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 with Chris & Michael Galvin (of the founding family of Motorola). The firm has completed over $10 billion in transactional volume and currently has over $7.5 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 has a series of discretionary, commingled real estate funds including an opportunistic closed end fund series (Funds I-V) and an open-end real estate fund that have raised over $5 billion in equity capital. Recently Fund V, raised over $1 billion in equity commitments in a three month time period. Mr. Merrill is also on the Board and a controlling principal of Harrison Street Securities LLC, a registered investment advisor that currently manages approximately $700 million in REIT securities primarily through three, distinct long only investment vehicles. 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. The company has 65+ employees located in their Chicago office.
Prior to co-founding Harrison Street Real Estate Capital, LLC, 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 $14 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 2010, Crain's Chicago included Mr. Merrill as one of the 40 under 40. National Real Estate Investor Magazine named Mr. Merrill as one of the "10 To Watch" leaders in the real estate industry in 2011. Real Estate Forum named him one of "Chicago's Real Estate Icons" in 2012. In 2013 he was voted one of the top real estate executives in North America as ranked by Private Equity Real Estate ("PERE"). While in 2014 and again in 2015, Mr. Merrill was nominated as Innovator of the Year by CPE Executive.
Mr. Merrill is a member of the the NAREIM Board of Directors, ULI University Development Council, Pension Real Estate Association (PREA), The Real Estate Advisory Board of Kinship Capital and Gore Creek, an Advisory Board member of the Elmspring Cohort, 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.