Opportunistic and Value-Add Real Estate Financing

Conifer Capital is a privately-held alternative investment company based in Phoenix, AZ. Conifer’s primary focus is providing first-position, mezzanine and preferred equity facilities for both ground-up and existing real estate projects. Backed by both institutional and private capital, Conifer’s flexible financing platform focuses exclusively on value-add and opportunistic real estate projects where creativity, timeliness and certainty of close are paramount to success. Conifer’s extensive experience with both debt and equity provides it with a unique ability to structure facility terms which truly represent a “win-win” for all project stakeholders.

Steve SurgentBoard Member, Principal & Founder

Steve SurgentWith over 20 years experience as principal investor and advisor in real estate and financial markets, Steve has a strong track record of value-creation across multiple asset classes. As Principal of Conifer, Steve is responsible for the strategic direction of the company as well as the day-to-day management of all facets of the company’s investment and lending operations.

Prior to his founding of Conifer, Steve served as Principal of RRA Companies, a privately-held real estate lending and advisory firm based in Phoenix, Arizona. During his tenure at RRA, Steve played an integral role in the creation, implementation and on-going management of a commercial debt origination and asset management platform on behalf of one of Arizona’s largest and oldest financial institutions. More specifically, during his time at RRA, Steve:

  • Created and launched a new bridge lending platform for middle-market transactions across the U.S. including the creation of all platform investment criteria, loan documentation (commitments, loan documents, etc.), loan sourcing/analysis/underwriting/negotiation/due diligence/closing processes and on-going asset management processes;
  • Played an integral role in the sourcing of and underwrote over 300 commercial bridge loan opportunities, representing over $2.5 billion in unpaid principal balance;
  • Developed offered terms for over 50 commercial bridge loan opportunities representing over $400 million in unpaid principal balance; and
  • Negotiated, performed due diligence and successfully closed bridge loans representing approximately $70 million in committed unpaid principal balance.

Prior to his work with RRA, Steve served as Vice President Acquisitions for Everest Holdings, a privately-held real estate investment company based in Scottsdale, Arizona. During his time at Everest, Steve was actively involved in the continual business development and relationship building with brokers, principals, lenders and all necessary third-party professionals, his efforts extending beyond properties and into finance, joint venture, new capital sources, and other areas. Steve’s acquisition experience at Everest included the underwriting of over $15 billion of hotel, office, retail, industrial and multifamily properties and the acquisition and disposition of over $200 million in assets over his tenure. In addition to his transaction work, Steve led Everest’s consulting and advisory business, an area which was paramount to the cultivation of principal opportunities. To date, Steve has been actively involved in the completion of over 100 assignments involving the development, acquisition and disposition of approximately $5 billion of high-profile hotel, office, multifamily and residential assets across North America.

Prior to his experience at Everest, Steve was a Consultant for Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. and an Equity Trader for JP Morgan Chase & Co., respectively. He graduated from the University of San Diego in 1994 with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. Professional licenses held through the course of his career include Series 7, 63 and 65, in addition to an Arizona Commercial Mortgage Broker License. Steve resides in Phoenix with his wife and three children.

Joe BlackbournBoard Member / President, Everest Holdings

Joe BlackbournJoe Blackbourn founded Everest Holdings in 2002. In twenty-five plus years in the real estate industry, Joe has had direct involvement with the investment side of transactions with aggregate value well in excess of $1 billion, including office buildings, master-planned communities, multifamily communities, shopping centers, hotel properties, business parks, mixed-use developments, residential land, commercial land, mortgage pools, and portfolios of distressed assets. His experience includes successful outcomes for many complex underwriting, capitalization and asset management challenges. Blackbourn has been directly involved in real estate assets that include approximately 1.5 million square feet of improved office buildings, 2,500+ hotel rooms, residential communities comprised of 7,500+ approved dwelling units and several millions of square feet of commercial FAR land. He estimates that these investments have produced an aggregate, weighted internal rate of return in excess of 30 percent.

