Team

 

We are owners and we think like owners.

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Executive Team

Etienne Locoh
Cheif Executive Officer

Etienne Locoh is founder and CEO of the Urban Century Group. He also acts as Managing Partner for Urban Century Capital Partners and Infinity Urban Century, the firm's two primary investment vehicles. With over 20 years of industry experience, Mr. Locoh brings the Company unique insights into asset selection, deal structuring, and investment management in up or down cycles. He has closed and managed directly over $3.5 billion in real estate related investments, including value-added property acquisitions and development ventures, distressed entity recapitalizations, and corporate private equity transactions. His experience spans nearly all property sectors, with a particular focus on mixed-use urban renewal and development.

Prior to forming Urban Century Group, he was one of the founding members of Citigroup Property Investors North America, a private equity real estate fund management unit of Citigroup that was later acquired by Apollo Management L.P.. His duties included investing capital for the bank and some of its largest institutional investors. Mr. Locoh led a team focused on high yield private equity investments in real estate assets and companies across all property types in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. He served as board director for private investee companies and managed several key joint ventures of the CPI North America Fund.

Before joining Citigroup Property Investors, Mr. Locoh was vice president at JP Morgan Investment Management responsible for originating and executing value-added real estate investments on behalf of the JP Morgan Special Situation Property Fund.

Mr. Locoh received an MBA with a finance concentration from Harvard Business School, and an M.S. from Ecole d'Architecture Paris-La-Seine, with a major in architecture and a minor in urban economics. He is a member of the Urban Land Institute and sits on ULI's Urban Mixed-Use Development Council. He lives in the New York metropolitan area, with his wife Suneeta and their three children.


Etienne Locoh is founder and CEO of the Urban Century Group. He also acts as Managing Partner for Urban Century Capital Partners and Infinity Urban Century, the firm's two primary investment vehicles. With over 20 years of industry experience, Mr. Locoh brings the Company unique insights into asset selection, deal structuring, and investment management in up or down cycles. He has closed and managed directly over $3.5 billion in real estate related investments, including value-added property acquisitions and development ventures, distressed entity recapitalizations, and corporate private equity transactions.

Steven J. Kassin
Exective Board Member

Steven J. Kassin (“Steve”) founded Infinity Real Estate in 2005 and currently leads the company's development projects and investment ventures and oversees Infinity’s corporate platform. He is instrumental in the programming, design and execution of each project, and presides over multiple teams to reinvent properties and ensure they possess a unique and lasting quality. Under his stewardship, the company has managed over 75 properties and has transacted on over $2 billion of real estate related investments.

Since Infinity’s inception, Steve has fueled Infinity’s primary focus on “transformative” real estate investing. The company has accumulated an impressive portfolio of development and redevelopment projects spanning multifamily, office, retail and lodging properties in primary markets across 11 states. With an established reputation as a focused, hands-on developer and operator of premier real estate, Infinity currently owns and manages over 50 commercial properties representing over 2.5 million square feet and more than 1,500 luxury rental apartments. Many of Infinity’s projects have involved rehabilitating neglected historic or “landmark” designated properties in high-visibility and high-value locations, appealing to Steve’s passion for preserving and reinventing irreplaceable real estate. His vision is also behind Infinity’s “Green Landmark Initiative,” which is aimed at preserving, rehabilitating and retrofitting historic properties with the most efficient building systems to ensure the smallest environmental footprint possible.

In October 2015, Steve was given the honor of being named one of Globe Street’s Real Estate Forum’s “Fifty Under 40.” In 2016, he was named a “Steward of Nature” by the NYC Department of Parks Nature Conservancy for his significant contributions to neighborhood and green-space planting programs throughout New York City, as well as his participation in other environmental initiatives. In 2015, Steve enrolled Infinity in 1% For The Planet, pledging 1% of the company’s revenues to environmental initiatives, preservation and re-nourishment. Steve also serves on the Executive Committee of NAIOP’s New York Chapter and is a founding member of the Professionals in Real Estate Forum (PREF).

Steve graduated from the NYU Stern School of Business with concentrations in Finance and Economics. Today, he serves on the advisory board of NYU Stern’s Center for Real Estate Finance & Research and as a chair on NYU Stern’s Alumni Council. A committed NYU alum, he and his two brothers were honored at the ribbon cutting for the Kassin Center located in the lobby of Tisch Hall in Spring 2017.

Steve lives in the New York area with his wife and two daughters. He has been an avid surfer and an all-around outdoorsman since childhood. He credits his love for surfing and the ocean with sparking his passion for and commitment to environmental activism.


Steven J. Kassin (“Steve”) founded Infinity Real Estate in 2005 and currently leads the company's development projects and investment ventures and oversees Infinity’s corporate platform. He is instrumental in the programming, design and execution of each project, and presides over multiple teams to reinvent properties and ensure they possess a unique and lasting quality. Under his stewardship, the company has managed over 75 properties and has transacted on over $2 billion of real estate related investments.

Ike S. Franco
Executive Board Member

Ike Franco is Co-Founder and Principal of Infinity Group, which he co-founded in 2005 with Steve Kassin when the two partners formally joined forces and consolidated their respective companies and investments into one management platform. Mr. Franco is the driving force behind the Company’s diverse portfolio of premier retail-targeted brands. He serves as Managing Partner of Infinity Lifestyle Brands, the Group’s consumer product business and brand turn-around operating unit.

Over the past twenty five years, Ike Franco has become one of the most experienced and successful buyers of under-performing, yet highly recognized consumer product brands. He orchestrated the acquisition and repositioning of global brands including Starter Athletic/Shaq Apparel, The Sharper Image, Polaroid, Altec Lansing, Bugle Boy, and Delia’s. Ike also co-headed the acquisition, repositioning and disposition of the former Pillowtex Mill’s home furnishings brands which include Cannon, Royal Velvet, Fieldcrest, and Charisma. The notable performance of these investments is a testament to Mr. Franco’s deep understanding of the apparel business, and to his selective association with strategic partners.

Ike Franco holds board seats, and/or retains direct operational involvement, in Infinity Lifestyle’s private companies and internationally renowned consumer product brands. Ike created Franco Apparel Group in 1988, and grew the Company into one of the nation’s leading manufacturers and distributors of branded childrenswear, until ultimately selling the company in 2013. The Company controlled manufacturing and distribution rights for the powerful U.S. professional athletic leagues. Franco produced official player jerseys and team products for the National Basketball Association (NBA), Major League Baseball (MLB), National Hockey League (NHL), and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Franco also held licensing rights for a diverse lineup of notable childrenswear brands including Hello Kitty, New Balance, Laura Ashley Collection, and Eddie Bauer.

Ike Franco is a self-made businessman who has achieved remarkable success in the apparel business, the industry in which he started his career. He is considered a leader in the field and has been featured in several major publications including most notably in Entrepreneur magazine, in License magazine, and in Sports Edge magazine as one of the “Top 25 Leaders in the Industry to Watch”. He was also honored as “Entrepreneur of the Year” at the fashion industry’s Michael Awards. Ike lives in the New York area with his wife, two sons, and four daughters. He is a longstanding supporter of numerous New York City charitable and community organizations.


Ike Franco is Co-Founder and Principal of Infinity Group, which he co-founded in 2005 with Steve Kassin when the two partners formally joined forces and consolidated their respective companies and investments into one management platform. Mr. Franco is the driving force behind the Company’s diverse portfolio of premier retail-targeted brands. He serves as Managing Partner of Infinity Lifestyle Brands, the Group’s consumer product business and brand turn-around operating unit.

Akram Busaidy
Exectuive Board Member

Mr. Busaidy is a senior adviser to Urban Century Group, and a member of its Executive Board. He brings an exceptional depth of expertise to UCG in large scale urban real estate investment, management and capitalization. He provides portfolio management and strategic direction to the investment team and sits on the company's Investment Committee.

Most recently, Mr. Busaidy was the Managing Director and acting Global Head of Real Estate for UBS AG's Global Wealth Management business. He joined UBS in 2004 as Global Head of Portfolio Management. In this role, he was responsible for managing approximately $18 billion of real estate investments for discretionary and non-discretionary high net worth accounts of the bank.

Prior to joining UBS AG, Mr. Busaidy was a founding partner of T.S. Quinn Associates, LLC, a real estate investment management firm specializing in property investments for family offices and private investors. This unit was ultimately integrated into UBS's Global Wealth Management group in 2004. Before founding TSQA in 2002, Mr. Busaidy worked as a Vice President within J.P. Morgan's Real Estate Investment Group, managing real estate private equity investments as a fiduciary, on behalf of governments, corporations, endowments, and foundations. In this role, he was most recently based in New York where he was responsible for sourcing, pricing, structuring and executing core and value-added property investments. He initially joined J.P. Morgan in 1995, in its International Corporate Real Estate Group, where he was involved in the management and development of the firm's owner-occupied real estate portfolio worldwide.

