Saturday, April 21, 2018

In memoriam: Frank Tansey co-founder of DRA Advisors

I learned this morning that Frank Tansey died a few days ago. 

Here is the message that DRA Advisors sent to their investors: 

It​ is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Frank Tansey, our co-founder, long-term Partner and friend.

Frank co-founded DRA's predecessor company, Dreyfus Realty Advisors in 1986 along with David Luski and served as our President until his retirement in 2010. He was a bright and independent thinker.  He was an investor who could identify value-added potential but was relentless in protecting investor capital. Frank was iconoclastic, contrarian, and demanding.  While he was not always "user-friendly", he cared passionately about delivering consistent results to our investors; he did not want to disappoint.  His defining legacy is the enduring success of our mission and the shaping of our culture that rewards achievement and cares about our associates and their families.  His influence will forever be ingrained into the fabric of our organization.

Googling Frank I found the following (which while a bit dated provides the path of Frank's commercial real estate career).

Mr. Francis X. Tansey is currently employed at DRA Advisors LLC in the position of Chief Executive Officer, President, and Chief Investment Officer, and was previously a Director at Tower Realty Trust, Inc. He was the President at Capital Automotive LLC. He is also the Co-Founder of DRA Advisors LLC. From 1984 to 1986, Mr. Tansey was a Trustee and Manager-Investment Financing of the General Electric Pension Trust (“GEPT“). In that capacity, Mr. Tansey was responsible for the management of assets valued in excess of $20 billion, as well as the investment portfolios of affiliated mutual funds, foundations and insurance companies. From 1981 to 1984, he was the Manager-Fixed Income of GEPT, responsible for the management of real estate, taxable and tax-exempt bonds and cash. From 1970 to 1981, Mr. Tansey was both Investment Manager and Manager-Real Estate of GEPT, responsible for the management of its real estate portfolio. Mr. Tansey graduated in 1966 from Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics.

Frank was a judge for the first Cornell University Real Estate Case Competition. He joined Martha Peyton (TIAA-CREF – Now TH Real Estate), Steve Vittorio (Prudential Real Estate Investors – now PGIM and several other industry folks are known for their willingness to ‘give back’ to the industry they love.
How Frank and I first met: It was 1995. I had been hired by Bill Farber at Levin Management Corp. to grow a fledgling institutional third-party shopping center management / leasing business.  In my networking around I went to meet with DRA Advisors, who owned a bunch of shopping centers.  The original meeting included Frank, Paul McEvoy (Managing Director), David Luski (President and CEO) and Andy Peltz (Managing Director who, at that time oversaw the firms retail acquisitions and asset management).  

My recollection of that meeting was that Frank was a no-nonsense guy.  He lead the meeting (what, you thought I did? 😀 Frank was a true real estate guy, through and through.  He loved the industry and, along with David and Paul built what is considered today one of the most highly regarded and respected real estate firm.  Modest as they are, DRA's folks would not necessarily say that about themselves...I did.  Over the years, as things evolved, DRA and I reconnected during the years I was at IREI (Institutional Real Estate, Inc.) where they have been a long time 'sponsor.'  Over the years, from time to time, I’d see Frank at an industry event or when I’d stop up at their office. He was a true gentleman – and a tough negotiator.

When you think of legendary names in the real estate and institutional real estate investment management business, Frank Tansey is in the elite group at the top of the heap.  

My condolences to Frank's family, friends and DRA colleagues.  Another sad piece of news for our industry in a time that has taken all to many of us in too short a period of time.

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