Chief Transactions Officer (AEDC)
|Category:||Financial : Real Estate|
Position Chief Transactions Officer (CXO)
Company Austin Economic Development Corporation
Location Austin, Texas
Reporting Relationship Veronica Briseño, Interim President and CEO of the Austin Economic Development Corporation
The City of Austin is the fastest growing city in the United States and perhaps one of the best-known cities in the world. From its playful and unconventional culture to its distinctive multi-cultural Texas identity, Austin is iconic. The city government is known for its high level of service and public transparency. It has policy priorities around environmental sustainability, parks and recreation, technology, music, affordability, cultural arts, and diversity, equity and inclusion.
Known as the” City of Music” and host of South by Southwest, Austin is one of the most creative cities in the world. That status along with an attractive quality of life and a powerfully effective economic development department (“EDD”) have led to numerous corporate attraction and retention successes – Dell, Tesla, Apple and many more. Corporate attraction as a body of work is led in a partnership with EDD and Austin’s Chamber of Commerce in a program called Opportunity Austin.
But this economic success has come at a price – driving prices up for residents as well as smaller iconic businesses, music venues, cultural arts providers. As in many other parts of the country, the very features that caused the initial growth and made the city desirable are being priced out of their own city. That growth is also causing new problems of gentrification in historically minority areas and a growing need for affordable housing at all levels. The city is a Council/Manager form of government and deal making has traditionally gone individually to the council for approval.
Beginning in 2019 the Council decided it needed a structural change. They spent time examining best practices across the nation. There were two goals: successfully mange an increased pace of deal-making and maximize policy for inclusive and equitable growth that included all citizens and businesses of Austin. In August 2020, the Austin City Council created the Austin Economic Development Corporation (“AEDC”).
While called an economic development corporation, the AEDC is more akin to a public development corporation – a real estate developer acting in the public interest. AEDC will use publicly owned land as a capital resource – deriving new revenues from that land through public/private and public/public partnerships. Those new revenues allow for more government resources without additional taxes being levied. The creation of AEDC also has several other advantages: responding to deals at the “pace of the market”, speeding approvals for certain targeted public initiatives, reducing the burdens of government with new funding sources, owning and operating real estate to generate cash for operations, accepting private investment dollars, accepting charitable donations.
Similar to NYC Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC) and InvestAtlanta, the AEDC is a management structure covering multiple entities. AEDC includes a local government corporation (“AEDC”) that has a 501c3 status and also manages the Austin Industrial Development Corporation, a conduit revenue bond issuer. Further entities within the City are being explored for management, including a qualified NMTC development entity.
AEDC will enter into an annual contract with the City to pursue four activities: real estate transaction support, public lease administration, public real estate development and service contracts with the City of Austin. This contract is anticipated to focus on the City of Austin’s commitment to environmental sustainability, technological innovation, government transparency and strong commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in all projects which are undertaken.
This newly created entity will grow quickly as the city expands its efforts to promote inclusive growth in the City of Austin through the development of publicly owned land and buildings and the management of public/private transactions and districts.
AEDC has been provided seed funding for its first three years by the City of Austin. It is anticipated that a successfully run AEDC will generate its own funding beginning in year two. AEDC’s first two major projects are underway and being managed by consultants and partly allocated City staff. The AEDC is seeking to immediately identify and hire qualified candidates to lead these projects. The first project is the South Central Waterfront, a 118 district just south of downtown that is anticipated to be rezoned and require the management of up to $250M of public investment in horizontal development, green infrastructure, streetscape, public trails and open space, waterfront access, affordable housing and integration with the newly funded light rail stations. The second project is the Cultural Trust, an effort to fund culture and music venues across the City through public acquisition and management of a network of small, medium and large permanently affordable music and cultural venues under the AEDC’s asset management arm (but run by the venue operators themselves). The AEDC consultants are currently working through a potential pipeline of City owned sites to identify the next projects.
Major Project Areas include:
• South Central Waterfront
• Huston-Tillotson District Planning
• Cultural Trust
• International Investment Fund
Ongoing City-Wide Projects
• Transaction support on P3 negotiations
• Public Owned Sites Pipeline
• Support of Affordable Housing
• Support of childcare & early childhood education
Ongoing City-Wide Projects (cont.)
• Support of inclusive growth around TODs
• Asset Management on public owned sites
• Support of Homelessness
• District (and emerging PID) support
• Colony Park, St. John’s/Home Depot, Health South,Justin TOD
The Austin Economic Development Corporation (AEDC) was created to advance partnerships within the community that secure equitable and inclusive development for all austinites. Therefore, it is critical to the mission and essential to day-to-day operations for representatives of the organization to lend their own unique, lived-experiences while embracing, celebrating, and encouraging the lived-experiences of others in the shared pursuit of diversity, equity and inclusion. Leadership of AEDC seeks to go beyond being an affirmative action and equal opportunity employer by creating a team and workplace as open and inspiring as the outcomes the organization seeks to achieve for an inclusive Austin of the future.
The Chief Transactions Officer (CXO) will be a member of the Senior Management Team (CEO, COO and CFO) of the AEDC and will lead in the strategy, development of and the execution of AEDC’s overall real estate development and transactions. This will include AEDC’s current and future deal-making including City transaction support, leasing transactions, acquisitions, dispositions, public developer deals and financings (both conduit and real property based)..
- Serve as the lead strategist for the AEDC in creating value for the AEDC and City of Austin through real estate and development transactions, including acquisition and disposition of property, leasing transactions, including Public-Public and Public-Private
- Partnership relationships for the development of districts or individual properties to advance the City’s goals for equitable economic development.