Prior to 1995, Mr. Busaidy worked for CS First Boston's Principal Transactions Group in New York, providing acquisition, restructuring and disposition support to a high-yield closed-end funds invested in non-performing loans and distressed real estate assets. Mr. Busaidy received a Master of Science in Real Estate from Columbia University, and a Bachelor of Science in Land Development & Planning from the University of Miami.

 

Thomas Rini
Exectuive Board Member

Mr. Rini is a senior adviser to Urban Century Group, and a member of its Executive Board. Mr. Rini has over 25 years of real estate investment experience in urban residential development, and he has been an industry leader in tax credit finance. He brings UCG tremendous insights into affordable housing and urban multi-family housing development. He provides strategic direction to the investment team and sits on the company's Investment Committee.

Tom Rini is currently managing a private pool of high-net-worth investor capital focused on start-up ventures ranging from real estate to energy. Prior to this, Mr. Rini served as CEO and President of Apollo Housing Capital, the affordable housing investment company that he founded in 1997 and sold successfully to The Royal Bank of Canada in 2006. Apollo focused on multifamily residential project investments in deep urban markets including Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, Philadelphia, and Boston.

Under Mr. Rini's direction, Apollo sponsored over $1.5 billion in private equity investments in partnerships with institutional investors such as Fannie Mae, Citicorp, Bank of America, Aegon Insurance, Nationwide Insurance and several California based banks. By the time of its sale to RBC, Apollo had invested in 325 properties representing over 24,000 rental apartment units. The most notable among them was North Town Village, a pioneering new development which sparked the substantial redevelopment of the entire Cabrini Green neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois. The project was widely recognized as an example of Apollo's ability to spur a vibrant urban housing renewal where public policy had previously failed to create momentum.

Before forming Apollo Housing Capital, Tom Rini held senior banking positions at McDonald & Company Securities, an Ohio-based regional investment company later sold to KeyBank. He also worked for several years as a Certified Public Accountant with Deloitte. Mr. Rini received an MBA from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH, and a BBA from The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, with a major in finance.


Mr. Rini is a senior adviser to Urban Century Group, and a member of its Executive Board. Mr. Rini has over 25 years of real estate investment experience in urban residential development, and he has been an industry leader in tax credit finance. He brings UCG tremendous insights into affordable housing and urban multi-family housing development. He provides strategic direction to the investment team and sits on the company's Investment Committee.

Akram Busaidy
Exectuive Board Member

Mr. Busaidy is a senior adviser to Urban Century Group, and a member of its Executive Board. He brings an exceptional depth of expertise to UCG in large scale urban real estate investment, management and capitalization. He provides portfolio management and strategic direction to the investment team and sits on the company's Investment Committee.

Most recently, Mr. Busaidy was the Managing Director and acting Global Head of Real Estate for UBS AG's Global Wealth Management business. He joined UBS in 2004 as Global Head of Portfolio Management. In this role, he was responsible for managing approximately $18 billion of real estate investments for discretionary and non-discretionary high net worth accounts of the bank.

Prior to joining UBS AG, Mr. Busaidy was a founding partner of T.S. Quinn Associates, LLC, a real estate investment management firm specializing in property investments for family offices and private investors. This unit was ultimately integrated into UBS's Global Wealth Management group in 2004. Before founding TSQA in 2002, Mr. Busaidy worked as a Vice President within J.P. Morgan's Real Estate Investment Group, managing real estate private equity investments as a fiduciary, on behalf of governments, corporations, endowments, and foundations. In this role, he was most recently based in New York where he was responsible for sourcing, pricing, structuring and executing core and value-added property investments. He initially joined J.P. Morgan in 1995, in its International Corporate Real Estate Group, where he was involved in the management and development of the firm's owner-occupied real estate portfolio worldwide.

Prior to 1995, Mr. Busaidy worked for CS First Boston's Principal Transactions Group in New York, providing acquisition, restructuring and disposition support to a high-yield closed-end funds invested in non-performing loans and distressed real estate assets. Mr. Busaidy received a Master of Science in Real Estate from Columbia University, and a Bachelor of Science in Land Development & Planning from the University of Miami.


Mr. Busaidy is a senior adviser to Urban Century Group, and a member of its Executive Board. He brings an exceptional depth of expertise to UCG in large scale urban real estate investment, management and capitalization. He provides portfolio management and strategic direction to the investment team and sits on the company's Investment Committee.

 
 
 
Industry Partners

Infinity Real Estate

Infinity Real Estate is a privately-owned developer, investor and manager of premier real estate in primary U.S. markets. The Company’s portfolio includes over 60 individual properties offering retail, office and hospitality space and over 1,200 luxury rental apartments. Through its affiliates and portfolio companies, Infinity has managed over 115 properties representing over 20 million square feet.

