NIC Leadership Huddle:

A Conversation with Brokers During a Pandemic

Hear perspectives from leaders in the nation’s top brokerage firms on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their businesses. Find out what questions their clients are asking. Listen to their responses on what impact the coronavirus, the shutdown in the economy and heightened business uncertainty is having on deal flow and transaction volumes. How do they think about valuations and cap rates? Hear disparate points of view on how the seniors housing and skilled nursing sectors will fare relative to other commercial real estate property types. Gain insights on the lessons learned from past recessions and why and how this time is different. Lastly, find out how they are preparing for another potential distress commercial real estate cycle.


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Beth Burnham Mace
Chief Economist

Beth Burnham Mace is the Chief Economist and Director of Outreach at the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC). Prior to joining the staff at NIC, she served as a member of the NIC Board of Directors for seven years and chaired NIC’s Research Committee. Ms. Mace was also a Director at AEW Capital Management and worked in the AEW Research Group for 17 years. Prior to joining AEW in 1997, Ms. Mace spent ten years at Standard & Poor’s DRI/McGraw-Hill as the Director of the Regional Information Service. She also worked as a Regional Economist at Crocker Bank, the National Commission on Air Quality, the Brookings Institution and Boston Edison. 

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Charles Bissell
Managing Director

Mr. Bissell serves as Managing Director in JLL’s Seniors Housing Capital Markets Group. He is involved in sourcing capital for seniors housing projects (equity and debt), and in the sale of seniors housing assets. Mr. Bissell also provides a wide variety of advisory services to clients seeking insight into the seniors housing market. Mr. Bissell’s experiences include all types of seniors housing, ranging from age-restricted apartments to entrance-fee CCRCs.

Mr. Bissell has been involved in commercial real estate since 1986. Prior to joining JLL, he held ownership in one of the founding companies of Integra Realty Resources (IRR), which grew into a national valuation and consulting company with more than 60 offices.  He started and led IRR’s Seniors Housing and Health Care Practice and served on the national Board of Directors for the firm.

Mr. Bissell also co-founded and co-managed the ARA National Seniors Housing Group.  Mr. Bissell led this seniors housing investment sales platform from its founding in 2008 through its growth and eventual disposition in 2014.  Over its tenure, the firm was involved in the sale of nearly $1 billion in seniors housing properties and represented major players in the sector, such as AEW and Brookdale.

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Ben Firestone
Executive Managing Director and Co-Founder
Blueprint Healthcare Real Estate Advisors

Ben Firestone is an Executive Managing Director and Co-Founder of Blueprint Healthcare Real Estate Advisors, the leading advisory firm exclusively focused on seniors housing and healthcare real estate. Ben is one of three founders responsible for launching the firm in 2013 and has been instrumental in its strategic direction. Under his leadership, Blueprint has grown to be a leading advisory firm within the space, completing over 345 transactions valued at more than $5.7 billion since inception.

Ben is an alumni of the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC) Future Leaders Council. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Michigan and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

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Richard Swartz
Executive Managing Director
Cushman & Wakefield

Richard Swartz is a Vice Chairman in the Boston office and heads a ten-person team of Capital Markets specialists dedicated to the Senior Housing Sector. Mr. Swartz joined the Company in 2003 and is responsible for originating, structuring and executing senior housing investment sales, equity investments, debt financings, and note sales. In 2007 he opened the firm’s Boston office and in 2011 initiated the firm’s Senior Housing Capital Markets Group.

Prior to Cushman & Wakefield, from 1998 to 2003, Mr. Swartz was a Managing Director at APC Realty Advisors where he headed up all equity and debt placement activities nationally and was directly involved in over $3 billion in debt and equity transactions. Prior to APC, Mr. Swartz was involved in the structuring and underwriting of mezzanine investments at Lazard Freres and subsequently Capital Trust. Previous to these activities, he spent seventeen years as a pension fund advisor, including eight at TCW Realty Advisors, where he executed various equity, joint venture and debt investment vehicles.

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