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 $18 billion in transactional volume and currently has over $12.5 billion in AUM. 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 $8.5 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.
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 Kinship Capital and Gore Creek 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.