Although he was born and raised in Washington D.C., Firas Turkmani is a life-long world traveler. With an eclectic background consisting of being half Korean (mom) and half Lebanese (dad), both of his parents are immigrants. The family has always enjoyed traveling together, and Firas has already visited 46 different countries over the past 27 years of his life. “I think hospitality has always been running through my veins,” Firas says.
After graduating high school, Firas attended the Cornell School of Hotel Administration in New York. He selected Cornell because of its reputation for having one of the strongest networks of any university. In fact, the school prides itself on the alumni staying connected and engaged.
Therefore, after Firas earned a Bachelor of Science degree with a minor in real estate in 2014, he became a board member of the Cornell Real Estate Council in hopes of establishing a proper program for alumni who are in the real estate industry to stay connected post-graduation.
Firas began his career as a financial analyst with Wells Fargo. He worked in the Hospitality Finance Group analyzing key credit metrics including capitalization, cash flow, sponsorship, and coverage levels. During his time with the company, Firas helped originate more than $300 million of fixed- and floating-rate loans.
Today, Firas is a Director with Ackman-Ziff’s Hospitality Group where he assists in the origination and placement of debt and joint venture equity. Since joining the group in 2014, he has closed over $3 billion in raised proceeds across redevelopment, ground-up, acquisition, leasehold, and specialty structures. At the firm level, Ackman-Ziff facilitates approximately $6 billion per year in raised proceeds across all asset classes.
However, according to Firas, what sets Ackman-Ziff apart from other capital advisors is not the amount of money they raise each year, but rather the integrity and ethos of the firm. Ackman-Ziff is a privately held boutique real estate capital advisory firm with over 90 years of business experience and a reputation for building long-lasting relationships with their clients. Firas explains that clients choose their firm because they know that Ackman-Ziff’s professionals genuinely care about honest communication and managing expectations for both the client and capital sources.
Firas is looking forward to building his next chapter at the firm as a leader in the hospitality industry. He says that being surrounded by intelligent and ethical professionals is the ideal environment for success. Additionally, having a background in hospitality has been essential to understanding both the operational and capital structure of hotel finance. Working for Ackman-Ziff has given him the confidence to optimistically look forward in the future, regardless of market conditions. He believes that a more volatile market provides abundant opportunity to help clients, because it is during the rough times that people are in most need of an advisor.
Director of Hospitality Group
Ackman-Ziff Real Estate Group
711 3rd Avenue, 11th Floor
New York, NY 10017