Real Estate Alumni Network Industry Panel

The UGA Real Estate Alumni Network serves as an essential link between the university, students, alumni and the real estate industry. The Network’s mission is the continual commitment to promote and advance the Terry College of Business Real Estate Program and its alumni through various educational, social and community outreach events.

This Real Estate alumni network industry panel was held October 16, 2014 and featured:

  • Moderator: Chris Ahrenkiel, Tishman Speyer
  • Jim Borders (MBA 1988), Novare Group
  • Mark Toro, North American Properties
  • Jim Irwin, Jamestown LP

Sponsored by: REscour


Chris Ahrenkiel, Moderator

Chris Ahrenkiel

Chris Ahrenkiel joined Tishman Speyer 8 years ago and is responsible for the firm's leasing and marketing in the Southeast Region. Chris is also part of Tishman Speyer's regional planning, fundraising, acquisitions and development team.

Tishman Speyer, whose holdings include Rockefeller Center, Chrysler Building and many other iconic assets, is one of the world's leading owners, developers and operators of first class real estate. In Atlanta, Tishman Speyer owns Colony Square, Midtown Plaza, and has recently started development of Three Alliance Center.

Chris was responsible for executing two of Buckhead's largest lease transactions in the past decade, Marsh and Novelis, Inc, which, along with several other transactions, helped him fill up Two Alliance Center within 18 months following a 3rd quarter 2009 delivery of the Tower, in one of the most challenging real estate markets in history. In 2010, Chris was responsible for over $130 Million in revenue, earning him the #1 Producer award from the Atlanta Commercial Board of Realtors.

Chris currently serves as Past-President of REGA (Real Estate Group of Atlanta), the Board of the Midtown Alliance and has been appointed to the Board of the Commercial Board of Realtors. Chris co-founded NAIOP Future Leaders (NFL) and was Chairman of its inaugural class. Chris is an active member on CoStar and Xceligent's Advisory Boards and participates in Pedestrian studies through the Buckhead CID.

Chris graduated Cum Laude with a BBA from the University of Georgia and Summa Cum Laude with an MBA and a concentration in Commercial Real Estate from Georgia State University.

Jim Borders

Jim Borders

Jim Borders is President and CEO of Novare Group, a real estate investment and development company based in Atlanta, Georgia. Borders began his professional career as an attorney with Atlanta law firm King & Spalding and later practiced as a turnaround consultant at GrandWest & Associates. In 1992, Borders founded the predecessor of Novare Group. The company's first investments were in self-storage facilities and office buildings, and the success of those projects led to the development of apartments and condominiums, including adaptive reuse of several buildings in and around Atlanta.

In 2002, in partnership with Wood Partners, the company delivered its first major high-rise development, Metropolis, which has been widely credited with sparking residential demand that helped transform Midtown Atlanta into the vibrant neighborhood that it is today. The company has focused its activity on the development of high-rise mixed-use communities and developed more than 10,000 multifamily units in 30 high rise buildings, expanding the company's activity into Nashville, Charlotte, Raleigh, Orlando, Tampa, Austin, Houston, and Dallas, and creating the "SkyHouse" brand of apartment communities.

Borders serves on the board of directors for Buckhead Coalition, Midtown Alliance, Central Atlanta Progress, Georgia Advanced Technology Ventures, LLC, an affiliate of Georgia Tech, and as a trustee and chairman of the real estate committee of the Georgia Tech Foundation, Inc. Borders received a bachelors degree in mechanical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1983 and a J.D./M.B.A. degree from the University of Georgia in 1988. He is a member of the Urban Land Institute and the National Association of Home Builders, where he serves on the Multifamily Leadership Board. Under Borders' leadership, Novare has been recognized with two ULI Project of the Year Awards and three Projects of Excellence.

Mark Toro

Mark Toro

Mark Toro founded the Atlanta office of North American Properties in 1996, leading the acquisition, development and redevelopment of more than 8 million square feet throughout the Southeast. An industry veteran, he has completed more than 60 projects, totaling more than 20 million square feet, in his 28 year career in commercial real estate, previously holding positions with Faison and Cousins. Mark is currently engaged in the repositioning of Atlantic Station, the development of the $600 million Avalon project in Alpharetta and multifamily projects throughout the Southeast. A resident of Midtown Atlanta, and self-proclaimed Johnny-come-lately reurbanization zealot, he serves on the Executive Committee of The Midtown Alliance where he seeks to advance the urban lifestyle in Atlanta.

Jim Irwin

Jim Irwin

Jim Irwin is Vice President of Development and directs strategic market analysis, planning, financing and project development for sustainable and urban properties in the firm’s national portfolio. Prior to joining Green Street in 2010, Jim led market analysis, financial evaluation and operational execution of the development pipeline at The University Financing Foundation, a nonprofit organization that assists educational and research institutions in expanding and building facilities and equipment. During his tenure as Manager of Development, he completed a $31 million bond financing to renovate the Georgia Tech Research Institute in Cobb County, Ga., working with preferred partners to select, contract and oversee design, construction and engineering components. Jim also managed project development and asset management for Atlanta-based Barry Real Estate Companies, with a primary focus on the FBI Regional Headquarters, a $55 million custom project in Minneapolis, Minn., and Harrison Square, a mixed-use development in Fort Wayne, Indiana, anchored by an 8,000 seat minor league baseball stadium. Extending his professional background to serve the Atlanta community, Jim is involved with the Center for Regional Leadership Development at the Urban Land Institute, the Young Alumni Real Estate Advisory Board at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School and the Board of Directors for Road Safe America. Jim earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Dartmouth College, where he played football for four years. After serving on the staff of several U.S. senators and congressmen, he received a Master in Business Administration with a concentration in real estate finance from Emory University.

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