About Us

Cherry Tree is a niche real estate operator focused on the acquisition, repositioning, management, and development of multifamily assets across key markets in the United States. Our mission is to preserve long-term, affordable housing options for communities and selectively enrich them with educational learning centers, while generating attractive risk-adjusted returns for our investors.

Happy family walking around neighborhood

team

Cherry Tree’s ultimate strategy is to be a vertically integrated platform, bringing property management and community management teams in-house. Our experienced launch team is focused on deal sourcing, operational excellence, value creation, and cultivating long-term capital partner relationships. As our differentiating factor is to ensure full alignment with our investor’s interests, Cherry Tree fosters a cradle-to-grave ownership approach, with team members responsible for the full life cycle of asset management; from acquisition, day-to-day operations, and disposition.

Chris Marsh
Founder & CEO

Chris founded Cherry Tree Capital Partners in 2021 after an 18-year career at the Irvine Company, where he served as President of the Apartments Division. Chris leverages his vast knowledge of commercial and multifamily real estate, and capital market relationships to provide the strategic direction for Cherry Tree. With more than 30 years of proven experience, Chris has led the strategic reinvestment, asset management, segmentation strategy, capital allocation, acquisitions, and dispositions for the existing 62,000 unit portfolio while also adding 22,000 new multifamily units to Irvine Company’s portfolio in his role overseeing acquisitions, due diligence, entitlements, product development, design, and delivery.

Education and community development are at the core of Chris’s values and philanthropic legacy. Chris sits on the non-profit Boards of St. Mary’s International Baccalaureate School in Aliso Viejo and the Jessie Rees Foundation – NEGU (‘Never ever give up’).

Chris received a Bachelor of Science degree in Quantity Surveying with first-class honors from the University of Birmingham, UK, and a Master of Science degree in Real Estate from the University of Reading, UK.

Aurmon Banitaba
Principal

Aurmon is an established leader in commercial real estate brokerage and investment advisory. He initially started his career in wealth management at Fisher Investments, where he was the #1 ranked Account Executive with $160M+ in assets funded to the firm and record holder for most deals and assets funded in an Account Executive’s first twelve months in the firm’s history. Most recently, he represented clients in the acquisition and disposition of commercial real estate at the San Diego office of Marcus & Millichap, with a specific focus on retail and industrial assets.

Aurmon graduated from California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo with a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance.

John Bosco
Principal

John started his career with major investment banks, such as Barclays, before transitioning into the real estate world where he met Chris at the Irvine Company. John gained experience as part of the strategic planning teams before progressing into asset management and analytics. John then joined The Picerne Group where he built and led the Asset Management & Analytics division and was responsible for the performance of $1B+ in assets. He and his team built proprietary revenue, planning, reporting, and analytical tools in order to successfully manage their portfolio.

John graduated from the University of Scranton with a Bachelor of Science degree and an MBA in Accounting.

Austin Maleki
Principal

Austin started his career in real estate private equity and corporate development across a multitude of industries. He was a part of JP Morgan’s real estate private equity group, where he was directly involved in deal structuring, underwriting, and managing a $50B+ portfolio of commercial real estate assets across the US — including office, industrial, and multifamily. Most recently, he has been directly involved in scaling and raising over $500M+ of equity and debt capital for one of the fast-growing real estate tech companies in the world — City Storage Systems.

Austin graduated from California State University, Fullerton with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Finance.

Michael Wu
Principal

Mike has spent the last seven years in real estate with experience in underwriting, acquisitions and dispositions, financing, deal structuring, and asset management. This includes managing $600mm of equity invested across 56 multifamily properties with over 20,000 units in the southwest and southeast regions of the U.S. as well as managing a $300mm portfolio comprised of office, retail, multifamily, hospitality, and parking assets concentrated in the Midwest. Most recently, Mike was a member of the Investment team at The Picerne Group, where he was responsible for underwriting and investment research, supporting new business, acquisitions, financing efforts, and dispositions.

Mike graduated from the University of Virginia with a Bachelor of Science degree in Commerce, with concentrations in Finance and Real Estate.

Bryan Lipinski
Tax Strategy & Accounting

Bryan began his career with Arthur Andersen and later spent time in public accounting as well as Controller of two commercial real estate companies, before founding his own firm, Lipinski & Associates.

Bryan graduated from California State University, Fullerton, and is a Certified Public Accountant, as well as an active member of the American Institute of Public Accountants and the California Society of CPA’s.

Eric Rubenfeld
General Counsel

Eric specializes in advising clients on transactional matters including joint-ventures, financing, asset acquisitions and dispositions, fund formation and fund raising, dispute resolution, and federal and state investment adviser act compliance.

Eric spent over a decade as the general counsel and chief compliance officer of multiple multi-billion dollar institutional investment advisors specializing in private and public equity investments in real estate and corporate debt and equity.

Eric earned his J.D., cum laude, from the Harvard Law School and his B.A., magna cum laude with college and departmental honors, from UCLA.

Niny Nuget
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Niny has a broad range of experience in the commercial real estate industry, starting in multifamily brokerage at Marcus & Millichap where she managed the firm’s top-performing sales team. She then moved on to manage the operations of a private real estate investment company that closed $240M in new acquisitions. Most recently Niny transitioned to the technology sector where she successfully leads the implementation of large-scale and complex technology projects, from initiation to closure.

General Counsel

Eric specializes in advising clients on transactional matters including joint-ventures, financing, asset acquisitions and dispositions, fund formation and fund raising, dispute resolution, and federal and state investment adviser act compliance.

Eric spent over a decade as the general counsel and chief compliance officer of multiple multi-billion dollar institutional investment advisors specializing in private and public equity investments in real estate and corporate debt and equity.

Eric earned his J.D., cum laude, from the Harvard Law School and his B.A., magna cum laude with college and departmental honors, from UCLA.

advisors

From the start, Cherry Tree Capital Partners focused on creating a diverse Board of Advisors to provide strong fiduciary oversight through an active, engaged and experienced board. The following advisors are members of our Board.

Dan Young
PRESIDENT, CAMINO ENTERPRISES

Dan was the former President of Irvine Company and remains a close advisor to Donald Bren. He also devoted his time to public service as the former Mayor of Santa Ana in the 1980s and ’90s. Most recently, Dan launched a private entitlement/development firm, Camino Enterprises.

Dan currently sits on the boards of Hoag Hospital, Mind OC and THINK Together, whose focus is on delivering nationally recognized after-school programs, early learning, enrichment, and school improvement in over 400 schools in California – serving over 200,000 students.

Kevin DeAllen
CEO, ARGYLL & CO.

Kevin is a proven leader in coaching executives, professional athletes, and government officials through leveraging his proprietary, behavioral science technology to create predictive analytics that sharpen leadership’s intuition for talent selection and cultivating company cultures rooted in values and thriving on knowing their people at the deepest levels.

Kevin studied business administration at USC Marshall School of Business and Social Entrepreneurialism at Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Early in his career as a social entrepreneur at Steadfast Cos., he led the first team in the U.S. to build learning centers within apartment communities in disenfranchised areas and also helped to create housing programs for emancipated foster youth. Later he consulted HUD in their National Neighborhood Networks initiative.

Jim Krohn
PRESIDENT, IRVINE COMPANY APARTMENT COMMUNITIES

Jim Krohn is President of Apartment Operations for Irvine Company. In that role, he is responsible for the management and operation of the Company’s portfolio of apartment communities throughout California.

Previously, Jim served as Founding Partner and Chief Executive Officer of the Management Division for Alliance Residential. At Alliance, he was responsible for growth of the company’s management platform and management oversight for over 100,000 apartment units nationwide, including 30,000 units in California.

Prior to that, Jim worked for Lincoln Property Company, where he was involved in the management, development, and acquisition of apartments in the Southwest and Southern California regions over his eight-year tenure.

Investment Strategies

Mid-West Workforce Housing

Cherry Tree targets workforce housing investment opportunities throughout the Midwest in second and tertiary markets that have consistent employment growth with positive net in-migration.  A diminishing inventory, zero true competitive supply and increasing demands for affordable housing have made workforce housing an attractive investment. Workforce housing is primarily about operational excellence. With the right operational focus and delivery of best-in-class community management services, reduced turnover rates and sustainable increases in revenues produce steady long-term cash flow and compelling tax-efficient returns for investors.

Sun Belt Value-Add Multifamily

Cherry Tree targets value-add multifamily assets with 100-200 units in growth markets across the Sun Belt states that offer attractive risk-adjusted returns. Cherry Tree is focused upon well-located multifamily properties that require renovations to the interior units, common areas and amenities with the opportunity to create value through strategic asset repositioning. With the right market strategy, focus and execution, these improvements provide for rent increases, stabilized occupancy and ultimately value-add returns for investors.