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Industry Heavyweights Deliver Insights into Investment, Finance and Opportunity Zones

More than 250 industry professionals turned out Wednesday for Connect Media’s first back-to-back events, focusing on Opportunity Zones and more broadly on the full spectrum of investment and finance. The audience at Midtown Manhattan’s Harvard Club had a chance to glean insights from some of the leading players in both arenas.

Among those luminaries was the man often described as the architect of Opportunity Zones from a regulatory standpoint: the U.S. Treasury Department’s Daniel Kowalski. He took the stage in a Q&A session moderated by Daniel Flanigan, managing partner at Polsinelli, a luncheon event open to attendees of both Connect Opportunity Zones 2019 and its afternoon counterpart, Connect National Investment & Finance 2019.

The afternoon event, which addressed subject matter ranging from investment strategies to CMBS vs. CRE CLOs, had a Q&A of its own with an industry heavyweight. Willy Walker, CEO of Walker & Dunlop, was interviewed by Connect Media CEO Daniel Ceniceros on growing the firm from a $25-million regional business into one of the nation’s largest CRE finance companies.

Connect Opportunity Zones 2019, the first dedicated event on this investment strategy from the Connect Conferences platform, occurs as industry players have moved beyond the talking stage and are making actual projects happen.

Across the three panel discussions, some common themes sounded. Among them were the importance of patience in carrying out an investment vehicle that mandates a 10-year hold, and the need to create lasting benefits for residents and businesses in these zones.

The experts gathered for Connect National Investment & Finance 2019 identified some potential speed bumps and the possibility of moderating growth, citing factors that ran the gamut from continuing trade tensions to sweeping rent-reform bills enacted recently in New York and California. However, none expressed the possibility that the U.S. economy was at risk of a recession anytime soon.

Be sure to check back over the next few days for deeper dives into the discussions and insights presented at both of these events.

Pictured, from left: Daniel Ceniceros and Willy Walker.

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For comments, questions or concerns, please contact Paul Bubny


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About Paul Bubny

Paul Bubny serves as Senior Content Director for Connect Commercial Real Estate, a role to which he brings 13-plus years’ experience covering the commercial real estate industry and 30-plus years in business-to-business journalism. In this capacity, he oversees daily operations while also reporting on both local/regional markets and national trends, covering individual transactions across all property types, as well as delving into broader subject matter. He produces 15-20 daily news stories per day and works with the Connect team and clients to develop longer-form content, ranging from Q&As to thought-leadership pieces. Prior to joining Connect, Paul was Managing Editor for both Real Estate Forum and at American Lawyer Media, where he oversaw operations at both publications while also producing daily news and feature-length articles. His tenure in B2B publishing stretches back into the print era, and he has served as Editor in Chief on four national trade publications. Since 1999, Paul has volunteered as the newsletter editor of passenger rail advocacy groups (one national, one local).

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