City Real Estate Advisors, a longtime low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) syndicator, has been acquired by Omni Holding Co.

Omni is a vertically integrated business that owns and operates six entities that serve the affordable housing industry, including Omni New York, a major affordable housing developer and owner. Led by former baseball star Mo Vaughn, attorney Eugene Schneur, and real estate veteran Rob Bennett, Omni and its affiliates own and operate approximately 13,000 affordable housing units in 10 states.

Jeff Whiting
Jeff Whiting

City Real Estate Advisors, which has become CREA, LLC, will operate as an autonomous business managed by the current senior management team.

“We will continue to focus on what brought us to where we are, which is the syndication of low-income housing tax credits,” says Jeff Whiting, CREA president and CEO. “We all love the business.”

Whiting established the Indianapolis-based syndication firm in 2001. It is expected that all existing employees of CREA will remain with the company.

“As we’ve gotten to know CREA, we are excited they are joining the Omni organization,” says Schneur, managing director of Omni Holding Co. “We recognize the industry expertise that CREA brings to its clients, and we look forward to working with them to reach their full potential in the affordable housing sector.”

The deal is one of several expected ownership changes at LIHTC syndication firms this year. Multiple industry sources reported that two other longtime syndicators are involved in deals to be acquired.

CREA had been part of City Financial Corp. but had outgrown the parent company in recent years. The syndicator has raised $3.2 billion and has invested in 353 properties with more than 30,000 units. It has 81 employees. In addition to its Indianapolis headquarters, CREA has offices in Austin, Texas; Boston; Portland, Ore.; San Diego; and St. Petersburg, Fla.

Terms of the CREA deal were not disclosed, but Whiting says the deal was good for all parties. For CREA, the deal strengthens the company’s position by providing a more robust balance sheet that allows it to continue to grow, he says. City Financial was able to gain liquidity for its shareholders.