in and around Seattle, Washington was purchased for $238 million.
  • Oklahoma portfolio with 5,101 rental apartments located in Tulsa and Oklahoma City was purchased for $133 million.
  • Arizona portfolio with 1,092 rental apartments located in and around Phoenix and Tucson was purchased for $67 million.

December 1996: At year-end Wellsford Residential Property Trust’s audited consolidated statement of operations reported $132 million in annual revenues and $36 million in annual Funds from Operations available for Common Shareholders. The consolidated balance sheet reported $757 million of total assets, $380 million in total liabilities and shareholders’ equity of $377 million. Also, for the sixth consecutive year the company-wide Resident Satisfaction Survey, which was returned by approximately 35% of tenants, indicated that “nine out of ten of the residents would recommend our communities to a friend!”

May 1997: Wellsford Residential Property Trust consummated a tax-free merger with Equity Residential Properties, Inc. (with Sam Zell as Chairman) valued at $1 billion. Simultaneously, a spin-off of the newly organized Wellsford Real Properties, Inc. (listed on AMEX) was completed. This firm was formed to pursue public and private market, real estate-related, merchant banking opportunities with institutional shareholders, including Equity Residential, which invested $25 million. Mr. Lynford served as Chairman. At year-end, audited consolidated balance sheet of Wellsford Real Properties, Inc. reported $250 million of total assets, $67 million of total liabilities and shareholders’ equity of $181 million.

June 1997 to 2008: Wellsford Real Properties, Inc. completed the 10-year development and construction of Palomino Park: a five-phase, 1,707-unit, multi-family residential project constructed on 180 acres in a suburb south of Denver, Colorado. This guarded-gated signature project included 1,184 rental apartments and 523 condominium units which have been sold for over $300 million in gross proceeds. The rental apartments were acquired by TIAA-CREF for $176 million and the condominium units were purchased by individual purchasers for $130 million in the aggregate. Shareholders received a net sales gain of approximately $72 million, which did not include a decade of rental operating profit.

May 1997 to 2003: Wellsford Real Properties, Inc. and Bank America originated an $80 million loan which was secured by the equity interests which owned a 45-story, 1.75 million SF office tower located at 48th Street and Park Avenue in New York City. This was a non-amortizing ten-year loan, subordinated to the first mortgage, bearing an interest rate of 12% per annum and which was repaid in 6½ years with a substantial prepayment fee.

August 1997 to 2005: Wellsford Real Properties, Inc. established a new subsidiary, Wellsford Commercial Properties Trust (WCPT). This subsidiary was organized to purchase, rehabilitate, reposition, and operate suburban office and industrial buildings. It formed a 50/50 joint venture with an affiliate of Goldman Sachs, Inc. In June 2001 the venture obtained a three-year, $353 million revolving credit facility from General Electric Capital Corporation. Over a four-year period the venture acquired and operated 35 properties with approximately 3.9 million SF, located primarily in New Jersey, Massachusetts and Maryland. Between 2002 and 2005 the venture sold all of these properties.

February 1998 to 2003: Wellsford Real Properties Inc. acquired Value Property Trust, which owned a portfolio of 20 office, industrial and retail properties for $169 million and later resold these properties in individual transactions over a five-year period.

August 2001 to 2003: An affiliate of Wellsford Real Properties, Inc. purchased $24,825,000 of AA rated, Mortgage Pass-Through Certificates collateralized by the World Trade Center in New York City On September 11, 2001 the aforementioned collateral was destroyed, but the property casualty and business interruption insurance obtained in connection with the Certificates did not exclude acts of terrorism. Subsequently, in 2003, the Certificates were repaid in full with insurance proceeds.

December 2005: Wellsford Real Properties, Inc. sells $370 million of wholly-owned and joint venture properties during the year and distributes $14/share to stockholders pursuant to previously announced Plan of Liquidation. Shares were trading at $13.92 when the public announcement of liquidation was made. Stockholders retained shares in the Company which held a 23% ownership interest in Reis, Inc.

May 2007 to 2010: Wellsford Real Properties, Inc. completed a tax-free merger with Reis, Inc., which is listed on the NASDAQ. Mr. Lynford served as Chairman. This tax-free merger was valued on a split-adjusted basis at approximately $8 per share and currently trades at over three times the aforementioned merger share price.

October 2008 to present: Wellsford Strategic Partners LLC is organized to pursue new investment opportunities arising from the current uncertain conditions within U.S. real estate markets and banking institutions. Currently it owns interests in apartments and development land in Connecticut, New York, Mississippi and North Carolina.