The professionals at Guggenheim Retail Real Estate Partners have vast experience with numerous retail companies. Those experiences perpetuate an acute understanding of the sound fundamentals needed to aggressively grow a retail company through new store openings, as well as the reliance retailers place in their growth partners.
Kelly Van Meter is a Senior Managing Director for Guggenheim Partners, Chairman of Guggenheim Retail Real Estate Partners. Kelly has been active in the commercial real estate market for the past 27 years. During this time, he has gained experience in virtually all aspects of the real estate industry including acquisition, disposition, financing (equity and debt), development and management of real estate assets.
Kelly currently serves as Business Leader of Guggenheim’s Financial Structuring Group which is responsible for designing, structuring, and executing capital markets transactions for Guggenheim Partners and its clients.
Prior to joining Guggenheim Partners in 2001, Kelly served as a Senior Vice President at GE Capital Real Estate and GE Capital’s Capital Markets Services business units, Kelly was primarily responsible for designing, structuring and executing nearly $8 billion of structured finance transactions which included accounting, tax, legal and regulatory compliance. Kelly was also responsible for building GE Capital Real Estate’s private placement business. Kelly has extensive management and finance experience through his responsibilities at GE Capital. Prior to joining GE Capital, Kelly was a Managing Director in the Real Estate Group of the Chase Manhattan Bank, and Vice President in the Real Estate Investment Banking Division of Merrill Lynch.
Kelly is an active member of ICSC, received an MBA in Finance, Investment & Banking from the University of Wisconsin, and a BBA in Finance & Management from Iowa State University.
Kelly can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Bob Strandt, Senior Managing Director at Guggenheim Partners, has managed the daily operations of Guggenheim Retail Real Estate Partners since 2006 and serves as President.
Prior to joining Guggenheim Partners in 2006, Bob served as the Senior Vice President of Development for Extra Space Storage, where he was responsible for the growth of Extra Space’s portfolio. Extra Space grew from 68 properties to over 550 facilities nationwide during his time with Extra Space. Bob was a vital contributor in Extra Space’s successful IPO in August of 2004 and remains a stockholder. Extra Space currently trades as a REIT on the NYSE under the symbol EXR.
Bob started his career on the corporate side of retail real estate for the 14 years prior to joining Extra Space. The majority of Bob’s experience was in the real estate acquisition and development of grocery and drug stores. Bob spent nine years with American Stores Company where he rose to Vice President of Real Estate and was a key contributor to American Stores’ aggressive $1.3 billion growth program which produced over 120 new grocery and drug stores annually nationwide under the flagship banners of Jewel/Osco, Lucky’s, and Acme Food Stores and Osco and Sav-On Drugstores. At the time of American Stores’ merger with Albertsons in 1999, American Stores was both the second largest grocer and the second largest drug store company in the United States.
Bob has 29 years of experience in retail real estate with a core expertise in the management of large corporate growth programs. Bob’s retail experience and perspective ranges from the internal corporate officer side to roles serving as an external service provider.
Bob is an active member of ICSC and holds a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Illinois.
Bob can be reached at: Robert.Strandt@guggenheimpartners.com
Chief Operating Officer
Ali Laureda, Senior Managing Director at Guggenheim Partners and COO at Guggenheim Retail Real Estate Partners, oversees several aspects of the daily operations of GRREP including property underwriting, third party financing facilities and property disposition. Ali has extensive experience in property and loan underwriting, risk management, and managing real estate lending and business processes.
Prior to joining Guggenheim Partners in late 2005, Ali spent 10 years at GE Capital Real Estate where she lastly served as Vice President of the Global Valuation Team overseeing GE Real Estate’s property and loan underwriting in connection with Large Loan Acquisitions, REIT Acquisitions and Equity and Debt Placements. Transactions underwritten totaled over $15 billion in value across all property types. During her tenure there, Ali was also involved in CMBS BBB bond purchases, Large Loan Syndications and Performing and Non-Performing Loan Portfolio dispositions.
Before joining GE Capital, Ali was a Manager in the Management Advisory Services Group of Ernst & Young Kenneth Leventhal Real Estate Group. During her tenure there, she provided real estate consulting services related to numerous asset and loan portfolio valuations and dispositions, debt securitizations, bankruptcies, project feasibility and diagnostic reviews for all commercial property types.
Ali is an active member of ICSC, a board member of the Steers Center for Global Real Estate of the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University, and holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Georgetown University.
Ali Laureda can be reached at: Ali.laureda@GuggenheimPartners.com
Senior Vice President of Real Estate
David Cassman, Senior Vice President of Real Estate at Guggenheim Retail Real Estate Partners, manages all real estate activities for the firm across the United States. Dave has extensive experience in corporate retailer growth programs and retail property development.
Dave has over 30 years of experience in the real estate development business primarily developing big box commercial retail stores. Before joining Guggenheim Partners in 2017, Dave served as Vice President of Development for The Retail Connection with direct responsibility for new retail development projects throughout the southwest.
Dave Cassman began his career with Wal-Mart Stores in the legal and real estate departments working on the financing and building of new stores in the Midwest and Southwest. He then moved on to Target Stores where he developed numerous stores across the nation including many stores in California, Florida, Michigan, New York and Ohio. He also led the real estate efforts for Home Depot overseeing their real estate program for the western half of the United States.
Dave is an active member if ICSC and holds an MBA/JD from the University of Arkansas, an LL.M. from William Mitchell College of Law (Mitchell Hamline School of Law), and is a member of the Minnesota Bar.
