Tom Charek is President of Welty Development and has spent his entire career in commercial construction and real estate development. He grew up in a family construction and development business and spent his 20-year career working with a number of the most notable construction management and development companies in the region. He has a deep understanding of how to shepherd an idea through concept, development, funding, construction, launch and operation. He has a unique perspective on building the right team for each project and a rich network of partners and resources to bring that vision to market. He is building Welty’s real estate portfolio, while providing professional services in program management, owner representation, and finance and fund sourcing.
He played roles in a number of high profile development and construction projects including Cuyahoga County Headquarters, The 9, Cleveland State University Art Gallery, The Allen Theater and the Shoreline Apartments.
He is part of the Cleveland Chapter of NAIOP and on the boards of Ronald McDonald House of Northeast Ohio and the Rainey Institute.
Russell Berusch is President of Berusch Development Partners LLC. For more than 20 years, he has specialized in urban redevelopment projects that revitalize communities and university environments. He pairs a passion for transforming neighborhoods with a proven ability to execute on projects that are innovative, complex and catalytic.
As both a consultant and developer, he has played a critical role in projects collectively valued at $300 million. He is adept at working with a broad range of public and private partners to reimagine blighted or tired streetscapes; developing the detailed and strategic plans to turn vision into reality; and managing complicated developments.
He previously was vice president for commercial development at Case Western Reserve University, where he conceived of and oversaw the pre-construction phase of the Uptown project, a $150 million development of retail stores, apartments, cultural institution, and landscaped open space.
Before joining CWRU, he was senior vice president of real estate for Neighborhood Progress, Inc., where he led the nonprofit’s real estate development subsidiary for 10 years.
Don Frantz formed Metro Consulting in 2002, after working for various development companies directing the planning and construction of projects encompassing office, residential, retail, hotel, conference, urban entertainment and recreational uses. Metro provides development expertise to public and private entities, targeting the specific need of each project, ranging from site analysis, economic feasibility, design management and obtaining municipal approvals to construction administration. He has worked in nearly 100 communities in 31 states over the past 36 years.
Previous projects include the Euclid Grand Apartments in downtown Cleveland, the Flats East Bank mixed-use redevelopment (Ernst & Young Tower, aloft Hotel, 240 apartments & numerous restaurants), the Bertram Inn and Conference Center in Aurora, the Renaissance on Playhouse Square office tower in Cleveland’s historic theater district, Moen Corporation’s World Headquarters, over 2 million square feet of retail space and the Barrington planned residential community surrounding a Jack Nicklaus signature golf course.
Arne Goldman is a registered architect and graduate of Cornell University with over 40 years of experience in the sourcing, pre-development, planning, design and management of construction projects for Marous Brothers Construction. The Marous portfolio includes a wide variety of historic/adaptive re-use mixed-use, multifamily residential, hospitality, cultural arts, and higher education projects.
Utilizing his particular expertise in development finance, he works with clients to structure and secure various financing vehicles, including historic and low income housing investment tax credit equity, New Markets Tax Credits, FHA-backed mortgages structures and equity sources.
He is a LEED Accredited Professional, and serves as a Trustee on the Boards of AIA Cleveland and the Cleveland Restoration Society. He is also an active member of a number of professional and civic organizations, including the American Institute of Architects, National Council of Architectural Registration Board, City Club of Cleveland, Greater Cleveland Partnership, NAIOP, SMPS, and Kiwanis International.
At RHM Real Estate Group, Andrew Iarussi leads the firm’s growth strategy focused on value-add acquisitions and ground-up developments. Currently in 13 states, the company is predominately focused on multi-family assets in both urban core and outer ring suburban markets.
Over the course of his career, he has overseen more than $500 million dollars of commercial real estate development in the retail, office, industrial and multi-family sectors. Initially working for an architectural firm in New York City, and The Dalad Group and DDR Group in Greater Cleveland, his background spans the built environment from design and construction management to asset management, financial modeling, and the execution of complex capital transactions. Andrew holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in architecture from Tulane University, as well as Graduate Certificate in Construction Management from NYU’s Schack Institute of Real Estate.
Dr. Gina Merritt is a recognized expert in affordable housing and community development. She is a principal of Northern Real Estate Urban Ventures and founder of Project Community Capital, a social capital platform. She is an award-winning business leader – her community development projects have won numerous awards for excellence and social impact. Her entrepreneurship and social impact work are helping communities access safe and affordable housing and employment opportunities.
She formed her real estate practice 5 years after receiving her MBA. Having consulted on over $2 billion in real estate projects and structured over $5 billion in real estate transactions, she continues to prove that Black women have the technical expertise and deep experience that makes a meaningful impact for underserved communities in this country.
She is an experienced development and investment manager. She has been involved in over 7,500 units of housing in various stages of development, managing the entitlement process, structuring and securing the required financing, managing the design, and the overall construction process. She has underwritten over $5B in real development estate transactions and performed underwriting service for several CDFI’s.
