Ming Fung, our Co-Founder / Partner, was selected as Deal Maker of the Year by the PSBJ
Aug 25, 2021
Ming Fung has many responsibilities as a co-founder of Vibrant Cities. She spends most of her time structuring financing and working with commercial lenders, private investors and equity partners.
“As a core team member, I am currently running development of two projects: a mixed-used apartment and hotel project on Capitol Hill and a luxury condominium development onAlki Beach,” she said. “I am also working on entitlement for two additional projects.”
She’s particularly excited about the 37-unit project on Alki Beach, which began right around the time the pandemic hit the region in2020.
Of the projects you are currently involved with, which one is most exciting to you and why?
The Infinity Shore Club Residences at Alki tops my list. Infinity is a luxury condominium project with unencumbered water and Seattle downtown views. Together, our team and I nurtured Infinity from concept to now in-person tours. The opportunity to learn from industry-leading professionals, designers, and construction teams that built iconic buildings was exhilarating at times. Working with future Infinity residents has also elevated my own thinking and widened my perspectives.
Which project that you have been involved with faced the most challenges and how did you overcome them?
An Eastside condominium project was particularly challenging. The city implemented a two-year moratorium and downzoned the parcel during the strongest economic boom in the region. This changewas unanticipated, but our team persevered through many discovery meetings, discussions and conception revisions. Ultimately, our project garnered the support by city stakeholders, and we now have agreement with the city to proceed with a higher density product designed for this very urban location.
How would you describe your leadership style, and how has that contributed to your company’s growth?
I strive for effective communications through crisp and accurate messages. I am present during any interaction as I am not a big fan of multitasking. I anticipate and prepare in advance of meetings and compile facts and past decisions to allow everyone present to make further informed decisions. I find effective communications help build trust with peers.
What was your biggest accomplishment in the past year?
During the pandemic, we still did very well through keeping the apartments in our portfolio at full occupancy while also maintaining profitability and sustainability. Early on, no one really knew how the market would react. Even if we had our buildings full, how many residents would actually pay their rent? What would banks do if they saw temporary down pressures on rents and profitability? Also, what would be the value of the projects that are under construction? Additionally, despite the many unknowns during the pandemic, we were able to secure financing for our 125-unit apartment project adjacent to the new Climate Pledge Arena and refinance other projects. Groundbreakings are always momentous for me.
What was your biggest accomplishment in your current positionsince you’ve held it?
I am grateful to have secured over $250million in financing for Vibrant Cities’ projects. We are also workingon financing an additional over $400 million for other projects. Additionally, we were able to put two more projects under contract during the pandemic which demonstrates our belief in the future of our great city of Seattle.
How would you describe the commercial real estate market in the Puget Sound region?
Seattle’s Fortune 100 companies have propelled Puget Sound onto the global stage. They are attracting other sectors, a more diverse population and big city needs. Change had already arrived, and post-pandemic we will likely see the pace re-accelerate. I anticipate a lot of growth in the coming years.
What is the No. 1 thing you look for in a partner on a deal or project?
I feel alignment and integrity are two inseparable ingredients to a successful partnership. Alignment sets the common vision, and integrity ensures everyone works toward the end goal unencumbered.
What is one thing you wish everyone knew about securing financing for Vibrant Cities’ projects?
Timely execution, and simple term structures are cornerstones of success. We have been blessed to work with very seasoned lenders and we aim to foster enduring relationships.
To watch a replay of the interview, click on the URL below: