Mr. Darren Kowalske

Crescent Bay Partners

A senior executive with 28 years of experience leading real estate and commercial lending platforms across US, Mexico, Asia and Europe, Mr. Kowalske has had direct responsibility for debt and equity investments across all major real estate sectors including office, retail, multi-family, industrial, hotel, medical office, congregate care, restaurants and convenience and gas.

Crescent Bay Partners, 2011. Crescent Bay is a privately held, investment group that advises and invests in opportunities across a broad range of real estate and service company industry sectors. With particular expertise in franchise/chain restaurant and hotel strategies, as well as distressed and core commercial real estate debt and equity investment, Crescent Bay Partners seeks to leverage the principals’ strong industry knowledge and relationships to provide clients and investors, access to opportunities across the risk/return spectrum.

From 2007 – 2010, Mr. Kowalske served as President and CEO of GE Capital Franchise Finance (Scottsdale, AZ). He was responsible for leading GE’s franchise lending and investment business representing over $12BN of assets in restaurants, hotels and convenience & gas centers. With over 350 employees, GE’s Franchise business is the industries’ largest lender and investor in franchise related assets including $9BN of financing and over $3BN of NNN leases. Mr. Kowalske, and his team, led and integrated 3 major acquisitions (Trustreet REIT, Merrill Lynch Capital and Citi Capital) totaling over $6BN.

From 2005 – 2007, Mr. Kowalske was the General Manager Europe (London, UK), for GE Capital Healthcare Finance. He was responsible for establishing and growing GE’s healthcare finance business in Europe. After taking over and existing, underperforming healthcare equipment portfolio, he built a new leadership team and expanded the focus into real estate and leveraged finance. Ultimately resulting in an integrated platform and reducing delinquency to less that 1%, as well as doubling transaction volume each year to over USD $1B.

From 2001 – 2005, Mr. Kowalske served as Senior Vice President US Ventures and Mexico (Dallas, TX) for GE Capital Real Estate. He was responsible for all GE’s US strategic real estate joint ventures along with Mexico real estate operations representing over $7BN of assets in Multi-family, Office, Retail and Industrial. The group was the premier joint venture partner with “best in class” real estate operators: Kimco, JPI, HCPI, Apollo, Hines, UR Realty and Weitzman. As the #1 real estate finance business in Mexico they obtained a 50% market share in the institutional industrial market and a significant equity presence. Mr. Kowalske managed a 70 person team in the US and Mexico that led over $4.5BN of debt and equity transactions.

From 1996 – 2001, Mr. Kowalske was Managing Director Asia/Pacific (Tokyo, Japan) with GE Capital Real Estate. In this role, he was responsible for establishing real estate operations throughout Asia and the Pacific Region. He opened the company’s Tokyo office in 1997 building a strong 75 staff local platform by 2001. He then went on to open offices in Seoul, Korea and Bangkok, Thailand and developing an investment strategy that lead to a $3BN+ portfolio of equity and distressed loan investments.

Mr. Kowalske holds a B.S., Economics from Princeton University. He enjoys skiing, tennis, golf, and hiking. He has served on the Board of Directors, Boys & Girls Club Delray Beach FL and is currently a board member of Junior Achievement Phoenix, involved in Special Olympics.