This week on Leading Voices in Real Estate, Matt is joined by Jeff Berkes, President and Chief Operating Officer of Federal Realty Investment Trust. Founded in 1962, Federal is one of the oldest US REITs and is focused on the ownership, operation, and development of high-quality retail properties—from grocery-anchored shopping centers to large-scale mixed-use neighborhoods. As a non-mall retail owner, Federal has seen continued stability and success, despite the challenges of COVID and the realignments in the retail real estate sector due to the impact of e-commerce. Jeff shares Federal’s “secret sauce” of building mixed-use projects with retail, office, and residential to help drive the organization’s success and innovations and how Federal has worked with core tenants, including the hard-hit restaurants and retailers, to cope with the challenges of operating during the COVID shutdowns.
Jeff is responsible for leading Federal’s day-to-day property operating functions, including leasing, development, asset management, and acquisitions, on both the East and West Coasts.
Jeff joined Federal in 2000 as chief investment officer, and in 2011, became president, Western Region, where he was charged with growing the company’s presence on that coast. During the period between 2011 and 2019, the property operating income of Federal’s West Coast portfolio more than doubled, representing over 10% compound annual growth.
Prior to joining Federal, Jeff was vice president of acquisitions and finance for Velsor Properties, a Northern Virginia-based private real estate investment firm. He served as director of acquisitions for Federal from April 1997 to August 1998. Prior to that, he was vice president of acquisitions for Heitman Financial/JMB Institutional Realty Corp. He also worked as a loan officer for ITT Real Estate Services and as a regional investment analyst for CB/Richard Ellis prior to joining JMB.
Jeff has an undergraduate degree in finance and real estate from University of Denver and a master of business administration in international finance from George Washington University. Jeff is an active member of The George Washington University Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis Advisory Board, the Urban Land Institute (ULI), and the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC).