PORTLAND, MAINE—The professional growth of DJ Nelson and the expansion of The Eagle Point Cos. are closely connected.
Nelson has participated in every acquisition completed by Eagle Point, a national developer and owner of affordable housing projects with a growing portfolio of nearly 4,000 units.
The 39-year-old has also played a key role in launching the firm's property management business and spearheaded the company's entry into acquiring general partner interests in midterm low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) properties.
“This industry is extraordinarily complex,” he says. “I really enjoy the interplay of these complexities on getting deals done. One day we're working with lenders and syndicators on multitiered financing strategies, and the next day we're meeting with residents explaining how we'll be a good owner and manager. On another, we might be talking to a state agency or HUD [Department of Housing and Urban Development] about various regulatory requirements.”
When it all comes together, he says, there's a real sense of accomplishment.
Soon after graduating from St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H., Nelson joined affordable housing developer Gleichman and Co., where he was hired to work on the firm's Resolution Trust Corp. contract to liquidate foreclosed single-family homes from failed savings and loans. Some of the homes had to be sold as affordable housing.
“He was highly intelligent and analytical in whatever he was approaching, whether it was financial analysis or problem solving,” says Laura Burns, president and CEO of Eagle Point, who hired him for that first job.
Nelson then continued in affordable housing as a senior analyst at Edison Capital, a tax credit investor.
Meanwhile, Burns was making her own way in the industry. In 2001, she was launching her own firm and sought Nelson to join her. “We felt his knowledge of the industry would be an immediate help,” she says, adding that there was also a strong sense that he wasn't going to bring a fixed way of doing things. Instead, he was someone who would find new solutions in an industry filled with twists and turns.
Burns' confidence in him has been rewarded. Nelson has managed closings on 10 acquisition/rehab transactions at Eagle Point, including a $60 million acquisition of the Armour Boulevard portfolio in Kansas City, Mo., which used $48 million in federal and state housing and historic credits to rehab 303 units in three buildings. The deal earned a J. Timothy Anderson Award for excellence in historic rehabilitation from the National Housing & Rehabilitation Association (NH&RA).
Nelson's efforts have benefited his company, but in the big picture, they've helped preserve or create needed affordable housing, as well.
“As the market continues to recover, I will continue to work with my partners to identify and react to new opportunities,” he says. “One reason Eagle Point has been successful is our ability to react to those opportunities and market conditions.”
In 2007, Eagle Point expanded into acquiring general partner interests. Nelson helped create a business model that navigates the company through due diligence, pricing, and deal closing. The firm has completed 15 general partner acquisitions.
At the same time, the firm also started its property management division.
Nelson has also been active in the industry as a member of NH&RA and has served on the board of the Institute for Responsible Housing Preservation. In his community, he's coached soccer and Little League.
He and his wife, Jennifer, have two children, Max and Maya.