Chief Executive Officer
Mr. Vilkin serves as CEO of Universal Paragon and is delighted to shepherd the Baylands and associated developments to completion as world class communities that can demonstrate a new way of living and creating community. Mr. Vilkin has nearly four decades of investment, development and management experience and has been fortunate enough to lead teams that have created in excess of $10B in residential, retail, hospitality, office, industrial and master-planned communities in markets throughout the United States.
Immediately prior to joining UPC Mr. Vilkin served as President of Related California Residential where he lead Related California’s market-rate, luxury and mixed-income residential development throughout the state. He oversaw a $2 billion pipeline of residential opportunities in key markets including San Francisco, Santa Clara and Los Angeles,
Prior to joining Related, Mr. Vilkin served as managing principal and president of MacFarlane Partners, and served in various capacities for Forest City Enterprises, a publicly held real estate operating and development company with assets nationwide. For more than 10 years, he served as president of Forest City’s real estate businesses that operated in the western United States, Forest City West and Forest City Stapleton. The two businesses developed and owned a wide range of properties, including high-density apartments and condominiums, office buildings, retail centers and large-scale mixed-use projects. Mr. Vilkin lead the development of the largest redevelopment project in the US by purchasing, remediating and redeveloping the Stapleton International Airport into a mixed use community that now encompasses over 4,700 acres including over 12,000 homes, 5 Million square feet of commercial spaces and over 1100 acres of parks and open space.
Mr. Vilkin holds a bachelor’s degree in Finance from California State University at Northridge. He serves on the board of directors of the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation, Friends of the Children and Combined Properties.. He is also a member of the Urban Land Institute, the Congress for the New Urbanism and the Young President’s Organization.
Universal Paragon Corporation (UPC) is committed to a higher level of thought about the communities that we create. We recognize that in order to solve the great climate challenges we have, we need to make changes to the way we live. We no longer can environmentally afford the continued development of Greenfields. We must start to recycle and reuse land that is infill and adjacent to transit.
Most of that land has environmental challenges and is currently used as industrial land and by definition is a Brownfield. That is where we choose to develop. It is more complicated, it is more costly and it is more challenging to reuse land and increase the density for the adjacent community. BUT it is necessary that we build our way out of the problems we created during the 20th century. That is our mission and one that we are excited about tackling. The result of those efforts will mean a better and brighter future for the San Francisco and Brisbane communities, delivered by a team of highly committed and experienced professionals in sustainable development practices and projects.
This vision capitalizes on the benefits of the strategic location of the properties owned by UPC, Transit adjacent and minutes away from Downtown San Francisco, and adjacent to major job centers located on the Peninsula. That location when integrated with cutting-edge trends in sustainable design, transit oriented districts, multi-modal transportation, and livability and convenience of being able to work-live-shop as a pedestrian allows us to break our dependence on the automobile.
Our goal is to align our core values with the greater community, to whom we aim to serve, and with their help and assistance create a place that is better, safer and more sustainable than when we found it. By increasing our density in this way and providing an alternative to being car dependent we can positively impact our collective footprint and make a difference.
We welcome you to join us in this journey.
All the best.
Chief Financial Officer
Mr. Chao serves as Chief Financial Officer of Universal Paragon Group with primary responsibility for project financing, managing and communicating financial performance, as well as oversight of the firm’s liquidity, capital structure and profitability. He leads project underwriting, banking relations, and heads the accounting department. Prior to joining UPC, he was the Director of Finance and Asset Management at Starwood Waypoint Residential trust, where he oversaw 10 private funds and REIT totaling over $3.5B in AUM. He was instrumental in various operating functions helping expand their residential portfolio across seven states and its eventual public spinoff from Starwood Property Trust. In addition, he helped secure a $245M revolving credit facility, a unique facility that allowed the company to continue to acquire, renovate and expand its portfolio. Previously, at Jay Paul Company, he helped manage the financing and development of over 2M square feet of office development. Over his 20-year career, he has completed over $3B in property transactions and financing on both residential and commercial assets. Mr. Chao has also worked at Duff & Phelps, LLC in their Real Estate Valuation and Advisory group and began his career as an Investment Analyst at DivcoWest properties.
