Sep 22, 2017
SUBSCRIBER CONTENT: Aug 15, 2017, 3:57pm PDTMost everyone agrees the Sacramento region needs more multifamily projects, but getting them financed is tricky.
Most everyone agrees the Sacramento region needs more multifamily projects, but getting them financed is tricky. Jonny Harmer, the new chief financial officer at Roseville-based and prominent multifamily developer USA Properties Fund Inc., is going to be tackling that issue directly.
What brought you to USA Properties Fund?
“I was living in Costa Mesa, but I was born in Roseville. I moved away in first grade, but I had great memories from living here. In February, USA Properties reached out to me through LinkedIn. My response was, “My elementary school is two miles from your headquarters.” From the conversations we had, it seemed like a fantastic organization with good people. Everything about the opportunity, all added in, told me it was time to start a new adventure.”
Coming on board, what’s the lay of the land in your eyes?
“There are challenges, but opportunities. The challenge is finding deals that pencil out and cities that welcome us on the affordable housing side. With the housing challenges the state has, there’s also a real opportunity to improve people’s lives.”
Why is financing so hard for multifamily projects?
“The challenge is that the time it takes is so long to get through entitlements and approvals, and time equals risk for investors. Their most critical question is, how soon will I get my money, and how much of it will I get? It’s tough to find the right investors to take those risks.”
Is there a magic bullet out there to improve the situation?
“There’s really not. What we bring to the table is experience. If there’s a bullet, it’s the reputation we have with the firms we partner with. To the extent you can rely on reputation and rely on experience, it doesn’t make it easy, but it allows us to negotiate our way past challenges in the market.”
What makes you want to come into the office?
“No. 1, it’s the people here. No. 2, it’s the opportunity to really make a difference in people’s lives. Being able to provide a comfortable and affordable place to live, that matters. I love that USA is partnered with LifeSTEPS to help makes lives better for the residents, showing them how to improve their economic and social situation. One thing I would say is that as a corporation, we value that here, and you see people put their money where their mouth is.”
Chief financial officer, USA Properties Fund Inc.
Education: Bachelor’s and master’s degree in accounting, Brigham Young University
Career: Controller, InsideOut Development LLC, 1997-1999; senior tax consultant, Ernst & Young, 1999-2003; manager, Meredith & Associates CPA, 2003-2005; CFO, Meridian Development LLC, 2005-2008; CFO, Core Realty Holdings, 2008-2011; CFO, CV Holdings Inc., 2011-2017.
Personal: Married to Lynnelle with five children ranging in ages from 7 to 15.
Something people would be surprised to learn about you: “I have my private pilot’s license with multi-engine and instrument ratings.”