About this Episode – The Journey of a CRE Entrepreneur with Alex Zikakis Part I

Welcome to the A.CRE Audio Series! On this episode, I am here once again with the creators of the Adventures in CRE website, Spencer Burton and Michael Belasco. Today we are joined by an awesome guest, Alex Zikakas.

Alex is the president and founder of capstone advisors, launched in 1996. Capstone is a diversified asset development and asset management company that has served as advisor and asset manager for some of the world’s largest financial institutions and hundreds of complex real estate investment and development projects.

During our time today we are diving into some great topics. You can expect to learn more about Alex, how he got started in this industry and his process in getting started as an entrepreneur. We also talk about making a deal, how to figure things out and the best ways to execute strategy.

Show Notes – S2E9: The Journey of a CRE Entrepreneur with Alex Zikakis Part I

  • Who is Alex [1:28]
  • How Alex got started in the industry [3:35]
    • Alex’s path into this industry started after graduating with his undergrad.
    • He got a job working on wall street as a commercial banking analyst for Meryl Lynch. He worked a variety of roles in that job.
    • Once he was there, he realized he didn’t like it much at all.
    • Because of that he thinks he probably didn’t do a phenomenal job because his heart wasn’t really in it.
    • He became more and more drawn to the real estate industry.
  • Alex’s process and taking the leap as an entrepreneur [8:48]
    • For him, he had a great first stop in the industry.
    • Some of the projects were fairly complex.
  • Deal making [13:20]
    • He learned how to underwrite, package big portfolios, etc.
    • When he traded mortgages, it was about how do you put a deal together to make money.
  • What led to that moment [15:31]
    • He had a lot of confidence that he would make his way.
    • He was recently married and a 2-year old son, another child on the way, student loans and lots of payments.
    • He thought life wasn’t going to get any cheaper the longer he would wait.
    • He was ready to go and give things a shot. If things didn’t work out, it wasn’t the end of the world.
    • The upside was greater than the downside.
  • Marketing of assets [21:40]
    • It’s a different world today than it was in the past.
    • It’s important to be really curious about a wide variety of things. Really spend time devouring information.
  • Executing strategy [29:30]
    • Assets hadn’t been actively managed.
    • If you could deliver capital and do what a good firm does, you could ride the recovery.
    • Once he had that framework, it was sort of easy to execute at the asset level in that environment.

Resources from this Episode