Michael Panzica is the owner of M. Panzica Development. He has been in the commercial real estate industry for 15 years and has structured the acquisition and development of projects totaling more than $500 million. His primary focus is sourcing of projects, the financial analyses on development and acquisition initiatives and determining the economic feasibility of these potential opportunities. He is responsible for initial due diligence, financial structuring of transactions, sourcing of debt and equity, and on-going due diligence through closing. In addition, he has worked to obtain financing through New Markets Tax Credits and State and Federal Historic Tax credit programs as well as city, county and state economic development programs for complex urban projects.
He has been involved with a number of recent high-profile projects in Cleveland including the Church + State mixed use project in Hingetown, and the Bridgeworks commercial and housing – including workforce housing — project at the corner of West 25th Street and Detroit Avenue
Mitchell Schneider is the Founder & Executive Chairman of First Interstate Properties, Ltd. in Lyndhurst, Ohio. In 1989, he created First Interstate to be a full-service real estate development and management company. The company has a sound reputation as a responsible, can-do developer of environmentally respectful, high-impact projects that create value for surrounding communities, for residents and occupants, and for the investment community. First Interstate is the developer of, among other projects, Cleveland’s Steelyard Commons, which transformed a former industrial brownfield into a major urban retail center serving the needs of residents of underserved Cleveland neighborhoods.
Mitchell is also the Co-Founder & Chairman of Legacy Capital Partners, a real estate private equity firm formed in 2004.
Mitchell serves as Strategic Advisor to the Investment Committee of National Real Estate Advisors and has served as a Board Member for a number of philanthropic institutions locally and nationally. These organizations include the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, Siegal College, ORT America and the Western Reserve Land Conservancy.
Scott Skinner joined The NRP Group in 2017 and now serves as a both Vice President of Development and as Director of Public Policy. His responsibilities include deal origination, initial underwriting and due diligence, political approvals and community outreach for both market rate and affordable multifamily development projects in Ohio, Michigan and Indiana. He is especially interested in leveraging creative partnerships across sectors to create dynamic, transit-oriented, mixed-income communities.
He also leads NRP’s federal advocacy work to promote policies that advance affordable housing development at the national level and manages NRP’s business development efforts with the healthcare sector nationally.
Prior to joining NRP, he served as a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, a Peace Corps volunteer doing community development work in the country of Georgia, and a corporate fundraiser for Capital Partners for Education, a large nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C.
He is on the Leadership Council for Engage! Cleveland, volunteers as a mentor with College Now, and is a graduate of the Cleveland Civic Leadership Institute.
Josh Rosen is a Co-Founder of Sustainable Community Associates. He and his two fellow co-founders formed Sustainable Community as a corporation in the spring of 2001 while still students at Oberlin College. In between studying for their final exams, they played Rock, Paper, Scissors to determine who would be the President, Chairman of the Board and CEO of the corporation. When all three refused to throw anything other than “rock”, they flipped a coin.
Initial plans included starting a community center for local youth and centralizing innovative programs that they had been involved in while students. As time passed, the co-founders wanted to address the long-standing challenges that Oberlin faces: high-quality housing for people of all incomes, a need for new business and job creation and a need to bring more people downtown.
Since their real estate development work has included the East College Street housing and commercial development in Oberlin, the Fairmont Creamery housing and commercial space between Ohio City and Tremont, and reimagining the Wagner Awning factory in Tremont into housing and office space.
James Sosan has redeveloped old buildings to housing, with his most recent projects on Cleveland’s East Side. The project – the three-story 20 suite Bristol Apartments on South Moreland Boulevard in Cleveland – has been his most challenging. Part of the roof caved in and one area was fire-damaged. His previous projects were the Metro Lofts in Tremont, the Detroit Lofts in Ohio City and transforming the former West Side YMCA on Franklin into apartments.
The Nigerian immigrant came to the United States to earn an engineering degree at DeVry University in Chicago. He then came to Cleveland for a job at Ohio Bell, and worked at it and its successors for years. Now, the seasoned electrical engineer counts himself an expert in historic restoration, learned the hard way.
Nix Development Compay
Ray Nix is a real estate development executive with significant experience managing multi-million dollar affordable housing and mixed-income rental and homeownership projects. As the founder of Nix Development Company, he has led the strategic planning and development of more than 1,800 affordable units of mixed income housing valued at $285 million in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern regions. With a keen focus on the increasing affordable housing, he approaches each opportunity with a transformative lens, balancing community and diverse stakeholder needs. He has broad experience working collaboratively with housing authorities, faith-based institutions, administrators, HUD, lenders, neighborhood and tenant associations.
He has a Bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture and a Master’s in city and regional planning, both from The Ohio State University. He is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi, Fraternity, Incorporated, and a founding board member of the 13th Man Foundation.