- Lead, create, hire, mentor and direct the transaction teams, including identification, recruitment and development of members of the team at AEDC.
- Lead development visioning and scoping processes to create timely and cost-effective solutions
- Implement development and asset management plans for each asset to optimize a return on investment that includes financial returns to AEDC and the City’s inclusive economic development policy goals such as job creation, affordable housing preservation and production, cultural preservation and development, and enhancement of City tax revenues.
- Manage development activities to create optimal plans that can succeed in current market conditions and advance the City’s values for diversity, inclusion, innovation and sustainability.
- Manage the value creation process by working with partners, and together, assess market opportunities with land resources, project conceptualization, design management, construction activities, leasing, and operations of the AEDC
- Provide strategic direction for and execution of value generation activities by providing leadership and resources to interface with JV partners’ leasing teams, 3rd party brokers, and potential tenants
- Oversee lease transactions, renewals and negotiations on a portfolio-wide basis
- Recommend creative and innovative opportunities for expansion through new business development partnerships as a market expert in the region
- Accountable for leading joint venture relationships under AEDC’s existing and future acquisition and development sites and properties.
- Direct the analysis of the market trends which may lead to strategic opportunities for the AEDC.
- Directly call on and develop relationships with owners, brokers and other critical industry contacts.
- Serve as the “face” of AEDC within many industry groups.
YEAR ONE CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTORS
- Successfully close on one or many Cultural Trust transactions leading to the establishment of permanently affordable cultural and/or music space in the City of Austin under AEDC’s asset management
- Successfully negotiate a Term Sheet with any existing private development deals pending in the South Central waterfront
- Successfully negotiate a Term Sheet with any existing counter-parties for the Huston Tillotson University
- Managing People – when it becomes applicable, includes staff planning, hiring, leading, decision-making, facilitating and process improvement; weekly responsibility for subordinates' activities; fosters a diverse and inclusive work culture, makes self-available to staff; provides regular performance feedback; develops subordinates' skills and encourages growth; makes compensation recommendations; solicits and applies stakeholder feedback (internal and external); fosters quality focus in others; improves processes, products and services; continually works to improve supervisory skills.
- Communication - Maintains excellent direct dialog with public stakeholders, the communities in which AEDC operates, and all members of the AEDC team.
- Multiple Bottom-Line Focus - Understands both business and policy implications of decisions; aligns work with strategic goals.
- Cost Consciousness - Works within approved budget; develops and implements cost saving measures; maximizes the public impact of scarce organizational resources.
- Judgement - Displays willingness to make decisions; exhibits sound and accurate judgment; supports and explains reasoning for decisions; includes appropriate people in decision-making process; makes timely decisions.
- Quality - Demonstrates accuracy and thoroughness; looks for ways to improve and promote quality; applies feedback to improve performance; monitors own work to ensure quality.
The Chief Transactions (x) Officer will be an experienced institutional real estate professional with capabilities deploying capital, developing and managing joint venture partnerships, and providing vision and excitement for the projects available for development through the AEDC. The candidate must possess a combination of institutional sophistication and entrepreneurial orientation. The person could come from another Economic Development Corporation, a CRE services company with strong Public/Private Partnership (P3) experience, a real estate private equity firm, or another institutional operator.
- Minimum of 10, and preference for a minimum of 10 to 15 years of experience in originating and structuring real estate development transactions with a focus on private/public partnerships (P3) and leading and managing an investments team.
- This individual needs to have significant large-scale experience at structuring multiple public/private transactions of $200M across multiple cities, and experience with 10 or more transactions of that size.
- He/she should be familiar with tax credits, tax-exempt bonds, NMTC, ground leases, residual land value and best practices in public sector real property acquisition and disposition.
- This position will require a Texas Broker’s license to be acquired
- He/she needs to have the proven ability to manage 20 to 30 potential deals at the same time, given appropriate staff and legal support.
- He/she needs a sophisticated understanding of finance, strong modeling skills, and must have experience with structures of all types, including strong proven persuasive capability in moving governments to engage in structures that are unfamiliar.
- Ability to function as a player / coach and build and lead a growing team.
- Passionate about the impact and outcomes of their work, and particularly its ability to positively impact the City’s priorities of diversity, inclusion, innovation and sustainability.
- Ideally to include experience in formation of investment vehicles utilized in commercial real estate and capital allocation.
- Strong standing and relationships in the commercial real estate industry.
- Strong understanding of transaction strategies and risk management.
- Strong analytical and problem-solving skills.
- High interest in and enthusiastic about economic and real estate market trends.
- Strong interpersonal skills with a demonstrated ability to work with multiple stakeholders.
- Ability to effectively communicate complex issues both verbally and in writing to senior management and public stakeholders including elected officials.
- Experience working across the full timeline of a public/private and/or public/public deal including initial review, underwriting, internal approvals, budgetary approvals, due diligence, public approvals, negotiating and structuring financing, closing, development and asset management.
- Highly self-motivated with the ability to work effectively independently and within a fast-paced, team environment.
- Highly organized and skilled at prioritization and time management.
- Results driven.
- Exceptional attention to detail and accuracy in performance.
- Adaptable, able to quickly respond to changing conditions and requirements without missing a beat.
- Effective problem-solver, able to quickly assess a situation and provide new, creative solutions.
- A bachelor’s degree is required; an advanced degree and/or applicable certifications are a plus.