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- Philip Christopher on the upcoming Hellenic Issues Conference and the East Mediterranean Partnership
- Economic Outlook, April 2019
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Velios Capital: Delivering Satisfaction, Navigating Transaction
by Athena Efter
What do a former football player and property manager both have in common? Team work that scores a winning goal. As I look around the swanky minimalist LIC office space, with walls covered in artwork and inconspicuously placed citations of merit and outstanding service from the city, state, and local community, I have to be reminded that I’m talking to a real estate finance consulting firm, not sitting in an architect or graphic designer’s office, but I could be with their help.
George Eliopoulos and Dimitri (Jimmy) Vattes have a working relationship that goes back 15 years. Three years ago they formed Velios Capital, an amalgam of both their surnames, giving their firm an extra dose of familial teamwork and business camaraderie. Dimitri grew up in the business world – in the restaurant and real estate industries – and went on to graduate from Cornell University where he played football. Tackling touchdowns wasn’t in his long-term professional plans, but tackling mortgages and interest rates, and making them work in favor of his clients, was all the money he knew how to handle. A son of natives from the Greek island of Chios, Dimitri took his dad’s advice: “Learn how money works. Learn how real estate works”. While there are are no guarantees in football career success or real estate investments, both have something in common. Football and real estate never lose their value.
His partner George, also a son of Greek immigrants, was born on the Upper West Side and raised in the community of the Church of the Annunciation. He started out managing real estate properties, long before he and Dimitri met. He, too, knew that if you want to learn how money works, you have to learn how real estate works. As a property manager, he started out curing “sick” real estate, taking on properties with problems and making them better, then moved his way into a management company that assesses foreclosures, and then backed into finance and commercial mortgages.
That’s good news for real estate investors, sellers, and buyers learning how to navigate their way into commercial real estate. As intermediary commercial mortgage brokers, along with their extensive experience, they perform the role of doctors, to help you make the right decision on your property investment with the resources and knowledge they bring to the table. As George pointed out, “We are not transaction driven. We are relationship driven.” With every transaction, they build a relationship that lasts for life. They deal with generations of families, helping them understand how real estate works, so they can understand how money works. Or is it the other way around? Money and real estate go hand-in-hand, but it is about making the right decisions so that everyone involved in the transaction is happy, right down to the lawyer, the architect, the engineer, the plumber, the electrician, the bank, Wall Street, and the appraiser.
George prides himself on the fact that they are relationship driven, not money driven. Their first question when you schedule an appointment with them is “How can we help you achieve your goals?” Velios Capital goes above and beyond what they provide, also helping you with real estate tax reduction. They know which attorneys to call. If you are a one-stop shopper, in lay terms, I would compare them to the Costco or Target of the real estate world. They have relationships with various types of vendors, and these relationships are what help you make the right choices for your own commercial real estate ventures.
As advisors and consultants, they even have their own radio series on Hellas FM. They saw a real need for offering advice as “small business owners keep getting squeezed.” Dimitri and George are both very community focused and will help small businesses. By tuning in to their radio show, they offer free advice on tax reduction, and who doesn’t want to save on taxes? Imagine that! As you’re trying to make money through your real estate ventures, you can also learn how to save money in the process too. The goal of the show is to help you save money through gas, electric, accounting, and any other area that can be cost effective. They will assess properties and help them restructure their debt. What does that mean? If you find yourself in a sink hole of real estate debt, restructuring your debt can save you.
Yes, folks, apparently there is a way to make money by borrowing money when it comes to commercial real estate. Sounds scary, but Drs. George and Dimitri reassured me it can be done. I’m not going to guarantee it, but you’ll have to talk to them and find out how. With the resources they provide they can help you save money, and that is good news to anyone standing on “shaky ground” or anyone looking to invest in it. Not sure about California. They have earthquakes, but they have struck deals as far as Hawaii. George, however, knows that the money is here in New York. If you can build it in NY, you can build it anywhere.
Apart from being doctors, Dimitri and George are also matchmakers. Yes, they CAN bring you the man or woman of your dreams, by matching you up with the right people in the industry. We aren’t talking romance but real estate. George has a sense of humor too, comparing their firm to a dating service in addition to a doctor’s office: “I manage a dating service in lay terms. We match the client to the people who can fulfill their needs.”
With their strong networking and leadership skills, they know the right people in the industries that can help you. George is also Vice President of Membership for the Manhattan Chapter of AHEPA, Delphi 25. In his role, he is helping to expand a growing membership base of 271 members. His efforts are geared toward bringing in a newer, younger generation of members though the Sons of Pericles and Daughters of Penelope with their young professionals divisions. AHEPA is a charitable arm of brother and sisterhood, comprised of different chapters, all across America. Each chapter has its own causes it supports, as well as shared causes. If you are going to be in the business of helping people, whether philanthropically or in business, then you have to help people by forming a team of professionals that can further help people.
Client service and loyalty are their primary goal. The handshake still exists in their world. They take the time and effort to know what you want to help you achieve your goals. As a relationship driven firm, if they can’t help you, they aren’t going to. They will tell you the truth, give you advice, and present you with options. They can assess who will be the right lender for you, whether it’s a bank or wall street. When they decide to take on any transaction, they will navigate it so that it does close by understanding the needs on both sides. By maintaining a good relationship with both borrowers and lenders, they establish trust and client loyalty.
If you don’t believe in Santa Clause, that’s ok. George will tell you to make believe it’s Christmas and ask you what you want underneath the tree. If you want to believe in tax reduction, saving money, and making money work through commercial real estate, you can call them or tune into their radio show on Hellas FM this spring where they will invite different people in the industry to give you great advice for free, or you can make an appointment with Santa to introduce you to his helpers. Maybe by next Christmas you’ll have sealed that long awaited deal.