Mr. Merrill is the Co-Founder, President and CEO of Harrison Street Real Estate Capital, LLC, a real estate private equity firm he co-founded in 2005 that has completed over $16.9 billion in transactional volume and currently has over $12.8 billion in AUM. Mr. Merrill is also a Member of the Board of Directors and Chairman of the Investment & Management Committees of the Company. The firm was an innovator and early adopter of a focused investment strategy around the Education, Healthcare and Storage segments of the real estate market. Investments have been made through a series of discretionary, commingled real estate funds including an opportunistic closed end fund series (Funds I-VI) and an open-end real estate fund that have raised over $8.6 billion in discretionary equity capital. Investors in these funds come from over seven countries and include US, European and Asian Pension Funds, Corporate Plans, Insurance Companies, Endowments, Foundations and family offices. Other firm platforms include a European Student Housing strategy as well as a Real Estate Securities practice. The firm has offices in Chicago and London.
Prior to co-founding Harrison Street, Mr. Merrill was a partner, owner and Managing Director of a large US Pension Fund Advisory firm where he developed the firm's presence in Europe, creating the first ever real estate funds exclusively targeting the markets of Central Europe. This initial fund was one of the Top 10 performing global funds during vintage years 1996-2000 as noted by Preqin.
Over his career Mr. Merrill has worked to create differentiated real estate products which have acquired and/or developed over $15 billion of real estate in both the U.S. and Europe. Since 2000, Mr. Merrill has led the launch and oversight of numerous distinct, discretionary real estate funds throughout the US and Europe which have raised over $8.0 billion in combined equity. Mr. Merrill has been active in many segments of the property markets, and has established and implemented over 75 joint-ventures with real estate operating partners across the U.S. and Europe.
Mr. Merrill has appeared in numerous real estate journals and speaking engagements regarding investing in the U.S. and Europe. In recent years, National Real Estate Investor Magazine has named him one of the "10 To Watch" leaders in the industry, PERE nominated him as one of the top real estate executives in North America and Real Estate Forum named him one of “Chicago's Real Estate Icons.”
Mr. Merrill is a member of the NAREIM Board of Directors, Pension Real Estate Association (PREA), The Real Estate Advisory Board of two Chicago based family offices (Gore Creek and Kinship Capital), The First Tee of Greater Chicago Board, The Economic Club of Chicago, the Chicago Commonwealth Club and the Young Presidents Organization (YPO). Mr. Merrill earned his MBA in the evening from the CASS school of business in London, England.