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Amanda Shisler spotlighted in New York Real Estate Journal’s 2018 Women in Real Estate

Real estate association / organization affiliation(s): MBA, BOMA, ICSC

What blogs, resources, podcasts or influencers have helped you?
NorthMarq Capital provides sales and product training. In addition they encourage me to interact with successful women in our industry and offer a mentor who has many years of experience in commercial real estate finance.

In addition to the tools and training NorthMarq provides I do enjoy listening to Heather McDonald’s “Juicy Scoop” and Heather Dubrow’s “World.” They tend to be light and funny, but talk about personal branding, work life balance and the #MeToo Movement. New Sales Simplified by Mike Weinberg provided me with tools for prospecting and new business development.

How many messages are in your inbox right now and how do you manage email?
I have one unread e-mail. I leave my e-mail open 24/7 and I will read them as I receive them. If it’s going to take me more than a couple of minutes to respond I flag the message and set a reminder to go back and answer the e-mail by a certain time.

In one word, describe yourself:

What do you do like to do for fun?
I enjoy traveling, paddle board yoga, rock climbing and rappelling.

What are some of your biggest accomplishments in the last 12 months?
In the past 12 months I have transitioned from an investment analyst to a producer, with my focus on affordable housing/low income housing tax credit deals.

How important is it for women to create a personal brand?
It’s important to identify your niche and stay with it. For me, I have a background in HUD audits and tax credits, so I try to focus on prospecting LIHTC, HUD, HTC and MHC deals.

Originally appeared on September 18, 2018 in NYREJ.com.

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Look out below! NorthMarq Capital’s Rochester office rappels down Kodak World Headquarters to benefit Boy Scouts of America

Amanda Macikowski

Amanda Macikowski before her descent.

For the second year in a row, NorthMarq Capital’s Amanda Macikowski fearlessly stepped beyond the safety of the Kodak World Headquarters and rappelled down 21 stories. The gravity-defying event was part of Boy Scouts of America – Seneca Waterways Council’s 21 Stories for Scouts fundraiser on May 18 in Rochester, New York. This year, however, Rochester office Managing Director Sam Berns and Analyst Sean Lavin joined their colleague in the endeavor.

Having taken a role as committee member for the organization, Amanda was extremely active gathering donations and volunteers. This year’s event raised $168,904 which is the highest amount ever raised. In addition Amanda organized and found sponsors for the first annual Liquid Courage Party that was held at Bitter Honey to jump start the event the night before. NorthMarq Rochester’s office raised more than $5,000 for the cause. To participate, individuals must commit to raising $1,000. “The scariest part is the first step over the edge—then it’s a lot of fun,” explained Macikowski. “My team definitely thinks I’m crazy for doing it year after year, so it meant a lot to me to have Sean and Sam support me and a cause that is very close to my heart.”

When it came to the actual rappelling, Sam Berns expressed his gratitude for Amanda’s reassurance. “Amanda’s courageous spirit helped me challenge my fear of heights,” he said. “I was terrified the first few steps down the building, but I soon found comfort with all the redundant safety features. I only had one thought down my descent: Get down as soon as you can! NorthMarq is proud to support this great cause that provides after school and summer camp opportunities for urban youth in the Rochester area.”

According to the event’s webpage, because the event is run by Boy Scouts of America, donations go directly toward underwriting outreach programs for urban youth in the city of Rochester including over 40 after-school programs and summer camp experiences. The Seneca Waterways Council, Boy Scouts of America services nearly 11,000 young people each year with leadership and character development programs that positively impact and help prepare young people for life.

“Only one percent of youth in urban areas attend programs like Boy Scouts, which to me is extremely alarming,” said Macikowski. “Participating in this event allows for the Boy Scouts to educate parents on the benefits of after school programs, and camp to help send more students to the Scouts. Boy Scouts is now open to boys and girls and teaches leadership through life skills. Being a first generation scholar at St. John Fisher College and tutoring in urban after school programs, I have witnessed firsthand the importance of today’s youth to attend these programs.”

Amanda Macikowski

Amanda Macikowski

Sean Lavin

Sean Lavin

Sam Berns

Sam Berns

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Takeaways from Middle Atlantic BOMA Conference and Rochester Market Outlook

What was a takeaway from the 2018 Building Owners and Managers Association International (BOMA) Middle Atlantic conference?

