VRA's company philosophy is to take a disciplined approach on all of VRA's investment, advisory and development opportunities to ensure that our partners, investors and clients recieve a proper risk-adjusted return as well as maximize bottom-line profits of owned assets. Our core principal -to safeguard capital- guides our conservative investment approach with a long-term focus, but we will recognize shorter-term tactical opportunities when they present themselves. We strive to develop close, long-term relationships with our clients and consistently deliver high level service with sound advice.
VRA was formed in 2015 by Keith Bawolek, who is currently acting as the Managing Principal and CEO.
Mr. Bawolek has over 30 years of commercial real estate experience including extensive development, acquisition, disposition and loan work-out expertise with some of the country's most prestigious publicly-traded and private real estate firms as well as several prominent financial institutions.
Unique Parking Expertise and Developer of Prominent Mixed Use Properties
Prior to forming VRA, Mr. Bawolek was Managing Director-Parking Investments for Green Courte Partners, LLC. (GCP), a private equity real estate firm focused on investing in niche strategies. Mr. Bawolek was also on the board of directors for The Parking Spot, a company that was acquired by GCP.
Mr. Bawolek was also a partner and Executive Vice President at ECI Investment Advisors, Inc., a company he co-founded in 2000 to focus on urban redevelopment and real estate investment opportunities nationally. Mr. Bawolek was the on-site partner in charge of ECI’s Midtown Crossing at Turner Park development in Omaha, Nebraska, a one million square foot mixed-use project which has been recognized by the Urban Land Institute as one of the top ten public-private partnerships worldwide.
Ten Years with Sam Zell
From 1990 to 2000, Mr. Bawolek was employed by various companies within Sam Zell’s Equity Group, gaining valuable experience in capital raising (public and private) and complex deal structuring. Within the Zell organization, he was a senior executive of Equity Capital Holdings, LLC (a start-up company organized to invest in parking assets), Manufactured Home Communities (a publicly-traded manufactured home community company now known as Equity Lifestyle Properties (NYSE: ELS)) and Equity Assets Management, Inc., which was Mr. Zell's principal operating company for the successful Zell/Merrill Lynch Real Estate Opportunity Funds in which $2.2 billion of equity was raised and invested in a portfolio of real estate assets ultimately worth in excess of $6.0 billion.
A Decade of Solving Troubled Real Estate Problems
Mr. Bawolek also has 10 years of experience (1980 to 1990) handling workouts and distressed real estate assets for JPMorgan Chase (previously known as the First National Bank of Chicago). As the Chairman of its Foreclosure Committee, he reviewed the original loan underwritings and recommended restructuring solutions for the bank’s troubled loans.
Mr. Bawolek is a frequent speaker on urban redevelopment and public-private partnerships as well as investing in parking facilities. He has also been a contributor to various real estate magazines and newsletters and is an active member of the Urban Land Institute and the National Parking Association. Mr. Bawolek is also a member of ULI's Advisory Panel with a focus on urban revitalization projects.