(Originally posted on cpexecutive.com)
As Commercial Property Executive celebrates its 30th anniversary, we’re taking a look back at the most significant events in commercial real estate’s history. Stay tuned for our weekly posts highlighting these critical points, and follow along with us on our site and your favorite social media channels using the hashtag #CPETurns30.
As the U.S. economy emerged from the recession in the mid-90s, investors began to buy property again. But they found mortgage capital limited as commercial banks, insurance companies, pension funds and other traditional lenders remained cautious. Ethan Penner saw an opportunity for Wall Street investment banks to fill the void, particularly Norma Securities, which agreed to back his plan in 1993. Penner was able to build the business to $10.8 billion in conduit and large loan deals, first under the Nomura Asset Management name and then Capital Corp. of America, before an effort to restructure the relationship fell apart in 1998. Penner is credited for his role in expanding the use of CMBS, making it a regular means of financing property purchases and creating large pools of mortgages before securitizing them. Penner went on to found and serve as president of CBRE Capital Partners in 2008, before the firm substantially exited all investments in 2014. He is now the founder & managing partner of Mosaic Real Estate Investors.