Team

Charles Laven

President

Charles Laven has over 40 years of experience providing financial advisory and consulting services to housing finance agencies, mortgage and investment banking firms, developers, foundations and not-for-profit organizations. Prior to founding Forsyth Street, he spent 12 years as a partner at Hamilton, Rabinovitz & Alschuler, Inc. (HR&A), a New York-based consulting firm. Before joining HR&A, he was with the firm of Caine Gressel Midgley Slater, where he assisted in municipal bond financings for state and local issuers and provided real estate advisory services to banks, government and foundations. In the 1970s and early 1980s, Mr. Laven was Founder of and Executive Director of the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board, a New York City-based non-profit organization responsible for the rehabilitation of abandoned buildings and their conversion to cooperative ownership. Mr. Laven has been a member of the faculty of Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation since 1981. From 1986-1993, Mr. Laven directed the Master of Science in Real Estate Development program and is currently an Adjunct Professor of Real Estate. Mr. Laven is a director or trustee of several organizations, including Gramercy Property Trust, a publicly traded real estate investment trust, the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board and the Citizens Housing Planning Council, a New York City housing policy organization. He has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Architectural Design from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was a Loeb Fellow at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.


Peter Beck

Managing Director

Peter Beck has over 15 years of experience in real estate finance and development consulting. Since 2003 he has been Vice President at Forsyth Street. Mr. Beck works with the firm’s real estate and affordable housing practice, where he advises private and not-for-profit landlords and developers on the construction, rehabilitation, and financing housing using tax-exempt bonds, tax credits, project-based Section 8 subsidy, and other forms of governmental assistance. He has been involved in structuring over a dozen Low Income Housing Tax Credit transactions, together representing over $500 million in total development cost. Mr. Beck has also advised clients on financing student housing, military housing, non-profit community facilities and mixed-income “80/20” developments, and has provided assistance to developers in obtaining zoning approvals for large scale residential development. Mr. Beck’s experience at Forsyth Street also includes financing real estate projects through the capital markets. He has provided underwriting, financial analysis and due diligence support for financial institutions on projects financed through tax-increment finance (TIF) bonds and other forms of structured finance. Prior to joining Forsyth Street, Mr. Beck spent 5 years as a financial and management consultant with Hamilton, Rabinovitz & Alschuler, Inc., specializing in public-private development and affordable housing. Mr. Beck has a Master’s degree in Urban Planning from Columbia University, and a Bachelor’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Chuck Brass

Partner

Charles Brass has more than 30 years’ experience in housing development and finance. At Forsyth Street, Mr. Brass provides consulting services to both for-profit and not-for-profit developers seeking to develop affordable and mixed income housing. Prior to joining Forsyth Street in 2009, he was Executive VP for development at Atlantic Development Group, where he brought 2,000 units and several hundred thousand square feet of commercial and community space to construction. From 2003-06 Mr. Brass served as Senior VP for CPC Resources developing and preserving affordable housing properties in New York City and State. For most of the prior two decades, Mr. Brass held various positions at the New York City Housing Development Corporation, including president from 2002-03, where he created many of the HDC Programs that comprise the City’s New Market Housing Place Plan. During his tenure, he was responsible for designing and implementing various financing programs that have resulted in the creation of more than 20,000 units of affordable housing. Mr. Brass worked at the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development from 1981-84 where he worked in both of its Policy/Intergovernmental Relations and Development divisions. He was a member of the Board of the National Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies from 1988-2003 and President of NALHFA from 1993-96. He currently serves on the Executive Board of the New York Housing Conference and the New York State Association for Affordable Housing as well as the Settlement Housing Fund. He is a graduate of SUNY at Binghamton and holds a Masters of Arts in History from UNC Chapel Hill where he also completed all his required class work for a Masters in Regional Planning.


Amy Chandra

Senior Financial Associate

Amy Chandra joined Forsyth Street in July 2011. Her responsibilities include working with the firm’s complex microfinance program and assisting developers with underwriting, financial analysis, and due diligence for the rehabilitation and new construction of affordable housing. She also provides qualitative and quantitative analyses on the firm’s renewable energy and fund management projects. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Wesleyan University.


A. Fleming

Systems Administrator

A. joined Forsyth Street in 2014, is responsible for the management and maintenance of the firm’s information technology systems, and has a bachelor’s degree in Visual Art and Philosophy from Sarah Lawrence College.


