As co-founder and CEO, Jim Neil is in charge of strategic development of the firm and the deployment of the firm’s investment capital. Since 1981, Mr. Neil has personally financed a total of over $8 billion in real estate transactions. These transactions include all types of debt and equity financings for all categories of commercial real estate, including acquisition, bridge, ground up, turnaround, permanent and credit line facilities. He has been a principal in over 300 projects totaling over 25 million square feet with average annual returns on equity exceeding 25%.
Prior to forming Churchill, Mr. Neil worked with Wallenstein/Grubb & Ellis Incorporated from 1986-1995 as Executive Vice President and then Managing Director. He formed Americity Federal Corporation in 1985 to act as a Seller/Servicer for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac multi-family loans and was also a Founder, Director and Principal of Americity Federal Savings Bank in Dallas, Texas. Both entities were sold in 1992 for 9 times the original investment. From 1984 to 1986 Mr. Neil was Executive Vice President of Saratoga Capital Corporation in Dallas, where he was the top producer in 1985 and 1986.
Mr. Neil received his Master's in Business Administration from the Harvard Business School and his Bachelor of Arts from Yale University. He has lectured at numerous seminars relating to financial underwriting, mortgage finance and capital investment in commercial real estate and is a guest lecturer at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.
As co-founder and President, Duke Stone acts as a financial intermediary on an exclusive basis, specializing in arranging debt and equity capital for all types of commercial real estate on behalf of real estate owners, developers and investors nationwide. Mr. Stone has arranged real estate financing as an intermediary for investors since 1984 on all property types through a variety of institutional and private sources of capital. These transactions have been structured through permanent fixed rate mortgages, floating rate acquisition financing, interim construction loans, mezzanine debt and joint venture equity investments and have involved an array of complex highly structured assignments.
Prior to forming Churchill Capital, Mr. Stone worked with Wallenstein/Grubb & Ellis as Vice President, heading up their acquisition and finance arm with a national focus. He also served as Vice President of Saratoga Capital Corporation.
Mr. Stone graduated from the University of Texas at Austin where he received a degree in Architectural Engineering. He has 30 years of mortgage banking experience, and holds a Real Estate Broker and Mortgage Broker license.
As one of the three original principals, David Wallenstein is responsible for meeting the capital market needs of his clients and for setting the strategic direction of the firm, including seeking opportunities to invest the personal capital of the company’s principals.
In 1978, Mr. Wallenstein founded a real estate investment bank in Dallas. His passive partners were the Dallas-based Henry S. Miller Company, the largest commercial realtor in Texas, and Sonnenblick-Goldman Corp., the largest New York-based real estate investment bank with offices nationwide. Mr. Wallenstein took his company private in 1984 and then sold it to Grubb & Ellis in 1985.
From 1985 to 1995, Mr. Wallenstein ran Wallenstein/Grubb & Ellis, the investment banking affiliate of Grubb & Ellis. Since 1978, his Capital Markets group closed in excess of $4 billion in real estate finance transactions with Mr. Wallenstein the top producer in every year until 1994. In April of 1995, Mr. Wallenstein, along with his then-partners Jim Neil and Duke Stone took majority of the Capital Markets group out of Grubb & Ellis and founded Churchill Capital. Dealing with projects ranging in size from $3 to $260 million, Mr. Wallenstein’s financing experience spans existing and to-be-built developments of all product types. He has been a key producer in the over $20 billion in real estate financings that Churchill has closed in its 20+ year history.
Prior to entering the real estate investment banking business, Mr. Wallenstein practiced law. He was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York. Thereafter, he became an associate at Dryer & Traub, the then-largest real estate-oriented law firm in New York City, and thereafter Counsel to the real estate department of the Mutual Life.
Mr. Neil has over 18 years of experience working in the commercial real estate and finance industry. As Partner at Churchill Capital Company, Mr. Neil raises capital and manages the underwriting and closing process for commercial real estate projects throughout America. He serves as a special advisor to the CEO, and manages Churchill’s 3 largest clients, among others. Since joining Churchill in 2012, Mr. Neil has closed over 75 deals, a pace of more than 1 per month. Mr. Neil helped invent the proprietary capital program that Churchill uses today. Under Mr. Neil’s guidance, Churchill’s principal investment business has grown 10x during his tenure, and now accounts for 50% of all Churchill transactions.
