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Commercial Corner: Charles Yellen

Charles Yellen, Managing Director, HKS Capital Partners

Charles Yellen joined New York-based capital advisory firm HKS Capital Partners at the start of 2017 as its new managing director where he manages the firm’s growing practice and works in collaboration with the founding partners and staff to mentor HKS brokers and trainees.

HKS Capital Partners has closed more than $17 billion in transactions since April 2011 when the firm was founded by Jerry Swartz, Ayush Kapahi, and John Harrington.

Yellen brings more than 25 years of finance experience, with a focus on originations, processing, and operations. He successfully obtained commercial mortgages for all asset classes including the multifamily, retail, industrial, office, hotel, and construction sectors, in transactions with a net worth of over $700 million.

“Charles is a proven intermediary, adept at structured financing, able to accommodate the needs of clients and lending institutions alike,” said HKS Capital’s Jerry Swartz. “He is an accomplished advisor and consultant who works with and represents local developers, as well as S&P 500 companies.”

Yellen is active in his community, where he has coached sports teams for the West Side Soccer League, CYO, and the Yorkville Youth Athletic Association. He has served as president and co-president of the Park Avenue Synagogue Men’s Club and on the synagogue’s Advisory Council. He also volunteers as a mentor to at-risk city youth and teens for the “I Have a Dream” Foundation and Mentoring USA.

What made you decide to get into real estate?

I’ve worked in finance for nearly 30 years, but focused on commercial real estate the past 15 years.   My draw to real estate is based upon the tangible nature of the asset class. Unlike securities ownership (stocks or bonds), real estate ownership provides some degree of control over the income and expense scenario along with the level of leverage (or debt), thereby providing a direct impact on your income and profitability.

What pushes you to the next level?

This is an industry where regardless of reputation or past results, you prove yourself by successfully executing on every new transaction.  The stakes for our clients are high and they should expect no less than 100 percent effort from their advocates and brokers.

Who inspires you?

At HKS Capital Partners, I’m fortunate to be surrounded by people with the same mindset.  Founder Jerry Swartz has been a confidant and mentor, proving that you can flourish in every market cycle.  And Co-Founder Ayush Kapahi has an extraordinary work ethic; there’s no one better at creatively structuring a deal and mitigating problems before they arise.  Every member of our team brings a unique skill set to the table, I am proud to work with each and every one of them.

If you had to work in a city other than New York, where would it be?

As a native New Yorker that loves walking, this is where I belong.  There are so many great cities I could see myself living in.  If forced to choose, my alternatives would likely be Washington D.C.  or  San Francisco, and internationally London.

What’s the best piece of advice you would give to someone starting in the business?

Any person choosing our industry, especially as an intermediary or broker, should embrace the industry and be passionate.  You need to be ambitious, consistent, and tenacious every day, never losing sight of your long-term goals. It’s not work when you love what you’re doing!

How have you seen the real estate industry change since you began your career?

All commercial real estate asset classes are constantly evolving and going through changes.  In the last few years, we’ve seen the issue of excess condominium inventory transition to concerns of rental inventory  absorption and an excess of new construction transition to the need for new affordable housing stock. Challenges and vacancy issues for retail properties are leading to new approaches, creative alternative usage, and new business models.  Interestingly, we’ve had terrific results in getting these assets financed.

What does the future hold for the NYC real estate scene?

New York City continues to be a national and international magnet for living, working, culture, and visitors.  While pricing and valuations may reset and continually adjust to the macro economic factors, I believe our diverse population growth will help maintain our prosperity.  Value oriented investors with a long perspective should have great results over the next decade.



Charles Yellen
HKS Capital Partners, LLC
38 West 21 Street, 8th Floor
New York, NY 10010
212-254-1600 ext. 146


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