The biggest take-away we saw from the conference and the Upstate New York market as a whole is the adaptive repurposing of the historic buildings in each city. Being a part of the Rust Belt, there are several factories that have been vacant for years in cities that are seeing a demand for apartments. We are seeing developers use the strong bones of these properties to create mixed-use retail/office/apartments. The high demand for creative office space has been a driver for developers to keep the historic look and feel of these buildings.

Over the past several years in Upstate New York, longer winters have started to drive up utilities and maintenance costs. Developers and property managers are now having to adjust for these increased expenses in their projections with existing properties as well as deciding the feasibility for future projects.

Describe the refurbished property you visited during the Middle Atlantic BOMA conference

We toured the New Era Capital World Headquarters, which is now located in the old Federal Reserve Building in Downtown Buffalo. The most interesting part of the tour was seeing how they turned the old vaults into creative office space and fitting/show rooms for the hats and apparel they sell.  Like many repurposed projects/historic tax credit projects, the cost to rehab them is usually more expensive than other rehab projects.

For example, they had budgeted $85,000 to cut an opening into the wall for a server room and it turned out it cost them $85,000 to cut through only an inch of cement. The building was developed to not be tampered with for security reasons, which created a lot of obstacles during the conversion. We see this a lot of times with the rules and regulations of keeping the historical preservation of buildings with HTC.

What affect has a lower unemployment and higher graduating millennial retention had on your market? 

According to Ana Liss, president of the Rochester Greater Enterprise, “Our workforce figures are down and, by and large, our unemployment rate is much lower than it has been in recent years, owing most likely to a combination of frictional and structural unemployment (more jobs than there are available, skilled workers; workers searching for a “just right” opportunity; and some industrial automation).” Most recently, we have seen several tech companies move to Rochester from larger cities and other countries. Between LiveTiles, Datto, and CloudCheckr, there will be more than 800 jobs added to the area over the next two to three years. All of this portends positive future signs for the Rochester MSA /Upstate New York market.

What opportunities/challenges arise from this trend?

Millennials have a strong desire to know the story behind what they are purchasing/spending their money on.  Repurposing these tired, vacant buildings allows them to tell a story and brings life back to the properties. It’s driving people back to downtown areas from suburbia. In Buffalo and Rochester, we are seeing the people coming to downtown but still lacking the retail to keep them downtown.

What is making Rochester more appealing for millennials?

Upstate New York as a whole provides millennials with a lower cost of living than major cities. The combination of lower cost of living with the unique features that are traditionally seen in big cities starting to pop up in Upstate New York are main drivers for compelling college students and recent grads to choose these cities. Upstate New York cities are now providing millennials the social aspects seen in major cities. From live music to micro-breweries to a vast array of festivals, these social draws are paramount to millennials. As mentioned above, there is a desire to have a creative office with a work-life balance. Upstate New York cities provide a generation that is changing the industry norm the work-life balance that they desire.

Originally appeared in NYREJ.

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Local Office Overview

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Download this two-page flyer to learn more about the Rochester office.

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NorthMarq Capital’s Amanda Macikowski rappels down Rochester skyscraper for Boy Scouts of America

Amanda_croptROCHESTER (June 7, 2017) Amanda Macikowski, vice president of NorthMarq Capital’s Rochester regional office, recently found herself experiencing a whole new side to commercial real estate. As part of the Boy Scouts of America’s 21 Stories for Scouts fundraising efforts, Amanda rappelled down the outside of First Federal Plaza. The building stands at a vertigo-inducing 21 stories and is the fifth tallest building in Rochester.

With an initial deposit of $100 followed by $1,435 of pledges and personal fundraising, Amanda committed herself to this wholesome adventure.  Thanks to sponsorship of the event and associated costs from RG&E/Avangrid and Kodak, all proceeds will flow directly to support low income at-risk youth in the Seneca Waterways Council, Boy Scouts of America program.

“Last year I saw other rappellers on the news for this event and I said I’m going to do that next year! I was a First Generation Scholar at St. John Fisher College where I did over 30 hours of community service a semester in the City of Rochester, mostly as a mentor and tutor to help those in need get a college education. Being able to give back to my community doing something I love was a really awesome and rewarding experience. I look forward to doing it again next year,” said Macikowski.

“Our office is proud of Amanda’s achievement and her dedication to giving back to our community,” said Sam Berns, senior vice president/managing director of NorthMarq Capital’s Rochester regional office.