Mr. Neil started his real estate career with Boxer Property, and has since worked in various capacities for Nomura -NY (Fixed Income), Capmark -NY (Principal Finance), and Jones Lang LaSalle -NY (Financial Analytics and Strategic Planning). He holds extensive experience in property ownership, debt and equity financing, and capital structuring in many asset classes across the country.
Notable Deal Transactions
Acquisition of Bank of America Tower, a 225,000 SF Class A office building in Plano, TX.
Acquisition of The Centre, an 817,656 SF community of office buildings in Dallas, TX.
Acquisition of Northlake Office Park, a 519,242 SF community of office buildings in Atlanta, GA.
Acquisition of 14.7 acres for development of a 130,000 SF Wegman’s Food Market in Chapel Hill, NC.
Refinance of La Gran Plaza Mall, a 1.1M SF regional shopping mall located in Ft. Worth, TX.
Mr. Neil earned an MBA from Duke University, a BA in Economics from Johns Hopkins University, and a Professional Certificate in Real Estate Finance & Investment from New York University. Mr. Neil currently serves as the Captain of the United States Deaf Men’s National Soccer Team and volunteers his time as President of the United States Deaf Soccer Association, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization (www.usdeafsoccer.com).
As Partner at Churchill Capital, Steven Forson is responsible for steering the firms principal capital investments that total approximately $100 million and for developing strategic partnerships with capital providers. Mr. Forson also arranges debt and equity capital for commercial real estate projects on behalf of developers, owners and investors. Since joining Churchill Capital in 2014, Mr. Forson has originated, underwritten and/or closed 60 investments totaling over $850 million in a brokerage or principal investment capacity. Recent transactions include a $205 million refinancing of a nationwide portfolio of 23 office buildings and securing $70 million in debt and equity for a ground-up multifamily project in North Carolina. Prior to joining Churchill Capital, Mr. Forson was involved in direct real estate investment, syndication and consulting in South Africa and Australia.
Mr. Forson has a BSc in Computer Engineering from Florida State University and an MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management in partnership with Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.
As Vice President, John is responsible for raising capital and underwriting transactions for commercial real estate projects. Prior to joining Churchill Capital Company, John worked on the Balance Sheet Management team at Capital One Financial as well as the Portfolio Strategy and Risk Management team at Fannie Mae, in part responsible for the management of the $700B retained mortgage portfolio.
John earned his BA in Economics from The College of William and Mary as well as his MBA and Certificate of Academic Excellence in Finance from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. He attained the designation of Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) in 2014.
Brad Donnell has arranged mortgage debt and equity capital on over 200 commercial properties in excess of $750 million for some of Dallas’ foremost commercial real estate developers and investors. Mr. Donnell has over 15 years of experience originating and closing acquisition, construction and permanent debt. He has arranged both private/entrepreneurial and institutional joint venture equity capital on behalf of borrowers for both development and existing transactions in addition to financing note purchases, structuring workouts and negotiating sales contracts and partnership buyouts.
Notable recent deal transactions include JV Equity and acquisition/construction loan of the $23mm Uptown Plaza in Dallas, and acquisition, construction and permanent loans for the $42mm Stonebriar Plaza retail center adjacent to the largest mall in North Texas. Mr. Donnell also has extensive experience with FNMA DUS, Freddie Mac and HUD multifamily lending programs during his prior tenure with three different lending institutions specializing in GSE programs.
Mr. Donnell has been a licensed Texas Real Estate Broker since 1989. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics as well as a Master’s Degree in Land Economics and Real Estate from Texas A&M University.
As Vice President of Operations, Linda Brannum manages the back-office workflow of Churchill Capital’s principal investment business. She also leads the administrative staff and oversees staff development and training.
Prior to joining Churchill Capital in 2003, Linda managed corporate incentive travel programs around the world and coordinated logistics for large corporate clients at the Olympics, the Super Bowl, and many NCAA college bowl games. She has also been a professional seminar speaker on the subject of business communication skills.
Linda graduated from the University of Arkansas with a B.S. in Education. She is involved in the local and international refugee community and serves as a rose garden volunteer for the city of Farmers Branch, Texas.