Charles F. Wu

Senior Lecturer of Business Administration

Charles Wu is a Managing Director and founding partner of BayNorth Capital, a private real estate equity firm based in Boston.  The BayNorth team has invested approximately $2.6 billion of capital for seven distinct funds for 45 institutional clients.  Investments include equity, participating debt, joint ventures, land acquisitions and partnerships.

Prior to co-founding BayNorth Capital in July 2004, Charlie co-founded the private equity firm Charlesbank Capital Partners in July 1998 and was a Managing Director of its predecessor firm, Harvard Private Capital Group, the private equity and real estate investment unit of Harvard Management Company.  Before joining Harvard Private Capital in 1995, Charlie was a Managing Director at Aldrich Eastman & Waltch, where he directed the restructuring group and was a portfolio manager.  Prior to AEW, Charlie worked at Morgan Stanley in their corporate finance department.

Charlie has an MBA, with distinction, and a BA, magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard University. 

Charlie serves on the Facilities and Capital Planning Advisory Committee for the Harvard Corporation and is on the Board of Trustees of Newton Wellesley Hospital.  He was a founding Board member of the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy , is a past President of the Newton Schools Foundation, and has chaired Boston Mayor Menino’s Economic Advisory Board.  Since 2006, Charlie has been a frequent lecturer at Harvard’s and Dartmouth’s Tuck Schools of Business. 

Cases and Teaching Materials

  1. Real Estate in China: A Technical Note for SOHO China

    Charles F. Wu

    A technical note on the state of Chinese commercial real estate and the effects of China's slowing growth. This note was written in conjunction with the case study "SOHO China: Transformation in Progress."

    Keywords: China; real estate; Commercial Real Estate; Beijing; Shanghai; REIT; gdp; Economic Growth; Real Estate Industry; Shanghai; Beijing;

    Citation:

    Wu, Charles F. "Real Estate in China: A Technical Note for SOHO China." Harvard Business School Technical Note 217-029, September 2016. View Details
  2. Songy 2011: Restructuring to Survive (Or, Surviving to Restructure?)

    Charles F. Wu and Alexander W. Schultz

    In 2011, Songy Partners, an Atlanta based real estate developer, was facing three distressed investments within their portfolio each with distinct sets of challenges. Having weathered a myriad of issues during the Global Financial Crisis which included operational shortfalls, failed partnerships, bankruptcies, lender consolidations, lagging tenant demand, low investment liquidity, and pending loan maturities, Songy needed a path forward for these three assets. Songy’s lenders were threatening to foreclose on all three properties and also call on corporate guarantees. The case addresses Songy’s decisions leading up to and during the crisis. Which of the firm’s challenges might have been avoidable, did the company have any leverage with its creditors, what tactics might the company employ to save its properties? Within this context, what are Songy’s responsibilities to his investors?

    Keywords: distressed debt; real estate; limited partners; valuation; cap rates; Partners and Partnerships; Valuation; Investment; Property; Borrowing and Debt; Real Estate Industry; Atlanta;

    Citation:

    Wu, Charles F., and Alexander W. Schultz. "Songy 2011: Restructuring to Survive (Or, Surviving to Restructure?) ." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 217-014, August 2016. View Details
  3. Songy 2011: Restructuring to Survive (Or, Surviving to Restructure?)

    Charles F. Wu

    In 2011, Songy Partners, an Atlanta based real estate developer, was facing three distressed investments within their portfolio each with distinct sets of challenges. Having weathered a myriad of issues during the Global Financial Crisis which included operational shortfalls, failed partnerships, bankruptcies, lender consolidations, lagging tenant demand, low investment liquidity, and pending loan maturities, Songy needed a path forward for these three assets. Songy's lenders were threatening to foreclose on all three properties and also call on corporate guarantees. The case addresses Songy's decisions leading up to and during the crisis. Which of the firm's challenges might have been avoidable, did the company have any leverage with its creditors, what tactics might the company employ to save its properties? Within this context, what are Songy's responsibilities to his investors?

    Keywords: real estate; distressed debt; Global Financial Crisis; valuation; foreclosure; partnership; Partners and Partnerships; Valuation; Global Range; Insolvency and Bankruptcy; Property; Financial Crisis; Real Estate Industry; Atlanta;

    Citation:

    Wu, Charles F. "Songy 2011: Restructuring to Survive (Or, Surviving to Restructure?)." Harvard Business School Case 217-012, August 2016. View Details
  4. To Buy or What to Buy: Your First Home

    Charles F. Wu and Daniel Woodbury

    This is the teaching note to the case "To Buy or What to Buy: Your First Home."