Michael Freedman-Schnapp

Vice President

Michael Freedman-Schnapp joined Forsyth Street in 2015. He works in all of the firm’s practice areas, with particular emphasis on advising clients in the areas of impact investment, community development, and clean energy finance. Michael specializes in guiding clients through establishing new impact investment programs, leading neighborhood and site planning exercises, policy and data analyses, and project underwriting. Prior to Forsyth, Michael served the New York City Council for five years, most recently as the Director of the Policy & Innovation Division. In this position, he directed the expansion of Participatory Budgeting to over half of New York City, the compilation of the Council’s platform to combat climate change, and the drafting of landmark legislation reforming the Council’s rules to make the body more democratic, effective, and transparent. Prior to that, he served as Director of Policy of the Office of Council Member Brad Lander, a nationally-recognized housing policy expert. Michael is a Visiting Assistant Professor at the Pratt Institute’s Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment and an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. Michael holds a Master of Urban Planning from the NYU Wagner School and a B.A. in Archaeology from the University of Virginia..


Aileen Gribbin

Partner

Aileen Gribbin, a Partner at Forsyth since 2007, has over 20 years of experience in the affordable housing and community development field, including positions with government agencies, not-for-profit development organizations and the nation’s first affordable housing REIT. Since joining Forsyth, she has been a development and financial advisor on over $1 billion in affordable housing development and preservation transactions for a broad range of both for-profit and not-for-profit clients. Prior to joining Forsyth, she was an Associate Commissioner with the NYC Department of Housing, Preservation & Development where she was responsible for the executive management of the agency’s Division of Housing Finance. Aileen has a Master of Business Administration degree in Finance from the New York University Stern School of Business, a Master of Urban Planning degree in Housing Policy from Hunter College of the City University of New York and a Bachelor of Science degree in Resource Economics from Cornell University. Ms. Gribbin is currently on the Board of Citizen’s Housing and Planning Council, Sustainable South Bronx, the Eastern Environmental Law Center and the Local Farms Fund.


Brian Halusan

Senior Associate

Brian has 9 years of real estate experience and 4 years of experience in affordable housing. His primary role is to assist developers with underwriting, financial analysis, and due diligence for the rehabilitation and new construction of affordable housing. Prior to joining Forsyth, Mr. Halusan was a Deputy Director with the NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development (HPD), where he was responsible the Participation Loan Program (PLP) and preserved over 1,200 units, representing more than $279MM in total development cost. Brian has a Master’s degree in Real Estate Development from New York University Schack Institute of Real Estate and a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from the University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management.


Kevan Hayat

Vice President

Kevan joined Forsyth Street in 2017. He works with in the firm’s affordable housing practice, specializing in tax credit financing, HUD loans and subsidies, RAD conversions, and public-private partnerships. Prior to Forsyth Street, he worked at the New York City Housing Authority as a Senior Project Manager for Underwriting and Asset Management and a Real Estate and Economic Development Attorney. In these roles, he closed new construction and preservation tax credit transactions totaling over 2,700 units, including New York City’s first public housing RAD conversion. He received a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Colgate University. He is admitted to the New York State Bar and is a member of the New York City Bar Association’s Housing and Urban Development Committee.


Elyssa Jaffe

Senior Associate

Elyssa joined Forsyth Street in 2010. She works primarily in the firm’s Asset Management division; particular concentrations include assistance in the administration of Funds that finance property acquisitions in New York City and Los Angeles and the management of the firm’s Renewable Energy partnerships. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business from the University of Michigan and a Masters of Business Administration from Pace University. Her background includes finance and research experience at several finance-oriented firms, including the Palladin Group, a multi-strategy hedge fund, and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) in the debt analysis and placement department.


Marc Jahr

Senior Advisor

Marc Jahr has more than 30 years of experience in the fields of community development and affordable housing finance. Before joining Forsyth, Mr. Jahr was the principal of the Community Development Futures, LLC, a consultant firm providing community development and affordable housing finance advisory services that works closely with Forsyth Street. Previously, Mr. Jahr served as President of the New York City Housing Development Corporation (“HDC”) from 2008-2013. During that time, he oversaw the provision of more than $6.6 billion in financing for 214 developments comprised of 80,904 units of affordable rental housing. Prior to joining HDC, Mr. Jahr was Citi Community Capital’s New York Metropolitan Area Market Director where he supervised its community development real estate lending group. Under his leadership, from 2002-2007, his group originated over $2.2 billion in loans and letters of credit. Mr. Jahr also held various senior positions at Local Initiatives Support Corporation including New York Equity Fund Manager, New York City Program Director and Program Vice President. He served in several positions at the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, including Director of its Multi-Family Housing Unit, and Deputy Director of HPD’s Small Homes Unit. Mr. Jahr began his career in community development as a VISTA volunteer in Scranton, PA and Shungnak, AK. He is a graduate of the New School College.


Magdalena Lesniakiewicz

Office Manager

Magdalena Lesniakiewicz joined Forsyth Street in 2014 after living in London for over two years.  Her responsibilities include office management and administration of the firm finances including administrative support to the firm’s President.  While in London, Magdalena managed the administrative operations of a multi-office international corporation. She studied law at Jagiellonian University in Cracow.


Julijs Liepins

Vice President

Julijs Liepins joined Forsyth Street in 2007. He works with the firm’s not-for-profit, philanthropic and governmental clients, helping them to structure and implement innovative financing programs that support community sustainability. These programs have been critical components of clients’ strategies for creating affordable housing, stabilizing distressed neighborhoods, encouraging energy efficiency and generating wealth in low-income areas. He has also worked extensively with the United Nations Development Corporation to structure financing for a new, billion-dollar building that would become a part of the United Nations headquarters campus in Manhattan. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Mathematics from Amherst College.


Richard Martoglio

Associate

Richard joined Forsyth Street in 2017. He works within the firm’s affordable housing practice, where he assists owners and developers with underwriting, financial analysis, and due diligence for the rehabilitation and new construction of affordable housing. Prior to joining Forsyth Street, Richard worked with RPM Development Group, a leading developer of affordable housing in New Jersey. At RPM, his work included locating development opportunities, securing financing, and navigating regulatory processes for a range of historic rehabilitation, mixed-income, and mixed-use projects. He holds a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning from Columbia University and graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Science from the University of Colorado.


Esther Sandrof

Partner

Esther Sandrof, a co-founder and Partner at Forsyth Street has over 25 years of experience in the real estate finance industry working with a wide variety of public and private clients. She participates in Forsyth Street’s work as financial advisor to developers, financial institutions, philanthropies and government entities in development of innovative financing strategies for residential, commercial and cultural projects oriented toward achieving social impacts. In the last few years, she has structured financing transactions with an aggregate value of excess of $350 million. Recently Ms. Sandrof has been engaged to assist in the development of a new joint asset management entity to preserve and expand New York City’s stock of non-profit-owned affordable housing. She is also working on an initiative to attract new sources of financing to stimulate the creation of an affordable multifamily housing industry in Israel. She participated in the creation of Spaceworks, a non-profit organization dedicated to expanding the supply of long-term, stable and affordable workspace for arts practitioners in New York City. She also participated in the development of several innovative housing finance initiatives including the New York City Acquisition Fund and the National Community Stabilization Trust. Previously, as Director at Hamilton, Rabinovitz & Alschuler, Inc., she developed and implemented financing programs and for urban revitalization projects in New York City, Baltimore, Chicago, Newark, Hartford, New Haven and other cities. In addition she provided consulting services to philanthropies, governmental entities and developers in the development and implementation of impact financing tools. She has a Bachelor’s degree in History and Art History from Rutgers College and a Master’s degree in Real Estate Development from Columbia University.


Brian Segel

Senior Vice President

Brian Segel, a Vice President at Forsyth Street, has over 25 years of experience in housing, commercial, and community development finance. Brian currently manages funds which lend on property acquisitions for affordable housing production and preservation in New York City and Los Angeles. He also assists on funds that help reposition vacant, abandoned, and foreclosed properties in other urban locations. Previously, Brian held managerial positions at the New York State Housing Finance Agency; HSBC Bank; Low Income Investment Fund; National Equity Fund; and MetLife, where he led teams of lenders and equity investors focused on affordable housing and community development transactions. He began his career as a business lender with City and State economic development agencies in New York. Brian currently serves on the boards of New Partners for Community Revitalization and the Supportive Housing Network of New York. He received master’s degrees from Harvard University and the London School of Economics, and a bachelor of arts from Oberlin College.


Evan Seiler

Vice President

Evan has more than 12 years of real estate and finance experience in both the private and public sectors. At Forsyth, Evan primarily focuses on the management of existing affordable housing funds and assisting in the implementation of new funds. Evan joined Forsyth after five years with the NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development (HPD) where he was most recently Executive Director of Recovery and Resiliency Operations. This role involved supervising the operations of HPD’s storm recovery efforts across new home construction, acquisition, and multi-family repair programs with a focus on ways these programs could support NYC’s broader resiliency efforts. In prior roles at HPD he worked to develop and implement affordable housing programs targeting neighborhoods most affected by the 2008 economic recession and he served as a member of a credit committee approving homebuyer assistance loans. Earlier in his career he was a Vice President with the Bank of New York where he performed investment research and macroeconomic analysis on behalf of institutional clients in New York and London. Evan has a Master’s degree in Urban Planning from The NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and a Bachelor’s degree in International Business and Finance from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business.


Olivia Speck

Associate

Olivia joined Forsyth Street in 2017. She works primarily in the firm’s financial advisory division, working with philanthropic and governmental clients to implement financial programs and structures that support the preservation and development of affordable housing. Prior to Forsyth Street, Olivia worked for two years as an investment banking analyst in Cowen and Company’s technology group. She received her B.B.A. in Finance from Southern Methodist University.