The Real Deal New York

RFR hires new acquisitions head

Jonathan Lee Cohen, former Madison Capital Director, will oversee new buying group
By Rich Bockmann | February 01, 2019 08:00AM

Jonathan Lee Cohen, 390 Park Avenue, and Aby Rosen (Credit: Google Maps and Getty Images)

Aby Rosen and Michael Fuchs have hired a new executive to oversee acquisitions at RFR.

Michael Fuchs

Jonathan Lee Cohen, formerly a director at Madison Capital, recently joined RFR to head a newly created acquisitions group at the company, a spokesperson told The Real Deal.

Previously, Rosen and Fuchs were in charge of buying at RFR, which oversees some $13 billion of real estate assets across the globe. But the company is now building out a dedicated team that includes acquisitions vice president Brandon Romanoff.

“We’re making a concerted effort to expand the acquisitions team,” Cohen told TRD. “We’ve been active; we just want more manpower to grow the existing platform.”

Cohen comes from Richard Wagman and J. Joseph Jacobson’s Madison Capital, where he worked on deals such as the firm’s $85 million purchase of a ground lease in the Flatiron District at 71 Fifth Avenue in 2017.

At RFR, he’ll be in charge of making equity investments and purchasing debt, as well as originating loans.

The company last year bought a package of retail condos in the West Village from New York REIT for $31 million, and paid $115 million to buy a 3-acre development site in Gowanus from SL Green and Kushner Companies.

Elsewhere, RFR is facing headwinds at its marquee property Lever House at 390 Park Avenue. RFR owns the landmarked building, but is having trouble refinancing the property because the land underneath is set for a big rent increase.

Last year, Brookfield Properties and Waterman Interests took control of the ground lease, and a new buyer recently came in and purchased the debt on the building.