Leadership Profile: Ron Mehl
Monday, April 30, 2018
Posted by: Emily Nilsen
Each month Housing Colorado profiles a member volunteer who serves on a committee or another volunteer opportunity. This profile features members who have shown great commitment to the mission of Housing Colorado.
As Vice President & Project Partner with Dominium, Ron Mehl is responsible for new project development, acquisitions and financing. In addition, he analyzes new acquisition opportunities, determines project feasibility, oversees design and construction, partnership restructuring, and negotiations with lenders, investors and third party vendors. Mr. Mehl has played an integral role developing Dominium’s senior housing portfolio. He is involved in the re-syndication of Dominium’s existing portfolio of original tax credit projects throughout the Midwest. In 2016, he opened a Dominium Development office in Denver, Co. and is growing the existing Dominium portfolio in a fast paced, growing economy with great attainable housing needs. In the past, Mr. Mehl has been directly involved with new project development, financing, acquisitions and asset management for a commercial developer. He also worked to support the management of a $400 million portfolio and assisted in the restructuring of $50 million of debt and $40 million of equity.
Mr. Mehl is a graduate of Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, Calif. with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a minor in Accounting. Mr. Mehl is a volunteer with Housing Colorado’s NOW! Annual Conference, serving on the Workshop Committee. Mr. Mehl also contributes to 3 Hopeful Hearts which provides bereaved parents and families opportunities to honor, find hope and seek healing through events, support, education and remembrance. Mr. Mehl is a founding contributor to the Dominium Charitable Partners Fund which contributes to important housing and social service organizations in the communities where Dominium operates.
How did you end up in affordable housing?
Out of college, I went into real estate. I worked as an accountant for a Real Estate Investment Trust, then for a commercial office brokerage company, and tin 1996, I started working as an accountant at Dominium.
Shortly after starting at Dominium, I was asked to join their Development team to assist with the underwriting and takeover of a large portfolio. I quickly realized that I enjoyed the development side of the business and wanted to continue on creating and preserving affordable housing.
I have been enthusiastic about affordable housing development since that initial exposure.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Each development poses its own set of unique challenges from site conditions, financing challenges, changing market conditions, etc. I enjoy the puzzle solving that it takes to see a development from concept to completion. Doing this with the added benefit of creating much needed affordable housing in Colorado, is incredibly rewarding.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
It is always shocking when I hear prejudicial and stereotyped attitudes towards affordable housing. When we are proposing a new development, some people come to the initial meetings with preconceived ideas. Educating people on the facts around what affordable housing is can be a challenge. We have been successful overcoming many of these opinions, showing a track record of creating exceptional properties with actual evidence of what happens over time to surrounding property values.
How did you get involved with Housing Colorado?
Dominium has had a presence in the affordable housing arena in Colorado since 1998 – we gained a presence with acquisition rehabilitation opportunities.
In 2015, I had the opportunity to expand our footprint and open a development office in the Denver area with an emphasis on new construction developments. I realized that doing these types of developments would pose challenges with a different affordable housing toolbox from other markets. To meet these challenges it made sense to seek out organizations that would allow us to expand our network quickly. In order to do this, Housing Colorado was the perfect organization to get involved with. My involvement with Housing Colorado started with attending the Housing Now Conference in 2015.
How do you currently serve Housing Colorado and what do you enjoy most about volunteering?
After attending the Housing Now Conference in 2015, I volunteered to be on the Workshop Selection Committee for the 2016 Conference and I have been on this committee every year since. It’s great to see all the RFP submittals from various groups. Contributing to the conference is a fantastic way to give back to the community we all work in.
What are some exciting progressions or projects currently going on in your work?
We are underway with a 216 unit new construction development in Commerce City - North Range Crossings. We will deliver the first two buildings for occupancy in July and will be 100% complete with the entire development in January 2019.
Dominium’s second new construction in Denver is a 252 unit development - East Range Crossing. We broke ground in January of this year and it will be completed in June of 2019. We also have a number of similar developments in the municipal approval process including a few affordable senior housing opportunities.
What project, program or undertaking are you most proud of and why?
I am extremely proud of the development team we have working on Colorado opportunities. We have been able to get some large affordable developments underway in a relatively short amount of time.
What is the best career advice you have ever been given?
The advice that has helped me the most in my career was not advice but rather watching my parents –how they never gave up on anything that they were passionate about.
Who has been an instrumental mentor through your career so far or who do you look up to?
I have been fortunate to work under some great individuals. In my early years, as a Development Associate, I worked for a Project Partner at Dominium; Wally Johnson who I learned a lot from. He kept the development process simple and he was fantastic at cultivating relationships and maintaining them.
What website(s) do you find useful in your work?
Novogradac & Company’s website is an affordable housing resource that I find myself going to at least once a week.
If you were given the chance to go on a vacation to any place of your choosing, where would you go and what would you do?
I have always wanted to go to Italy. Visiting the Colosseum in Rome would be amazing – a 2,000 year old monument that held over 50,000 people is something that I don’t want to miss.
What’s your favorite restaurant in Colorado?
Tamoyo on Larimer Street – they serve fantastic traditional Mexican dishes.
What book are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it?
The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War. I like history and I am enjoying it. This book provided plenty of information on history and policies that led to and shaped the war. It’s especially interesting given the current politics surrounding Korea.