Callahan hires ex-Ladder Capital executive

The Chicago-based real estate firm has hired Jim Evans as chief investment officer, following the departure of Ross Satterwhite, who left to pursue other interests.

Callahan Capital Partners has appointed former Ladder Capital executive Jim Evans as chief investment officer.

The Chicago-based real estate investment firm said Evans would take over the responsibilities of Ross Satterwhite, who left Callahan earlier this year to pursue other opportunities.

Evans spent the past two years with New York debt platform Ladder Capital, and prior to that was a venture partner with private equity firm SCP Partners.

Evans, who joined CCP earlier this month, previously worked with the firm’s founder and chief executive officer Tim Callahan when he was president and chief executive officer of Sam Zell’s Equity Office Properties REIT. The pair also worked together at Chemical Bank during the 1980s.

CCP is targeting office properties in prime US markets, including New York, Washington DC, Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle, as well as other cities such as Chicago, Houston and Denver.

The firm has not closed a deal since buying a portfolio of six Denver office properties from The Blackstone Group in May 2007. The Denver portfolio – originally part of the Equity Office Properties group – was acquired for $769.5 million in a joint venture with Morgan Stanley Real Estate and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

The firm is also believed to have considered raising a blind pool REIT, however those plans have been put on ice due to waning investor appetite for the investment model. Ladder Capital also postponed its plans for a blind pool REIT, with chief executive officer Brian Harris telling PERE late last year “REITs will become huge” thanks to a “permanent change” in the lending community in the US.

“There are no more Wall Street investment banks out there. This will lead to a permanent shift in the mortgage finance business, and I don’t see it being done through banks,” Harris said in the December 2009/January 2010 issue of PERE. Ladder Capital isn’t planning to reintroduce its REIT idea before the end of the year, Harris added, but that it could look at a private-to-public strategy in order to avoid institutional investors’ reticence over blind-pool structures.