John B Mannix
John Mannix is currently a Managing Partner and founder of Merchant Equity Group LLC (MEG), an entrepreneurial private investment company based in New York City. MEG was formed in 1995 and has made over $1.65 billion in investments in commercial real estate, structured financial products, natural gas drilling operations, and substantial land acquisitions in Central America since its inception. Since 2004, he has directed a divestment of net leased real estate assets, office properties and retail centers while building the firm’s Black Pearl Resorts business. In 2016 Mr Mannix led, through North District LLC, an investment syndicate that acquired a 10 acre development site in North Philadelphia in partnership with Amtrak. The site ultimately will contain a new train station and over six million sq. ft. of mixed use buildings for institutional tenants such as Temple and Temple University Hospital whose main campuses are adjacent to the MEG site.
Prior to becoming a principal of MEG in 1995, Mr. Mannix was president of Sarakreek USA, the asset management arm of a Dutch REIT which owned 10 million SF of major retail and office properties in New York, Illinois, and Connecticut. Simultaneous with the founding of MEG, Mr. Mannix organized a leveraged buy-out of Sarakreek’s assets in a joint venture with a large private equity fund. From 1986-1989, Mr. Mannix was Executive Vice President of Manhattan Capital Properties Inc., which acquired and developed over 500 residential units in the East Village area of Manhattan. The portfolio was converted into condominiums and sold after renovation. Mr. Mannix began his real estate career as a sales broker for Julien J. Studley Inc. where he eventually became a Senior Vice President. He was named one of the firm’s top producers in 1985. Since 1999, Mr. Mannix has dedicated substantial time to public service and Affordable Housing issues. For 7 years, he was Vice-Chairman of the New York State Housing Finance Agency, the largest issuer of tax exempt bonds targeted for affordable housing in the country with a mortgage portfolio in excess of $16.5 billion. He was also Chairman of the Audit Committee and member of the Governance Committee. During his tenure at HFA, Mr. Mannix also played a key role in the issuance of $800 Million in Liberty Bonds authorized after 9/11 and the privatization of $500 Million in State financing for Coop City, a 15,000 unit affordable housing complex in the Bronx. Mr. Mannix was also a Director of the State’s Affordable Housing Corp and Director of The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp. a public benefit corporation which controls a 10,000 resident affordable housing community in Manhattan. In 2006, Mr. Mannix stepped down from these Boards to devote more time to his private investment business. In 2008, Mr. Mannix was named a Trustee of the International Center for the Disabled (ICD) a century old institution dedicated to supporting the medical and vocational needs of New York’s disadvantaged population. In 2015 Mr.Mannix was appointed a Director of Gales Point Wildlife Sanctuary in Belize, reflecting our long standing investments there as members of the conservation community.
Mr. Mannix attained a BA from Georgetown University in 1981
Greg Kolakowski is a principal of Merchant Equity Group LLC and is primarily responsible for the group’s net lease, sale-leaseback, and 1031 exchange activities. Since 1995 he has spearheaded acquisitions and divested over 40 properties in fifteen states totaling over $300 million.
Prior to joining Merchant Equity, Mr. Kolakowski held various senior development and brokerage positions in the Mid-Atlantic area. While at the Trammel Crow Company, he was the Development Manager and partner in the construction of ten suburban office buildings. At the Julien J. Studley Company, Mr. Kolakowski was a tenant representative for major law firms and corporations, including Gannett, Arnold & Porter, and the Washington Post.
Mr. Kolakowski holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Georgetown University and a Master of Science in Real Estate Finance from George Washington University.
It is with deep sadness that we acknowledge the passing of Jeff Gwin, a founding partner of Merchant Equity, in 2015. Jeff’s contribution to the company and it’s partners over the past twenty years was immense and while we move ahead with confidence and a renewed sense of urgency, Jeff will remain in our thoughts for years to come.