James R. Fitzgerald
James Fitzgerald (63) is a seasoned real estate banking professional whose exemplary career has spanned more than 35 years and accounts for nearly $40 billion in financing and investing in real estate transactions. His most notable accomplishments include the development finance of 15 Central Park West, the most successful condo project in the world; the majority of the redevelopment work for Times Square in New York City including the development of the NEW YORK TIMES headquarters; the launch of development finance for downtown Brooklyn through the support of Forest City Ratner a publically traded development company primarily responsible for the new Brooklyn including Atlantic Yards among many other projects across the U.S.
In addition to his role as Chairman of the Credit Committee of CREF, Mr. Fitzgerald is a Co-Managing Member of Heritage Strategies LLC (http://heritagestrategies-llc.com), one of the most prominent estate planning and business continuity firms in America. He is also Co-Managing Member of Heritage Solutions LLC, its private equity affiliate that has invested in a number of businesses including the real estate and beverage industries, among others.
His lending and investing skills were developed during his seven year tenure at Chase Bank in the 70’s where he became a senior executive within the Asset Restructuring and Recovery Group ultimately managing the most complicated workouts and earning in 1977 The David Rockefeller Award for outstanding financial performance. (An honor earned by no more than 10 people out of the 40,000 employed at Chase.) In the early 80’s James was recruited by the former Chairman of Chase Trust (Joshua Muss) to assume the Presidency of Washington D.C based Drake Real Estate the first privately held firm identified to assist the federal government in resolving the S&L crisis in America.
Upon returning to New York in 1992, Mr. Fitzgerald joined one of Europe's leading commercial banks, Credit Lyonnais, to establish and build a U.S. real estate investment banking practice. Under his leadership, the bank concluded nearly $15 Billion in debt and equity transactions during his 13 year tenure.
In 2004, he managed the real estate practice for HSH-Nordbank, a German commercial bank ranked as an international leader in Shipping, Real Estate, Aviation, and Energy Finance. Within 4 short years, his group concluded $15 Billion in debt and equity transactions. In addition to portfolio lending, Mr. Fitzgerald started other businesses at HSH Nordbank.
He organized New York Credit, a $100 million debt fund that included HSH Nordbank, New York Life and Cushman & Wakefield as members. Mr. Fitzgerald, as founder, sat on the fund’s Investment Committee. In addition, he started the Small Loan Program at HSH Nordbank. That program’s mandate was to purchase assignments in small commercial real estate loans issued by community banks; to bundle them up and to securitize that loan portfolio; one of the potential exit strategies for longer term loans issued by CREF. Mr. Fitzgerald was also the founder and Vice Chairman of a Bermuda based insurance company, wholly owned by HSH-Nordbank.
Mr. Fitzgerald holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from St. John's University.