The Urban Century Group's main acquisition vehicle is Infinity Urban Century, LLC, a joint venture investment entity owned and managed by Urban Century in partnership with Infinity. The two firms' joined forces in 2007 to grow their investment activities in major US urban gateway markets and merged a few years later.

Since inception, Infinity Urban Century has invested in and or managed over $4 billion of commercial real estate properties and related entities in 12 major US metropolitan areas. The joint venture serves as an operator to Infinity’s and Urban Century's principals, providing investment execution as well as operational and management control in-house.

Infinity Urban Century has established a strong track-record as a leading owner and operator of property assets in New York and Washington, and the firm is growing its footprint on the US Eastern seaboard. Its capital is deployed and managed through single purpose vehicles jointly controlled by Urban Century and Infinity. Outside of this entity, the two firms also make controlled and non-controlled investments into select property ventures, using proprietary capital from the principals.

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Infinity Lifestyle Brands

Infinity Lifestyle Brands specializes in the acquisition and repositioning of mismanaged, underutilized or dormant consumer brands with high awareness value. The company offers its partners and investors a proven know-how in the reinvention of struggling consumer product companies and in the management and licensing of retail targeted product brands.

Infinity Lifestyle has accumulated a diverse portfolio of fashion, home, and consumer electronic brands that touch every segment of retail distribution, from the luxury market to the mass market. It licenses its brands for strategic product application to leading retailers, to its affiliates, and to third party manufacturers worldwide. Infinity Lifestyle’s active ownership culture, product savvy, and innovative thinking has generated impressive results on many high profile, non-proprietary, brand ventures such as Starter Athletic, the home products brands of the historic and iconic Pillowtex Mills Corporation, Linens & Things, Sharper Image, Polaroid and Altec Lansing to name a few. Over the past 10 years, Infinity Lifestyle has led or has actively participated in brand repositioning ventures that have generated and distributed in excess of $500 million in investor profits.

Infinity’s principals also own and operate affiliate businesses that merchandise, manufacture and distribute their products globally, spanning multiple categories and brands. Throughout their history, Infinity’s affiliate companies have developed an impressive collection of “in-house” brands, some of which have become category leaders featured domestically and abroad on the shelves of some of the world’s largest retailers. Some of our notable proprietary brands include Little Bitty™, Kid Athlete™, iLogic™, Freedom Cleaning™, Baby Wonders™ and Gourmet Club™.

Infinity Lifestyle Brands is led by a team of principals and executives that brings over 60 years of hands-on operating experience. By leveraging our experience with and intimate knowledge of consumer markets, sourcing, marketing and retailing, we are uniquely positioned to maximize the value of consumer brands and other types of intellectual property assets. Infinity Lifestyle’s people are driven by a fascination for products that engage consumers and create loyalty through branding. At the heart of our success is the ability to recognize both the intrinsic and potential value in a brand. Armed with this knowledge, we are able to invest capital, revitalize brands, restructure and operate businesses more effectively, and create long term value.

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Maefield Development

Maefield Development Corp is a diversified company focused on the acquisition and development of unique property and energy assets. It was started in the early 1990s by its founder & CEO, Mark Siffin, as a retail and residential home‐building company in the Midwest, and expanded into large‐scale land development. It completed many high‐profile projects, including large mixed‐use planned communities and multiple retail power centers in and around major Midwestern urban centers. The Company’s Indianapolis, IN-based real estate subsidiary has a long history of developing iconic projects in major US cities, and it is known for its award‐winning commercial developments in cities including San Francisco, Miami, and Los Angeles.

In addition to its property related development activity, the firm operates an oil and gas division under the name MDC Texas Energy. MDC is an independent energy exploration and production subsidiary based out of Midland, TX. The company owns oil and gas fields at the heart of the Permian Basin and is quickly becoming one of the most notable operators in West Texas’ upstream energy market. Maefield’s energy group is run by a team of proven industry executives with demonstrated success in the use of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracking technologies in the Permian Basin.

Urban Century and Maefield began collaborating in 2011 on the capitalization and development of both high-rise mixed-use properties, in New York City, and large-scale upstream energy asset assemblages, in Texas. This strategic alliance has led to the two firms’ most substantial projects to date.

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Affiliate Entities

Urban Century Capital Partners

Urban Century Energy & Commodities

Infinity Urban Century

Olam Energy Resources

Daro Management Services

EIS Recovery Strategies

Broadway Station Development

American Recovery Property Trust

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