About Seneca Waterways Council (Boy Scouts of America)
The Seneca Waterways Council, Boy Scouts of America serves the youth of the Counties of Ontario, Wayne, Seneca, Yates, and Monroe and the City of Rochester, New York. Seneca Waterways Council provides an educational program for boys and young adults to build character, to train in the responsibilities of participating citizenship, and to develop personal fitness. The program is implemented by community organizations which are chartered by the National Scout Council. These groups use the Scouting program as a part of their own youth work. The community organizations, which have goals compatible with those of the BSA, include: religious, educational, civic, fraternal, business, and labor organizations; governmental bodies; corporations; professional associations; and citizens’ groups. For more information please visit www.senecawaterways.org.

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Sam Berns discusses state of the market in Rochester

Sam Berns joined four other NorthMarq Capital producers to discuss and answer questions regarding tertiary and secondary markets. In his responses he pointed out a shift towards adaptive re-use projects. “These include vacant building conversions to apartments, parking lot conversions, office to hotel, class “C” office to class “A,” and a resurgence in CBD retail. We believe this is a result of millennials desiring an urban lifestyle and needing the amenities required.” Read Sam’s responses below.

1.  What property type/niche are seeing/hearing about in your market? What conditions make this possible?
We are seeing many adaptive re-use projects located in city centers of Upstate New York. These include vacant building conversions to apartments, parking lot conversions, office to hotel, class “C” office to class “A,” and a resurgence in CBD retail. We believe this is a result of millennials desiring an urban lifestyle and needing the amenities required. This coupled with alternative forms of transportation such as Uber and Lyft will make car ownership a non-necessity.

2. What type of borrowers/lenders are in your market? For example; is it primarily agency or are bank and life companies also part of the mix? Why?
We are seeing smaller regional banks and credit unions taking the lead on the construction phase of CBD conversions. Agencies such as Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are available for the take-out financing for these multi-family projects as they stabilize. Life companies remain interested in lower loan-to-value transactions with solid leasing to established credits. They like the lower loans per square foot that many of these conversions demonstrate.

3.  What are the unique challenges facing your market?
Many of the Upstate New York markets are stable and not exhibiting the growth being experienced in other cities. In some ways this helps as lending institutions prefer stable economies as opposed to others which may exhibit steeply shaped growth and contraction patterns.

4. What are the unique opportunities present in your market?
Our regions resilience in recessionary economic cycle’s couple with slow growth that provide lenders with a consistent and stable market to do business in.

Read the full story here.

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2017 Commercial Mortgage Bankers Conference Highlights

By: Amanda Macikowski

San Diego was the site of this year’s Commercial Real Estate Mortgage Bankers Conference. Over 4,500 attendees were at this year’s conference representing Mortgage Bankers, Commercial Mortgage Backed Securities (CMBS) lenders, life insurance companies, agency lenders, banks, mezzanine, bridge lenders and preferred equity providers.  NorthMarq Capital met with over 70 of these organizations during the three-day event. These groups will shape the commercial real estate market for the next year. As opposed to the conference in 2016, this year’s tone was more optimistic and lenders want to put out more money than the previous year.

Overall Sentiment
Most lenders believe that the positive commercial real estate trends, which began in 2010, will continue through 2017. Lenders were concerned with refinancing the wall of maturities from the loans placed in 2006 and 2007; however, to date the majority of the loans have paid off with no workouts. As cash continues to accumulate on most lenders’ balance sheets, they are actively searching for yield opportunities. As US Treasury Rates remain at historical lows, many of our lenders are using floor rates, including higher loan-to-values, creativity, a larger spectrum of loan opportunities and a greater number of loan products.

Agency Lenders
Last year, NorthMarq continued to rank highly with loans nationally with both Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. NorthMarq finished the year as one of the nation’s largest originator of Freddie Mac loans. Together these agencies again led the marketplace for multi-family loans. These low cost that multi-family debt provides continue to be about 25-50 bps less than most lenders on higher advantage transactions. There has been some leeway with the loan to values for refinances, with cash out now available up to 80%percent on a per exception/waiver biases. Agencies will continue to be more aggressive on Very Low Income Housing and Affordable Housing opportunities.  New for the Agencies, this year will be Modified Rehab, Value Add, and Green Programs.

