November 13, 2023

People You Should Know: Darragh Griffin

Darragh Griffin is a Principal and President of Essex Capital Markets. He joined the company after a 22-year career in banking, most recently in Chicago as an Executive Vice President at Wintrust Financial Corporation, where he was responsible for multiple commercial real estate loan production groups.

Over the course of his career, Darragh has been directly involved in more than $5 billion of real estate transactions across multi-housing, senior housing, office, industrial and logistics, life sciences, retail and single tenant net leased assets.

Q: You are a known entity in the Chicago banking and commercial real estate communities. Why did you decide to leave a successful banking career and join Essex Capital Markets as employee #1?
In the last year there have been instances and situations in the traditional lending space that have driven people to start thinking differently. I knew there were better ways for people to find financing in the real estate world. I also knew that the traditional lending model was becoming redundant. I felt like banking was becoming cumbersome in terms of the amount of bureaucracy involved when it comes to getting a deal across the line, and this was the time to be innovative and entrepreneurial, especially when delivering capital to the market. And personally, the opportunity to put an imprint on a new company and work with great people was too tempting to pass up!

Q: What are your thoughts about how Essex Realty Group and Essex Capital Markets will play together in the real estate space?
I really wanted to align myself with a company or person who had an outstanding reputation in the market, years of a proven track record for cultivating successful relationships, and success developing the next generation of real estate professionals. To me, Essex Realty Group was that platform. The way Essex conducts business and handles client relations through the sales process is superior compared to other entities. Personally, I have always built my own brand on my reputation. I am an honest and hardworking individual, and I have encountered that same sense of dedication and work ethic in Essex. That is where the partnership formed: two entities that have a strong ethical reputation in the market and a track record of industry expertise delivering exceptional service and advice to their clients. That was the key to starting this platform and that is why Essex Realty Group was the clear choice.

Q: How does your background factor into the success of Essex Capital Markets?
As part of Chicago’s financial landscape for the last 20 years, I’ve been exposed to the top finance houses and high caliber executives in finance and real estate. I have had the privilege of forming relationships with these people and institutions, including Essex Capital Markets. I have the breadth and depth of experience in lending in different formats, in cities across this beautiful country. I know I have the knowledge, relationships, and connections to make Essex Capital Markets successful.

Q: Is there an unmet need Essex Capital Markets can fill?
In Chicago and in the country in general, mid-market investment sales firms don’t have a dedicated capital markets team. There is an inherent need in the market to bridge that gap and provide the service to those clients. Essex Capital Markets is going to be the conduit to make that work. In a time of macroeconomic headwinds, people need solutions for their financing. Having the ability to access relationships that have been built over the years and working with key decision makers within those institutions will really put us in a prime position to help people navigate this turbulent time.

Q: What is your long-term vision for the company?
My long-term vision for Essex Capital Markets is to build a group of people who are successful, ambitious, ethically responsible, and customer focused. We are going to be providing unbelievable customer service to clients, and we are going to do it in a manner that is rewarding for everyone.

People who join our team will have a unique advantage to grow with this organization, to take the lead in certain facets of what we are trying to do from the origination side, to building out custodian models with agency financers. That is going to be key. I look forward to empowering the team to build their own personal brand within our company. My goal is for our team to be proud of where they work and the leadership behind the company. It’s a tremendous responsibility and one I take very seriously.

Q. What type of culture do you envision?
The culture we will foster here will be one of inclusion. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are from, your thoughts and ideas are valued here. That is important, especially for people who are looking for something different in their career. There will be opportunities here that are different from a traditional corporate environment. Essex Capital Markets is changing the face of providing capital sources to clients.

Q: Aside from forming the team and getting the company launched, what are you looking forward to the most with Essex Capital Markets?
I am looking forward to building relationships the most. I have found that by providing ethical, and honest advice, people come back and trust you as an advisor. Lending is about relationship development, and I love forming friendships during the financing of an asset. I like seeing something tangible at the end of it, but more than anything else, it is the relationships and friendships that you build up during that business cycle. Working with creative, entrepreneurial individuals and seeing their vision come to reality–while also and being able to help them through the process–really is what gets me out of bed in the morning.

Q: How would you describe the Essex Capital Markets brand?
Essex Capital Markets will be a brand that stands for integrity built on the fundamentals of providing straightforward, honest advice to clients. It’s not about tracking the last dollar of remuneration. There is an inherent need for a mid-market capital markets group that will take care of every single investor. Not just someone who will only take a certain dollar size; that is an important distinction for us. Essex Capital Markets will be the team that advocates for our clients whether it is a $1 million transaction or $100 million transaction. Everyone deserves the same level of service and guidance, and we aim to deliver that to each and every client.

Essex Capital Markets, LLC
2718 W. Roscoe St.
Suite 100A
Chicago, IL 60618
Phone: 773.305.4900
Fax: 773.305.4901


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