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Broker doubles as developer.

When Scott C. Coopchik is not working on investment sales and financings in the Big Apple, he's in Oakland, California, acting as executive director of the nearly completed Oakland Federal Building project.

Coopchik, whose deals have included the sales of Tower 49 to a Japanese investor and the St. Moritz hotel to Donald Trump, currently wears the hat of broker as head of the Capital Investment Group at New York-based Galbreath Riverbank. He also assumes the role of developer for the Columbus, Ohio-based Galbreath Company, the parent of Galbreath Riverbank.

West Coast Developer

The 1-million-square-foot, twintower Oakland Federal Building, Coopchik's West Coast charge, is being developed for the federal government by DWA-Fed Oak Inc., a subsidiary that is 100 percent owned by The Galbreath Company. The development team is comprised of Galbreath, Walsh Construction and Guy Atkinson Company.

The project, which covers six acres of land, Coopchik said, is the anchor for a new urban renewal zone.

"Already you are beginning to see the changes in the neighborhood," said he said.

Designed by Kaplan, McLaughlin, Diaz of San Francisco, the building will be entirely occupied by government agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Vetera Affairs, the Department of Energy Affairs, and a court house.

Coopchik recently completed a refinancing of the project's construction loan by securing a $180 million construction loan from the Federal Financing Bank (FFB).

The complex transaction took seven months. Since the FFB cannot lend directly to the Galbreath entity or the GSA, the process required the establishment of a trusteeship to which DWA-Fed Oak Inc. has assigned the building's entire rental stream as collateral. The loan will be converted to a long-term mortgage once development of the towers is completed.

The result, Coopchik said, is the savings of 1O's of millions of dollars over the life of the loan.

"That is. of great savings to the taxpayer," he said.

Construction began in December of 1990. Next month, on April 25, 200,000 square feet of tenants will take occupancy. The project is due to be completed in September of 1993 and all tenants are expected to be in place.

In addition to innovative financing, the project recently received an EVE Award from the U.S. Department of Labor for record hiring of minority and woman-owned enterprises by a federal project.

"We're really proud of that because Walsh Construction has actually gone out to union hiring hails and bought people tools, paid union dues -- done everything to encourage minority hiring," he said.

Based on the success of this project, Coopchik said, Gabreath is bidding on other GSA projects.

New York Broker

In his East Coast office, Coopchik oversees the activities of Galbreath Riverbank's Capital Investment Group, which is currently involved in disposition and acquisition, raising equity and placing debt.

In addition to the refinancing of the Oakland Federal Building, the group's recent activities have included the sales of 10 East 53d Street and 34 East 51st Street in Manhattan, the sale of two manufacturing and warehouse facilities in Sacramento and Los Angeles to Ralston Purina, and a soon-to-beclosed $159 million construction loan in Columbus, Ohio. They are representing a number of clients in acquisitions and they are selling a 400,000square-foot R&D facility in Massachusetts.

"Despite the general malaise in the market, we've been pretty successful, said Coopchik.

Before joining Galbreath in April of 1990, Coopchik spent 10 years at Helmsley Spear followed by one year as senior vice president with the Financial Services Group of Cushman & Wakefield. When former Helmsley Spear colleague Peter Ricker signed on at Galbreath Company he asked Coopchik to come on board.

"I think (Ricker) made two calls -- I was the first or second call," he said. "He called me and I met with the Galbreaths."

Coopehik brought with him lessons learned from a number of impressive deals.

In 1986, Coopchik represented Solsread, a partnership of First Boston, Solomon Equities and Ware Travelstead, in the sale of 12 East 49th Street, "Tower 49," to Karo Kagaku, a Japanese concern. The whirlwind negotiation lasted 45 days from initial offer to closing despite a number of cultural barriers, the least of which was language.

"The buyer didn't speak any English," said Coopchik. "This was his first purchase in the United States ... There are things in New York we take for granted, like escalations. You try explaining that to someone who doesn't speak English."

The deal almost fell through, Coopchik said, because of a disagreement over interest on deposits. In the United States, interest usually follows the downpayment. In Japan, it is the opposite, he said.

"It was almost a deal breaker," Coopchik said. 'We worked out an intricate situation to get over that." Soon after, Coopchik acted as sole broker in the sale of the St. Moritz hotel to Donald Trump, Coopchik engineered an agreement between an industry legend and a relative newcomer -- Harry Helmsley, then in his late 70's, and Trump who was in his 30's. "very different negotiating styles, 'very' different people ... and I was going back and forth to get that deal done," he said.

Coopchik's other deals include the sale of the Gotham Hotel at 30 Central Park South and, as tenant rep, the placing of Tokai Bank at the World Trade Center.

He also, over a period of one year, disposed of a portfolio of 35 buildings in 27 states -- from New York to Hawaii -- for the estate of a non-resident alien. "It was a wild 12 months," he recalled.

An attorney and accountant, Coopchik said his work on both coasts has been enhanced by two other attributes -- honesty and creativity. "If you are flexible and listen to what people are saying, you'll be able to figure out the problem," he said.
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Title Annotation:head of Capital Investment Group at Galbreath Riverbank, Scott C. Coopchik assumes role of real estate broker and developer
Author:Fitzgerald, Therese
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Article Type:Biography
Date:Mar 24, 1993
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