CMBS lending has once again weeded out the little shops with new risk retention regulations. 15 CMBS lenders have left the market because of both risk retention and lower volumes. CMBS issuers will have to retain a 5 -7.5 percent every new deal they issue, or designate a B-piece buyer to take on that risk. The first pool meeting the new risk retention regulations occurred at the end of 2016. The pool was set up as a vertical risk retention, which requires them to retain their slice for a set number of years without hedging or transferring the credit risk. In this pool, we found that the spreads were the tightest they have been since 2015. Other structural strategies that are risk retention compliant would include a “first loss” horizontal option and an “L-shaped” arrangement, which is a combination of the vertical and horizontal structures. We have taken the position that if CMBS is the only execution available for your transaction, then it is prudent to stick with CMBS lenders who have large balance sheets supporting them.

Life Companies
Loan sizes range from $2 million up to $50 million for most institutional grade properties. Basic product types of apartments, retail, office and industrial continue to be what most life companies are seeking. Most life companies’ loan-to-values will max out at 75%percent for multi-family and 70 percent for other property types. However, NorthMarq saw several life insurance companies approaching 75 percent values for property types other than multi-family in 2016. Five to twenty year loan terms with 15/15 or 20/20 self-amortizing loans will be available in 2017. Several life companies are becoming more flexible with pre-payment penalties moving from yield maintenance to declining balance. With US Treasury remaining at historical lows, several Life Insurance companies are using floor rates in the four percent range.

Mezzanine and Bridge Lenders
Mezzanine lenders and preferred equity groups continue to fill the loan-to-value gap in the shortfall created by the aggressive lending earlier in the decade. Average interest rates are in the 8 -12 percent range, allowing loan-to-values to approach the 80 to 85 percent range. Bridge lenders continue to seek turnaround/distressed assets in the $5 million and up range. Depending on in-place cash flows, loan to values will be in the 65 to 70 percent range. These non-recourse loans are totally driven by the markets the properties are located in and sponsor experience. Most loans are interest only for a two-three year period.

In summary, expect the 2017 lending environment to be consistent with last year.  Most lenders are looking to maintain last year’s production levels. For more than 50 years, NorthMarq Capital has provided debt and equity to commercial real estate owners and investors through 36 regional offices coast-to-coast. With an annual production volume of more than $13 billion and a loan-servicing portfolio of $50 billion on behalf of more than 50 institutional investors, we are one of the largest commercial real estate mortgage banking firms in the world, and the nation’s largest privately held servicer and provider of commercial real estate debt and equity.

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Market News: Despite Uncertainty, 2017 Outlook Remains Positive

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Download our quarterly newsletter and contact our Rochester team today!

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NorthMarq Capital’s Rochester office promotes Amanda Macikowski to vice president

The Rochester-based regional office of NorthMarq Capital is proud to announce the promotion of Amanda Macikowski to vice president. In her new role, Amanda’s principal focus will be sourcing debt for insurance companies, agency lenders Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, CMBS lenders, equity investors and other financing sources represented by NorthMarq.

Amanda joined the Rochester office in 2013 as an investment analyst, where she has assisted in closing over $300,000,000 in loans with agency lenders, CMBS and life insurance companies and private equity. In 2015, Amanda earned the NorthMarq Capital’s, “Freddie Mac Analyst of the Year Award.”

“Amanda will bring a high level of service and competence to her clients in Upstate New York,” said Sam Berns, managing director of NorthMarq’s Rochester-based regional office.

Prior to joining NorthMarq Capital, Amanda honed her accounting skills working in public accounting doing HUD audits and small business tax returns.

She holds a dual degree in Corporate Finance and Accounting with a minor in Women and Gender Studies from St. John Fisher College.

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NorthMarq’s Sam Berns featured in New York Real Estate Journal

Sam Berns was recently featured in the Spring/Summer 2016 edition of the New York Real Estate Journal’s Commercial Real Estate Guide.  He provided an article titled “Highlights from the 2016 Commercial Mortgage Bankers Conference.” Read the article here.

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Rochester analyst receives NorthMarq Capital’s Freddie Mac Analyst of the Year Award

Amanda Macikowski

Amanda Macikowski

With more than $1.8 billion in Freddie Mac financing so far in 2015, Amanda Macikowski, analyst at NorthMarq Capital’s Rochester regional office was recognized as the Freddie Mac Analyst of the Year at the company’s annual Analyst Conference that was held in Nashville, Tennessee, October 11-13.

“The analysts we recognized represent the highest level of quality, integrity and customer service,” said Jeff Weidell, president.

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