George Smith Partners Grows Leadership Team

The company announced three new principals who will assist in the growth of its national platform, as well as in its philanthropic commitment.

Los Angeles–National commercial real estate investment banking firm George Smith Partners has named three new principals for the firm. The three new principals, Bryan Shaffer, Jonathan Lee and Shahin Yazdi, join the firm’s existing principals Steve Bram, Gary E. Mozer, David Rifkind, Gary M. Tenzer and Malcolm Davies.

According to Tenzer, the three new pincipals each bring expertise and drive that assists George Smith Partners in the growth of its national platform, as well as in its philanthropic commitment. The firm currently supports more than 40 philanthropic organizations, in addition to academic and industry organizations.

Industry Veteran Bryan Shaffer, who joined George Smith Partners in 2011, brings more than 20 years of industry experience to his new role as Principal at the firm.

Shaffer has closed more than $4 billion in financing throughout his career. During his time at George Smith Partners, Shaffer has arranged structured financing for multifamily and commercial properties, including acquisition, refinance, construction, bridge and permanent loans, mezzanine and participating debt, and joint venture equity. In addition, Shaffer has closed complex loans to allow for portfolio restructuring, exit from bankruptcy, note purchases, affordable and senior projects including ground up construction of a skilled nursing facility.

Prior to joining George Smith Partners, Shaffer ran his own global investment advisory company, led dispositions for Japanese institutional investor, Mitsui Real Estate Sales and operated projects for several development firms. He has also served as a contractor for the United States Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC) as an Expert Witness and California Superior Court Receiver.

Shaffer is heavily involved in various industry organizations, as the founder of International Real Estate Trade Organization (IRETO) and an active member of the Urban Land Institute (ULI), as well as the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC).

Lee joined George Smith Partners more than a decade ago in 2005, and has since arranged more than $1 billion in financing. He has a noted expertise in both ground-up development financing, as well as stabilized permanent financing.

Lee has a wide variety of expertise, arranging more than $250M in construction financing, more than $325M in CMBS financing, as well as securing more than 20 Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans over the past six years. Lee’s financings extend across all property and financing types, with both national and regional clients and financial institutions.

A native of Palos Verdes, Lee earned his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2001. Lee is also involved with many community and professional organizations including, the UCLA Real Estate Alumni Group, the Mortgage Bankers Association and ICSC as well as nonprofit groups the Union Rescue Mission and Cornerstone Church West Los Angeles.

The youngest principal to ever join George Smith Partners, at age 32 Yazdi brings a decade of experience in commercial real estate, and has served the firm for more than eight years, since joining George Smith Partners in 2007.

During his tenure with the firm, Yazdi has worked locally, regionally and nationally, securing financing across all properties types and classes, as well as working with many types of lenders, including CMBS, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, insurance companies and portfolio lenders. In 2009, at the height of the recent economic down turn, Yazdi played an instrumental role in establishing George Smith Partners advisory services arm to assist borrowers and lenders with troubled loans and distressed assets. With an extensive background in banking, Yazdi has continuously shown an expertise in being able to navigate through complicated loans and complex properties.

Yazdi holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is also an active member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), the Pension Real Estate Association (PREA), the Commercial Real Estate Development Association (NAIOP), CoreNet Global, and the Beverly Hills Law Association. Yazdi is also committed to charitable and civic work, with strong involvement in the Jewish Big Brother organization and the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles.