Allen Gross, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
Allen Gross, Chairman & CEO of GFI Capital Resources Group, brings over 35 years of real estate expertise to the company. In 1978, Mr. Gross started as a real estate transactional attorney and soon established a neighborhood mortgage banking business while seeking opportunities to rehabilitate under-performing multifamily assets. This later became the foundation for GFI’s property management portfolio which currently manages close to 16,000 residential apartment units throughout the country. In 1979, Mr. Gross started focusing his attention on developing and converting various condominium and cooperative projects. Some notable projects include 144 North 8th Street, a 41-unit condo building in Williamsburg, Brooklyn that sold out in six months; Century Vintage, a six story, 31-unit condo development in Greenpoint, Brooklyn as well as Newport Towers and Parc Vendome both situated in midtown Manhattan. His ability to maintain strong lender relationships has enabled Mr. Gross to also be a driving force in the commercial sales and finance markets.
Mr. Gross manages GFI’s affiliates along with GB Lodging, a hotel asset management firm that he co-founded in 2011. Among his many accomplishments includes the development of the Ace Hotel New York, a 275-room boutique hotel that was internationally praised by publications such as The New York Times and Wallpaper Magazine, as well as winning a coveted award for best boutique design hotel from Interior Design magazine. Mr. Gross is also responsible for developing the NoMad Hotel* in Manhattan, a premiere lifestyle hotel featuring 168 guestrooms, that has received significant acclaim for its design by world renowned designer Jacques Garcia and for the food & beverage program led by New York City’s top culinary talents. Allen’s main emphasis has been on creating value in any project he’s involved in; which includes neighborhood revitalization. These hotels have redefined the emerging area of midtown they are located in which has now been dubbed NoMad (North of Madison Square Park). Another distinguished property developed by Mr. Gross is The Ace Hotel and Swim Club in Palm Springs, California which has received national and international praise from esteemed publications, including Elle Décor and Conde Nast Traveler. This hotel consistently outperforms its competitive market and was recognized among the Top Ten Trendiest Hotels in the World by Travel & Leisure.
Presently, Mr. Gross is involved in the strategic development of his most recent project, 5 Beekman Street in downtown Manhattan. This unique, historic structure, together with an adjacent site, is being converted into a luxury hotel consisting of 287 guestrooms and 65 residences and will be a catalyst in the revitalization of lower Manhattan with its close proximity to major landmarks including the new One World Trade Center (Freedom Tower) and the New Fulton Street Transportation Center.
Mr. Gross is not only an established entrepreneur, but also serves his community by guest-lecturing at universities, real estate symposiums, and various other organizations. He presides as Chairman of the HASC, a school for special children. Allen is also an active member of the Mortgage Banker Association, Real Estate Association, and International Council of Shopping Centers.
Robert Ross, Chief Technology Officer
As Chief Technology Officer at GFI Capital Resources Group, Robert Ross is responsible for the information technology environment, leading and working with a broad range of corporate departments in the ongoing planning and implementation of information technologies that supports GFI’s core businesses.
Prior to joining GFI, Mr. Ross spent nearly eight years with Newmark Knight Frank. During his tenure he ascended within the departmental ranks from consultant to network team manager and then ultimately to director of information technology. He reinvented Newmark’s technology landscape by deploying an updated enterprise-wide Storage Area Network, implemented hardware acceleration to an existing national MPLS backbone and introduced Microsoft’s LYNC to address real time collaboration needs.
Mr. Ross also previously served as the Global Network Engineer for Gale International. In his role Mr. Ross was responsible for maintaining all faucets of the corporate network that extended across the globe. Mr. Ross also oversaw the complete technology makeover of the corporate headquarters and sales office in Manhattan.
Mr. Ross is a graduate of LaSalle University in Philadelphia with a Bachelor’s Degree in Information Systems.
Ilya Braz, Vice President & General Counsel
As Vice President & General Counsel, Mr. Braz directs all of the day-to-day legal affairs of GFI and its affiliates, including the planning, structuring and negotiation of complex transactions, joint ventures, regulatory and compliance matters and corporate governance. Mr. Braz is a member of GFI’s Executive and Investment Committees and coordinates execution of the Company’s investment strategies.
Prior to joining GFI, Mr. Braz was the Director of Legal Services for Africa Israel, USA, the U.S. subsidiary of Africa Israel Investments, where he advised the company on all legal matters concerning the company’s U.S. real estate holdings. At Africa Israel, Mr. Braz played a key role on development projects including: 20 Pine- the Collection, a conversion of a high rise office building in Manhattan’s financial district to 409 luxury condominium residences and ground floor retail, the ground-up development of the Marquis, a 67-story luxury condominium and hotel located in downtown Miami and the redevelopment of the Times Square Building.
Mr. Braz earned his bachelor’s degree, from Clark University, cum laude with honors in Economics, and received a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School.
Belinda Gillett, Director Of Human Resources
Belinda Gillett is the Director of Human Resources at GFI Capital Resources Group. She joined the firm in 2012 and comes with 15+ years of global human resource experience. Her tenure in the New York real estate construction industry started with Pavarini McGovern, a large Construction Manager with offices in both the New York and Florida. As their Director of Human Resources, she managed all facets of Human Resources including compensation, implementation of policies and procedures, employment relations, recruitment and benefits.
Ms. Gillett gained her global experience working at Cantor Fitzgerald as the Vice President/Deputy Director of Human Resources. Her population included the Americas, UK and the Asia Pacific region. She oversaw the US HR team and was the HR leader for all mergers and acquisitions. A portion
of her populations consisted of Global infrastructure, Global IT Development, Life Settlements, CO2e, Futures Exchange, Legal and HR. Her responsibilities also included the global year end compensation process, 401K committee, immigration, benefits and employee relations. Ms. Gillett graduated from California State Fullerton with a Bachelors degree in business administration.
Jennifer McLean, Chief Financial Officer
Jennifer McLean, Chief Financial Officer of GFI Capital Resources Group, oversees all accounting, finance, Human Resources and IT functions for the company and all related entities/affiliates. She is responsible for the ongoing management and financial performance with the goal of monitoring and maximizing asset specific cash flow and profitability performance. She also oversees all tax and compliance reporting, and maintains ongoing relationships with partners, agencies, development and operations to ensure the integrity of all financial data.
Prior to joining GFI, Ms. McLean served as the Chief Financial Officer of Pennrose Management Company, a mid-Atlantic owner/manager of multi-family properties. She also was employed as the Chief Financial Officer of Etkin Equities, a Midwest development/property management company and Chief Executive Officer for Diversified Property Services, its related affiliate. Ms. McLean has also served as Regional Controller for Premisys Real Estate Services, responsible for all aspects of financial and asset management.
Ms. McLean holds dual bachelor’s degrees in accounting and international studies/economics from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in finance from Wayne State University.
Ms. McLean is a member of several professional organizations including the National Apartment Association (NAA), the New York Society of Certified Public Accountants (NYSCPA) and WX New York Women Executives In Real Estate. She currently sits on the Residential Real Estate Advisory Board of Virginia Tech University. Most recently, Jennifer was awarded one of the top “Women Of Influence” in the nation by Real Estate Forum magazine.