Dave Cassman can be reached at: Dave.Cassman@GuggenheimPartners.com
Senior Vice President of Development and Construction
Ray Parker, Senior Vice President of Development and Construction at Guggenheim Retail Real Estate Partners, manages all development and construction activities for the firm across the United States. Ray has over 30 years of experience in retail development and construction as an owner’s representative, as a developer and as a general contractor.
Prior to joining Guggenheim Partners in 2011, Ray served as Senior Project Manager for White-Spunner Construction overseeing construction projects ranging from $100 mm Auburn University Student Housing Project to various big box retail projects
Prior to White-Spunner, Ray served as the Construction Manager for Endeavor Real Estate Group’s Dallas office (now Edge Realty Partners). Ray managed all construction-related activities and budgeting for new retail developments. These ranged from multi-tenant shopping centers to single big box developments.
Ray spent over eight years as a Senior Project Manager with The Home Depot working out of the Southwest Division offices. During this time he completed over 60 new Home Depot developments and numerous special projects. Ray oversaw the expansion and remodel program as well as the roll out of new business units that Home Depot was exploring at the time. Ray was recognized in 2005 as one of the “Top Fifty” outstanding associates at Home Depot.
Ray had developed and constructed retail real estate projects for over 15 years before joining Home Depot in 1998. He led programs for Food Concepts International, and managed high-end department store construction and remodels for The May Company, Federal Department Stores and Neiman Marcus.
Ray holds a Bachelors Degree in Construction Management from the University of West Florida. Ray is an active member of ICSC, is a licensed certified general contractor in FL, TN, AL, MS and LA, and the Commander of the American Legion Post #321 in Plano, TX.
Ray Parker can be reached at email@example.com
Senior Vice President and General Counsel
Travis E. Schwaer is Senior Vice President and General Counsel for Guggenheim Retail Real Estate Partners and oversees all legal functions and activities for the firm across the United States. Travis has extensive experience acting as both in-house counsel and outside counsel for real estate and finance companies. During his career, he has focused exclusively on representing real estate developers, financial institutions, corporate conglomerates, lenders, landlords, tenants and special servicers in the acquisition, financing, development, leasing and disposition of real estate and in the consummation of other complex commercial transactions.
Prior to joining Guggenheim, Travis was Corporate Counsel and Director for Red Capital Group and in-house legal counsel for ORIX USA Corporation where he supported a sixty member commercial real estate finance and investment team focusing on real estate lending, CMBS and debt securities investments, real estate equity investments, acquisitions and development, capital markets activities and special servicing /asset management. This experience culminated in Travis acting as lead counsel for a portfolio real estate and finance transaction valued at approximately $1.6 billion.
Prior to his work as an in-house attorney, Travis worked for three law firms where he focused on the representation of real estate developers, investors and lenders and closed approximately $900 million in real estate and finance transactions.
Travis received his Doctor of Jurisprudence and Master of Business Administration degrees from Texas Tech University and his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Texas A&M University.
Travis Schwaer can be reached at: Travis.Schwaer@GuggenheimPartners.com
Senior Vice President Finance and Accounting
V. Chase McCrea III, has served as Guggenheim Retail Real Estate Partners’ Senior Vice President of Finance and Accounting since May 2018. Chase’s responsibilities include oversight of the company's daily finance and accounting operations including, but not limited to, securing equity and debt financing for development projects, managing corporate forecasting and planning along with the supervision of the preparation monthly financial reports.
Prior to joining Guggenheim Partners in 2018, Chase served for five years, since his appointment in 2013, as the Chief Financial Officer of Beck Ventures, a privately owned venture capital firm whose primary holdings were real estate, banking and oil & gas; he simultaneously served as the Chief Financial Officer of CornerWorld Corporation, a publicly traded affiliated entity of Beck Ventures dating to September 2009.
Chase is a CPA with over 25 years of experience working with and for public companies serving in a variety of capacities. Until July 2009, Chase had served as the Interim Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Finance of Home Solutions of America, Inc., a publicly traded construction concern. Prior to that, he worked as the Director of Finance for Penson Worldwide, Inc., an international securities clearing firm and also as a Manager of SEC Reporting for chemical giant Celanese. Prior to 2005, Chase had served as the Director of SEC Reporting for technology company DG Systems (the predecessor company to DG/FastChannel, Inc.) as well as serving as the Director of Finance for approximately five years for a venture capital owned telecommunications provider. Chase’s experience includes over eight years working for Big Four accounting firms, where he attained the level of assurance manager.
Chase holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Accounting from the University of Southern California.
Chase can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Executive Vice President of Business Development
James Kainer is the Executive Vice President at Guggenheim Retail Real Estate Partners, responsible for new business development efforts. Prior to his current role, James was EVP of Development and Construction, responsible for management of construction and entitlements for all development projects. James has extensive experience in managing large growth programs for retailers and a successful track record in large growth programs in many retail sectors.
Prior to joining Guggenheim Partners in 2007, James served as Vice President of Construction for Whole Foods Market in Austin, TX where he was responsible for all new store development for Whole Foods stores in the US and the United Kingdom. Whole Foods’ growth program during his tenure was between 30 and 35 store per year at an average of $18M per project. He developed real estate for 16 years prior to joining Whole Foods.
James is an active member of ICSC and holds a Bachelors degree in Business Management from the University of Houston.
James can be reached at: James.Kainer@guggenheimpartners.com
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