mckafka Development Group teaches Harvard Executive Program on purchasing distressed properties

By Yaffa Mizrachi….

mckafka Development Group Principals Stephan Gietl and Fernando Levy Hara

Although on opposite ends of the world, Fernando Levy Hara, who lives in Aventura, and Austrianborn Stephan Gietl, who lives in Prague in the Czech Republic, met while attending the Advanced Management Development Program in Real Estate at Harvard University Graduate School of Design (AMDP) in 2009. AMDP is exclusively for entrepreneurs and senior-level professionals with at least 15 years of real estate related experience.

Despite the U.S. experiencing one of the worst economic crises in the last century, Levy Hara and Gietl believe the country will make a strong comeback from the downturn. For their AMDP endof- program project, the two scholars realized their shared vision for succeeding in a changed real estate climate and developed a business plan that would offer sound investment solutions in a volatile and much riskier business environment.

mckafka Development Group, based in Aventura, was formed in 2009 as a real estate investment firm specializing in the acquisition of distressed properties by purchasing condominiums in default, loans in default and real estate owned bank properties in South Florida.

Today, mckafka has brought more than 250 condominium units in South Florida in less than two years to international investors. In February, mckafka acquired the remaining 68 residences at Village East in Fort Lauderdale. 23 out of 68 units have already been sold. Properties that sold out within a year of their purchase were 62 units at Las Olas by the River in Fort Lauderdale, and 177 condominium units in two buildings in downtown Miami.

Gietl, managing member, CFO and COO of mckafka said “Harvard Graduate School of Design Director of Education Corlette Moore McCoy encouraged us to prepare and submit a business case illustrating our real business story and progress since becoming partners.” “She believed we would serve as valuable instructors for an upcoming Executive Summer Program,” added Levy Hara, also managing member and CEO of mckafka.

The faculty selected the Harvard alumni to be part of the “Distressed Assets” program curriculum held on July 25th and July 26th and have been assigned two to four hours to speak about their business case, conduct a debate between participants, and extract final conclusions.

The multifaceted program utilizing both industry leaders and case studies taught by Harvard professors will address questions including: Where are the opportunities for investors in this marketplace? How do borrowers work with their lenders to restructure and/or work out their problems? What impact does the CMBS market have on a borrower’s ability to work out a problem loan? And, where will smart real estate equity capital be invested?

“It is a great honor to participate as instructors for such a prestigious program. We could not be more proud and are embracing this responsibility with academic precision to ensure this elite group will have every opportunity to learn from and be inspired by the success stories presented by their peers” concluded Levy Hara.

For more information, call Fernando Levy Hara at 786-426-3800 or e-mail

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