Fifteen Group Expands Real Estate Investment Platform; Adds Staff in Miami and Los Angeles Offices

Justin Toal named Chief Investment Officer

MIAMI BEACH, Fla.--()--As part of efforts to expand its platform to capitalize on burgeoning real estate acquisition and development opportunities, Miami-based Fifteen Group has added a Chief Investment Officer and other principals in its Miami and Los Angeles offices.

Founded by Mark and Ian Sanders in 1992, Fifteen Group has owned and operated various commercial properties, land, and nearly 20,000 multifamily units in 11 states, with a historically strong emphasis on the Florida and California markets.

The Sanders see opportunities for new growth in Florida and California, and have added team members in Miami and in Los Angeles to pursue acquisitions and development across all product types.

In Miami, Justin Toal has joined Fifteen Group as Managing Principal and Chief Investment Officer, and Matthew Vander Werff has been named Vice President. In Fifteen Group’s Los Angeles office, Justin Barth has joined as a Principal.

Toal will assume operational leadership and oversee current and future investments, as well as the day-to-day operations of Fifteen Group. He most recently served as Managing Partner of Simmons Vedder and Castle Hill Partners for the past five years, opening the Florida office for both firms.

“We are extremely pleased with the new additions to the Fifteen Group team," said Fifteen Group Co-Founder Mark Sanders. "In Justin and Justin we feel like we are partnering up with younger versions of ourselves. We are confident that the depth and breadth of what we will accomplish during these interesting market times will prove quite special.”

“Justin Toal is very disciplined in his investment approach, but not at the expense of entrepreneurship,” said Fifteen Group Co-Founder Ian Sanders. “That combination was very appealing to us.”

Previously, Toal served as Vice President of Acquisitions for O’Connor Capital Partners, a New York-based real estate private equity firm where he was involved in the investment, management, and development of more than $2 billion in real estate transactions. He holds a graduate degree in Real Estate Development from Columbia University.

“Fifteen Group was conservative during the frothy peak and patient through the recovery. They didn’t buy too late or too early, and, as a result, we're now extremely well-positioned to move into an acquisition and development period and capitalize on deeply depressed prices and improving market fundamentals,” Toal said. “We have deep expertise in residential, office, retail, and land, and in all phases from entitlement to repositioning to value-add and opportunistic acquisitions. It's important to be entrepreneurial and versatile in this cycle, and Fifteen Group is poised to react quickly to opportunities across the spectrum.”

Also based in Miami, Vander Werff will focus on acquisitions and asset management. Previously, Vander Werff served as a Senior Associate at Simmons Vedder and Castle Hill Partners in Miami.

As Principal of the Los Angeles office, Barth will focus on acquisition and development opportunities in California, with a strong focus on Los Angeles. Prior to this role, he served as co-president of Genton Barth Real Estate Group, a Los Angeles-based real estate development and investment firm focused on value-added, opportunistic investments.

He has a wealth of experience across all product types and has been extremely successful perfecting entitlements in difficult situations. Barth will join Executive Vice President and Principal Steven Fink in anchoring Fifteen Group’s Los Angeles presence.

“There are some tremendous buying opportunities in Southern California right now, most particularly in unimproved land and abandoned development projects,” Barth said. “I have known Fifteen Group’s founders for many years, and have followed their growth with keen interest. Most impressive has been their discipline and sense of timing, having monetized the bulk of a very significant apartment portfolio between 2005 and 2007.”

Previously, Barth served as Vice President of a subsidiary of Watt Companies, a Santa Monica-based real estate acquisition and development firm. Barth holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Arizona.

“Justin is a great fit for us,” said Mark Sanders. “He has a keen eye for opportunity and has deep, broad-based experience in one of our primary target markets.”

Fifteen Group also announced that Director of Asset Management Dave Sherbal has been promoted to Principal, and Associate Justin Onorato has been promoted to Senior Associate.

About Fifteen Group

Fifteen Group is a real estate-focused private investment firm based in Miami, Florida. Fifteen Group's investment activities are opportunity-driven, value-added acquisition and development projects. Historically, Fifteen Group concentrated primarily on the multifamily sector, but has evolved to include expertise in the office, retail, mixed-use, industrial, and land development sectors. Currently the firm invests in all major real estate asset classes, in real estate secured debt, and in corporate private equity transactions. Fifteen Group ( also has offices in Los Angeles.


for Fifteen Group
Randy James, 310-974-6684

Release Summary

As part of efforts to expand its platform, Miami-based Fifteen Group has added a Chief Investment Officer and other principals in its Miami and Los Angeles offices.


for Fifteen Group
Randy James, 310-974-6684