CA Ventures, a Chicago-based real estate investment holding company, has announced the promotions of three senior executives.
JJ Smith has been named president of CA Student Living, the firm’s student housing investment and development division. In addition, Ben Burke has been promoted to president of CA Senior Living, the company’s senior housing entity, while Matt Booma has been named executive vice-president of the same division.
“Real estate is the second-most-important investment we make as a company,” CA Ventures CEO Tom Scott said in a statement. “Our investment in talent – the people who work tirelessly to bring each deal to fruition – is the reason we’ve been able to take CA Ventures from startup to a $6.3 billion global real estate conglomerate in just over 10 years.”
Smith, 36, has been with CA Ventures since 2007, when he began as a project manager on 309 Green, CA’s first ground-up student housing development, located in Champaign, Ill. During his nearly 10 years with the company, he has overseen more than 40 ground-up developments valued at over $2.5 billion across multiple divisions. In addition to boasting a robust development pipeline, CA Ventures has tripled its corporate headcount in the past three years alone under Smith’s leadership.
“Ever since my first encounter with JJ, I knew his can-do attitude combined with his real estate expertise would be instrumental in fueling our expansion,” said Scott. “His passion and creative approach to each deal are an inspiration to his team members and everyone at this company, which wouldn’t be the same without his leadership skills.”
Smith holds a bachelor’s degree in architectural studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Master of Business Administration in real estate and finance from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Ben Burke, 33, joined CA Ventures in 2015 just as the firm was increasing its focus on the senior housing category. During his first two years at CA Senior Living, Burke worked on closing seven high-profile deals valued at $210 million and helped to create and implement a data-driven market selection approach designed to augment the company’s existing investment strategy. He previously served as vice president of development and investor relations at Spectrum Retirement Communities, where he was directly involved in the development of 20 communities comprising 2,300 units across nine states.
“I knew our experience in student and multifamily housing would translate well in the senior sector, but I also knew that we’d need to be decisive in our team-building and strategic in our planning,” Scott said. “In short order, Ben has created a pipeline of opportunities second to none in the senior living industry. He is a terrific asset to the senior living team and has seamlessly merged his experience and vision with the company’s plans for continued growth.”
Burke holds a bachelor’s degree in real estate from the University of Denver.
Also rising through the ranks at CA Senior Living is Matt Booma, 36, who came to CA Ventures in 2013 as a member of the student housing and multifamily development teams. Booma brings more than a decade of architecture experience to the firm through prior positions at Lucien Lagrange Architects and Perkins+Will. He eventually transitioned to the CA Senior Living team, helping pave the way to opening CA’s first two senior developments. In his new role, Booma will continue to lead development activities for the division.
“Matt is a go-getter who shares our vision for providing best-in-class residential options designed to facilitate the active lifestyle so many older adults seek,” said Scott. “His knowledge will continue to inform our growth strategy – both locally and nationally – in the senior housing sector.”
Booma holds a bachelor’s degree in applied science and master’s of architecture from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.