Senior Level Comp at Multi Merchant Developers

What does total annual comp for an average year look like (broken up between base/bonus/carry) at the VP, Director and MD levels at merchant build multi developers?

I know it heavily depends on numerous factors but curious what all in comp generally looks like at a Greystar/Mill Creek/Wood/Alliance/Cresent type shop.

Additionally how do you think this compares to an acquisitions person of an equivalent level at a Multi GP owner/operator? Again, I am aware this is highly dependent on several factors but looking for ball park ranges. Currently at an impasse in my career and evaluating options between multi acquisitions vs development. Any insight or specific data points much appreciated.

 

Based on the most helpful WSO content, compensation at senior levels in merchant build multi developers can vary greatly depending on the company, the individual's experience, and the success of the projects they're involved in.

For a VP/Director level, the base salary can range from $130K-$160K with an unknown bonus. Associates and above start participating in deals so compensation can go into the millions when a deal pays out (usually upon sale, which may be years down the road from when it started).

Comparing this to an acquisitions person at a Multi GP owner/operator, it's important to note that VPs, excluding carry, at finance-heavy firms are mainly the ones to pay this for annual comp. Generous developers or operators will compensate well on the back-end in terms of promote carry, given you stick out the vesting period. Anything above the VP pretty much will make their comp off of commission/promote, with little weight towards base/bonus.

Remember, these are ballpark figures and actual compensation can vary based on a multitude of factors. It's always a good idea to do your own research and consider your own career goals and preferences when making such decisions.

Sources: How many of us are making over $250k?, Life at Mega Developers, Compensation Structure at the mid-management level in Corporate Development / Strategy / Finance, PE Comp Question - VP / Principal Level

I'm an AI bot trained on the most helpful WSO content across 17+ years.
 

VP/Director level is all over the place. Mill Creek has a higher base than the rest. Greystar gives pieces of deals but Crescent does not. Let me ask around and see what I can come up with. 

Commercial Real Estate Developer
 

Amazing, thank you

Not sure how specific I'll be able to get here - relationships are different at each. 

Mill Creek 185k + 25% bonus + milestone bonuses + small piece of deals

Greystar 150k + 25% bonus + larger piece of deals. Complained that he used to get milestone bonuses and now doesn't, which he says is annoying but he ultimately will make more now. 

Both of these numbers look low at first glance, but you gotta remember that the % of pref at sale can be serious, serious money. 

I don't know the guy I know at Alliance well enough to ask I think. Don't know anyone at Wood. Almost everyone I knew at Crescent has left, with glowing things to say about the company, but all mentioned that until you get to MD level you're not getting pieces of deals so they all left to make more money. 

Commercial Real Estate Developer
 
Most Helpful

Figures vary slightly by market but this is a reasonable stab at the "standard" comp by level. Associate is post-MBA level. VP is MBA + 1, Director is MBA+2, and the last level before comp shifts more to being "eat what you kill" based on your own deals (have to successfully source deals on your own to make it past Director)

  • Analyst: ~75k + 10% + very small piece of profit share each year. Likely range of 90-110k, as profit share will be too small to take you higher. Senior Analyst is ~105k + 10-20% + some profit share. Range is likely 135k-200k. All of these pre-mba titles are pretty rare so hard to generalize.
  • Associate: ~140k + 30% + some (small) profit share from earnouts each year. Reasonable range likely 225-325 all in. Can go higher, but more capped than other levels. 
  • VP: ~170k + 50% + some promote/profit share from earnouts each year. Reasonable to expect all in to be in the 350-500 range most years, with good years above that. Bad years unlikely to be under 300 unless your team lost money.
  • Dir: ~200k + 70% + some (increasing) promote/profit share from earnouts each year. Would say reasonable range in most years is 500-700, with good years going higher (and into the 7-figure range at times)

So much of comp is variable as you get to VP and above, so it's hard to give a good ballpark as you could get nearly nothing extra some years (ie only base+bonus), and then have blowout years where you make 3-4x your salary or more. 

FWIW, VP/Director is not considered "Senior Level" here. VP is still considered junior staff (most are early/mid 30s, and have no direct reports), and Director is a mid-level title (most are mid/upper 30s to early 40s, and only rarely have a junior person directly reporting to them). Typical team structure will be one "senior" person responsible for sourcing the deal and handling relationships, with a VP/director as well as ~1-2 associates below them handling execution (we have a separate construction management role/track that is responsible for handling that part of a deal, and is lower paid on average due to receiving less promote/profit sharing). Obviously everyone on that team will be working on multiple deals at once (maybe even with different people on each deal). To move up from director, you have to source your own deal successfully at which point you would then be promoted to a senior level role and have a team under you working on your deal(s).

 

Sheesh, I need to go get an MBA.

Assuming this is a mega developer? (Hines/Tishman/TCC)

 

How confident are you with these numbers? I am fairly certain I work at this firm and I can tell you that everyone's comp expectations (especially the junior guys) have been warped by the crazy market in the last couple of years. Comp packages will be down for the foreseeable future, and even then, unlikely to get back to where they were during the madness of the last run up where everyone was exiting 100 bps below their underwritten cap.

Just something to keep in mind. 

 

Reasonably sure? I’d say the ranges I listed were too low for 2021 and 2022, but likely are a little too high for 2023. Would guess 2024 ends up in the ranges I listed. 
 

I have no clue if you are at the same firm as I am (I changed titles and details so if your titles match the above it’s not the same firm), but everyone made silly money the last few years which definitely warped expectations. However I have a decent bit of info on pre-covid figures across markets and they generally landed in my ranges. 

 

NRP has had the most interesting comp structure I’ve ever heard of. You get portions of the fee income. But if the deal you are putting together falls apart in pre dev - you need to pay back the pre dev dollars to corporate that you spent. I don’t know how this works in practice. Would love to know if someone does. But it’s very interesting to me. Higher highs and lower lows. 

 

Yes, milestone bonuses are also at risk if the deal goes sideways and the development/CM fee gets clawed back. I know of someone at NRP who had to pay back a portion of a milestone bonus received early on in one project because of construction issues that arose towards the end of the job, pre-dispo. 

Any idea how the milestone bonuses are calculated? 

 

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