Reina Gattuso, a reporter for The Harvard Crimson, recently sat down with Andrew Farkas to discuss the new Farkas Hall. After a recent donation to Harvard University, the New College Theater is being renamed Farkas Hall. He originally suggested the theater be renamed The Farkatorium, but the University decided against it.
Andrew Farkas graduated from Harvard University in 1982 and is now CEO of Island Capital Group and C-III Capital Partners. As an undergraduate, he served as president of the Hasty Pudding Club, which was founded in 1770 and is the oldest college social club in the United States. The Club is also the third-oldest theatrical organization in the world and five U.S. presidents were members.
While he was the undergraduate president of the Pudding, it was in serious financial trouble. To raise money and save the Club, he hosted a gala. Andrew Farkas recounts, “I got the Copley Plaza Hotel to give me 900 bottles of champagne for a very, very cheap price. Then I sold tickets, basically door-to-door, for a gala in honor of the Hasty Pudding.” The gala brought in about $35,000, which covered the Club’s budget for a whole year.
C-III Capital Partners LLC (C-III) announced today that it has acquired two affiliated multifamily property management businesses – U.S. Residential Group (USRG), based in Carrollton, Texas, and Pacific West Management (PWM), based in Irvine, CA. Together, USRG and PWM currently manage approximately 24,000 multifamily units located in 12 states. In connection with the acquisitions, the operations of USRG and PWM have been combined and will operate as a subsidiary of C-III under the U.S. Residential Group name, and the company will continue to operate under the leadership of its current management team headed by Alan R. Fenstermacher.
C-III commenced operations with the purchase of Centerline Capital Group’s institutional real estate debt fund management and commercial mortgage loan servicing businesses in March 2010. Since that time, C-III has successfully launched mortgage origination, investment sales and title insurance businesses and it has expanded its principal investment, loan origination, fund management, and primary and special loan servicing businesses. In August 2011, C-III announced that it had acquired the special servicing and CDO management businesses of JER Partners. In June 2011, C-III announced that it had entered into an agreement to acquire NAI Global, which is the largest world-wide network of independent commercial property services companies that provide property management, leasing, investment sales brokerage and ancillary commercial real estate services. That transaction has not yet closed.
“The USRG and PWM acquisitions represent C-III’s next step in creating a fully diversified commercial real estate services company,” said Andrew Farkas, Chief Executive Officer of C-III and the former founder and Chief Executive Officer of Insignia Financial Group, Inc. “With the same leadership team that built Insignia, C-III is focused on building a diversified real estate services company designed to meet the demands of all constituents in the commercial real estate industry in today’s environment. We are confident that USRG, its management team and its strong client relationships will make valuable contributions toward achieving C-III’s goals, and we look forward to serving USRG’s clients and enhancing and expanding the services C-III and USRG can provide to them.”
“Joining forces with C-III and Andrew Farkas is a very exciting opportunity for USRG to accelerate the national expansion strategy we began a year ago,” said Fenstermacher, who will continue as President of USRG. “This transaction will position USRG to continue providing first class property management services to our loyal clients within our current markets and enable us to provide great service wherever our clients choose to invest. This transaction also presents a tremendous opportunity for our employees to grow within our organization,” Fenstermacher added.
Read the original press release on Business Wire.
The New College Theatre, created from 2005 to 2007 by new construction behind, and a renovation of, the façade of the Hasty Pudding Theatricals venue, finally has a name. The University announced today that Andrew Farkas ’82 had endowed the complex in honor of his father, Robin L. Farkas ’54, M.B.A. ’61. Andrew Farkas, who served as Hasty Pudding Club president during two of his undergraduate years, called his times there “amongst the most joyful and memorable” of his College experiences, according to the news release. “To know that the space will…serve to incubate the creative skills of Harvard’s emerging talent,” his statement continued, “is extremely gratifying.”
Andrew Farkas founded and was CEO and chairman of Insignia Financial Group Inc., a leading owner-operator of multifamily housing and provider of commercial real-estate leasing and management services. After its units were sold and merged, respectively, in 1998 and 2003, he founded Island Capital Group, a real-estate merchant bank, where he is CEO and chairman, and Island Global Yachting, which owns and operates yacht-oriented resorts.
In prior Harvard service, he was co-chair of the class of 1982’s twenty-fifth reunion fundraising efforts, which produced a class gift of $22.8 million in 2007. The newly announced philanthropy (the terms and size of which were not disclosed) comes as he is approaching his thirtieth reunion next May. Daughter Arielle S. Farkas is a member of the class of 2013.
Beyond his undergraduate theatrical experience, according to the news release, his wife, Sandi Goff Farkas, is a playwright; she founded the nonprofit Playwrights of New York to support emerging writers and serves on the board of Lark Play Development Group, in New York.
The New College Theatre, at 12 Holyoke Street, was constructed when the Faculty of Arts and Sciences was willing to proceed on projects before outside financing had been secured; the project cost a reported $31 million. Since the 2008 financial crisis and recession, the University has reduced debt financing for building projects. The Hasty Pudding structure, dating from 1888, had deteriorated and was in need of urgent repairs; the renovation grew into a more ambitious program to provide badly needed undergraduate rehearsal and performance space—the first such new facility since the Loeb Drama Center opened in 1961.
As an arts venue, the theater within the newly named Farkas Hall, which seats 256 to 280, has become a focal point for undergraduate theatrical productions, as well as the annual Hasty Pudding extravaganza (it is also home to the Harvard Krokodiloes and Radcliffe Pitches a cappella groups), and is frequently used for lectures, guest-artist appearances, and other College programming.
View the original article in the Harvard Magazine.