    Keywords: real estate; Property; Housing; Real Estate Industry; United States;

    Citation:

    Wu, Charles F., and Daniel Woodbury. "To Buy or What to Buy: Your First Home." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 216-011, August 2015. (Revised January 2016.) View Details
  5. To Buy or What to Buy: Your First Home

    Charles F. Wu, Steven Hirsch, Beatrice Liem, Kevin Ryan and Derrick Snyder

    Peter and Kate Rose are a young couple looking to buy their first home in the Boston area. They have narrowed down a target list to three homes, but are also considering whether it makes sense to buy a home in the first place. They must make decisions regarding which home to buy, a price, a broker, a mortgage package, and how to source a down payment. Both quantitative and qualitative factors are considered in their decision making.

    Keywords: real estate; real assets; Housing; Investing; personal investing; brokerage; Housing; Property; Private Ownership; Investment; Real Estate Industry; United States; Boston; New England; Massachusetts; North America;

    Citation:

    Wu, Charles F., Steven Hirsch, Beatrice Liem, Kevin Ryan, and Derrick Snyder. "To Buy or What to Buy: Your First Home." Harvard Business School Case 215-080, June 2015. (Revised January 2016.) View Details
  6. Making Room for the Baby Boom: Senior Living

    Charles F. Wu and Ben Eppler

    Tom Alperin's firm National Development is an experienced multifamily and commercial developer in the Northeast. It has a strong track record for working on challenging projects, delivering high quality products and generating strong returns for his investors. The firm purchased a well-located, heavily trafficked site in the wealthy suburb of Wellesley, Massachusetts. The highly visible site has a tarnished history as a result of the previous owners' attempts to force a 68,000 sf retail project upon the town.

    The team believes that the town of Wellesley would be more accepting to development if the project could help address the senior living needs of the aging resident population as well as satisfy some of the mandated state requirements for affordable housing.

    They are trying to decide whether to build apartments, their demonstrated expertise, a combination of independent living and assisted living, areas in which they have some experience, or perhaps consider higher acuity facilities.

    Keywords: Housing; Age; Investment Return; Construction Industry; Real Estate Industry; Massachusetts;

    Citation:

    Wu, Charles F., and Ben Eppler. "Making Room for the Baby Boom: Senior Living." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 215-029, October 2014. View Details
  7. Overview of Senior Housing in the United States

    Charles F. Wu and Joseph Beyer

    This technical note provides an overview of the senior housing industry in the United States. There were 40 million seniors in America in 2010, and that number was expected to double by 2050. Seniors would make up 1 in every five Americans. This note explores the living options available to this important and fast-growing demographic.

    Keywords: real estate; Senior Living; finance; retirement homes; Development; Property; Finance; Entrepreneurship; Real Estate Industry; Massachusetts; United States;

    Citation:

    Wu, Charles F., and Joseph Beyer. "Overview of Senior Housing in the United States." Harvard Business School Technical Note 215-005, August 2014. (Revised August 2015.) View Details
  8. Making Room for the Baby Boom: Senior Living

    Charles F. Wu, Joseph Beyer and Arthur I. Segel

    Tom Alperin's National Development has purchased a building site in affluent Wellesley, MA, and is in the process of deciding whether to build apartments, a combination of independent living and assisted living units for seniors, or perhaps even higher acuity facilities.

    The case describes several issues for the continuum of senior care alternatives for residents and developers. What motivates seniors to leave their homesteads for much smaller spaces? How can they afford to do so? What are the physical as well as operational challenges for operators when serving the different levels of acuity?

    The case also describes what zoning issues may be faced by developers who seek to build in attractive but challenging neighborhoods. Furthermore, how can a successful operator branch out into new businesses? When should the operator form joint ventures to help them achieve their strategic ends?

    Analytical tools discussed include: development metrics, impact of financing on projects, as well as analytical methods to forecast market demand.

    Keywords: Senior Living; Assisted Living; Independent Living; Property; Finance; Real Estate Industry; Boston; Massachusetts; United States;

    Citation:

    Wu, Charles F., and Joseph Beyer. "Making Room for the Baby Boom: Senior Living." Harvard Business School Case 215-003, July 2014. (Revised May 2015.) View Details
  9. Technical Note on Financial Leverage in Real Estate

    Charles F. Wu and Arthur I Segel

    Demonstrates the accelerating impact of leverage on returns under differing scenarios of property performance. The performance scenarios represent two points in time: the inception of the investment and the liquidation.

    Keywords: Property; Investment; Real Estate Industry;

    Citation:

    Wu, Charles F., and Arthur I Segel. "Technical Note on Financial Leverage in Real Estate." Harvard Business School Technical Note 208-041, August 2007. (Revised April 2012.) View Details