Mukang Cho got his real estate start as a lawyer, working on some low-key transactions such as the $1.4 billion sale of the GM Building to Harry Macklowe in 2003. He founded Morning Calm Management in 2014 with a focus on special situation investing, before teaming up with Christian Dalzell, founder of Dalzell Capital Partners, to form Counter Capital Management in May. The joint venture invests in multifamily and mixed-use projects, and Philly is its first stop

Commercial Observer: Where did you grow up?

Mukang Cho : I was born in Korea, but I spent most of my life in Europe and Latin America. My father was in the Korean foreign service, so we had a pretty itinerant lifestyle. Some of the countries we lived in were Argentina, Mexico, Peru, Guatemala, Ecuador and Spain. But I came to the U.S. as a boarding student when I was a sophomore.

Do you speak many languages?

I speak Spanish and Korean, but English is my dominant language.

How did you get your first taste of real estate?

After graduating from law school, I practiced corporate real estate law for a few years. But in the back of my mind I always knew that I wanted to do something that combined things I liked as well as the different skills that I’d developed. Real estate became an industry that made a lot of sense to me. Perhaps just from growing up in so many different places, I had this early fascination with buildings and architecture.When I was at Cornell [University] as an undergrad I almost became an architect, because they have a pretty prominent school of architecture. [Cho has a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a B.A. From Cornell University].

One of your first real estate transactions as a lawyer was working on the sale of the General Motors Building to Harry Macklowe in the early 2000s.

Yes. I believe it was the largest single-asset transaction in the history of commercial real estate at the time. I was an associate at Kirkland & Ellis and we represented [seller] Conseco; they […]

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