Mr. Blackbourn holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and performed post-graduate work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Arizona State University. He is active in the Urban Land Institute (ULI) as a member of a national product council and a past Chairman, Vice Chairman and Treasurer of the Arizona District Council. He currently serves on ULI’s Executive Committee, Technical Advisory Panel (AZTAP) Committee and is its Advisor to YLG's Partnership Forum, ULI's model mentorship program.

Joe is a member of Lambda Alpha International and the National Association for Industrial and Office Parks.  He currently serves on the Board of Directors of First Place Arizona, an organization formed to develop a new residential prototype for adults with developmental disorders. Past service includes membership on Arizona State University’s Council for Design Excellence and service on the Boards of Directors for SARRC (Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center), the Advisory Board for ASU's Master in Real Estate Development transdisciplinary program, and Kivel Campus of Care, a leading continuous care facility serving the Jewish community of Greater Phoenix.

Charlie DunlapBoard Member / CPM, CRE

Charlie DunlapCharlie Dunlap has developed, built or rehabilitated over 10,000 housing units, developed and managed over a half million square feet of industrial, office and retail properties, and managed over 11,000 apartment units in Maricopa and Pima Counties. The total current value of these assets is over $2 billion. Since 2009, Charlie has acted as a real estate consultant on properties and loans with a total unpaid principal balance of $1.8 Billion.

In the early years he developed properties in partnership with Trammell Crow of Dallas, Texas and later started his own companies, serving as President of Dunlap & Magee Inc., Dunlap & Magee Construction Inc, Dunlap and Magee Homes, Inc. (eventually Magee Homes), Dunlap & Magee Asset Management, Inc. (eventually Dunlap & Magee Property Management Inc.), Charles Dunlap & Company Inc. and as a principal & owner of Magee Construction Inc.

In early 2009 Mr. Dunlap started RRA Companies which provides Consulting, Financial Asset Management, Commercial Real Estate Mortgage Servicing and Receivership services in 29 states and Mexico. RRA’s clients include JPMorgan/Chase, Wells Fargo Bank, Bank of America, Credit Suisse Bank, Lincoln National Life, John Hancock Insurance Company and scores of regional and local banks around the country. The total unpaid principal balance of the loans on the properties and loans on which RRA has consulted is $1.8 Billion.

He is a fourth generation Arizonian, graduated from Scottsdale High School, received a B.A. from the University of Virginia, graduated from The Hague Academy of International Law, The Hague, Netherlands and received his Master of Science degree from The London School of Economics, London, England. He was awarded the Bronze Star and the Joint Service Commendation Medal while serving as a U.S. Army Intelligence Officer in the Republic of Vietnam.

Since 1974 Charlie has served as a Maricopa Superior Court Appointed Receiver of hotels, senior housing, apartments, single-family housing, retail, office, industrial and other income producing properties. During his years in business Charlie has been heavily invested in the Arizona Real Estate community. He has served as President of the Advisory Council, Arizona Real Estate Institute (Arizona State University), General Chairman of the Maricopa County Housing Study Committee, President of the Valley Multi-Housing Association, member of the City of Phoenix Housing Commission and the City of Phoenix Downtown Redevelopment Committee. He has also been a board director for the Arizona Multi-housing Association (having received their Lifetime Achievement Award) and was President of the Arizona Chapter of the Institute of Real Estate Management (having been named Arizona Certified Property Manager of the year). He has received the prestigious CRE designation from the international Counselors of Real Estate and is affiliated with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. And he has served as a lecturer at the Arizona State University School of Business (where he received the Phi Epsilon Professional Award) and member of the Governor’s RTC Advisory Committee.

He has also served as a member of the State of Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct, the State of Arizona Governmental Mall Commission, the Arizona Department of Education’s Free Enterprise Task Force Working Committee and the City of Phoenix’s Rio Salado Development Advisory Committee.

He has served as a member of the Boards of Directors of Liberty Bank, Prescott College, Paradise Valley Country Club and as President of the Valley Field and Riding Club. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (Arizona WPO Chapter) and Valley Leadership. He holds an Arizona Real Estate Brokers license and an Arizona Mortgage Banker license.

Mr. Dunlap has been married to Barbara for 49 years, has 5 adult children and 13 grandchildren.

Feel free to contact us to discuss your project.