Director of Planning & Procurement
Mr. Castelan has more than 10 years of experience on Planning & Development of large scale projects, in sectors including Hotels, Residential & Multifamily, Commercial & Retail, Mixed-use & office, Entertainment, Healthcare, High-tech Data Centers (Facebook), as well as Economic Development Public Policy.
Holding 4 graduate degrees, Mr. Castelan has been recognized as one of the architects with most solid academic background in the US, including an MBA (UNAM) as well as a Master of Urban Planning & Development, a Master in Public Administration and a Graduate Certificate in Real Estate Development from the University of Southern California.
In 2012, Mr. Castelan was honored as the youngest VP of the National Architects College, as such, becoming a published Author and an international conference speaker in Real Estate Development Entrepreneurship.
Director of Environmental and Engineering
Mr. Pearce has 40 years of experience in the design and construction of Civil Engineering projects and the Environmental Cleanup of Brownfield Sites. Sectors of experience include Single and Multifamily Residential, Commercial Office & Retail Sites, Bioscience Campuses, Healthcare Facilities, and Hotels.
Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering – University of Nevada
Mr. Pearce is Registered as a Civil Engineer and a Land Surveyor as well as a Licensed General Contractor in the State of California. He is also a LEED Certified AP.
Vice President of Land Development
Mr. Cullina is Vice President of Land Development for Universal Paragon Corporation.
Prior to UPC, Mr. Cullina was Senior Director of Development for the Vista Canyon master planned community; a 185-acre transit-oriented development in Santa Clarita CA.
Kevin has over 30 years of land & building development and corporate real estate experience representing principals from a diverse set of industries that include; private equity firms, real estate developers, technology companies, industrial, petrochemical and entertainment. Mr. Cullina has expertise in land entitlements, pro forma modeling and construction management that spans various project types; In-fill new “ground up” building structures, adaptive reuse building development, mission critical facilities, environmental “brownfield” redevelopment, mixed-use retail & office, multi-family, distribution centers and water treatment plants. Recent and current projects include; Bobrick Washroom Equipment’s $30M world headquarters in the City of Los Angeles and $800M of new commercial office, multi-family and retail buildings and new 800’ 4 lane vehicle bridge and Metrolink train station at the Vista Canyon development in the City of Santa Clarita.
Prior to Vista Canyon, Kevin was Managing Director and Western Region Leader of Project Management and Development with Cushman & Wakefield in San Francisco; development projects included, entitlements and new construction of eBay’s $273M PayPal data center in So. Jordon, UT, Crate & Barrel’s 1.2M SF distribution center in Tracy, CA and portfolio management of 10.2M SF for Bank of America’s Northwest Region owned and leased facilities.
Mr. Cullina graduated from New York University in Construction Management and from the University of Arizona in Industrial Relations. He’s a Member of the American Institute of Architects and Urban Land Institute. .
Vice President of Development
Mr. Filartiga leads vertical real estate development at UPC, encompassing all logistics prior, during and post construction and including the design, budgeting, planning and execution of projects.
Prior to UPC Mr. Filartiga held leadership positions at Macerich, Lightstone Group, Simon Property Group, Prime Retail and The Mills. As such he led departments and large, complex development projects across California, the US and the globe. Mr. Filartiga started his career in the hospitality real estate sector when he was recruited by The Walt Disney Company out of University.
Mr. Filartiga has lived, studied and worked in Latin America, Europe, Asia Pacific and North America. He participated in the formation and leadership of innovative and profitable real estate development companies and iconic and award-winning projects. He speaks several languages.
Director of Accounting
Mr. Ho joined Universal Paragon Group in 2006 and is responsible for all matters related to accounting, taxation, and treasury. He also oversees general administration and human resources. Prior to joining UPC, he had over 30 years of hands on controllership experience working in a variety of industries ranging from health care, consumer products to the food & beverages sector. Throughout his career, he has been intimately involved in strategy formulation, business planning, tax restructuring and mergers & acquisitions. He received a MBA in International Finance from Golden Gate University in San Francisco, and a BS degree in Accounting from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada.
As Engineering and Environmental Project Manager I manage Civil, Geotechnical, and Environmental Consultant teams. I also interface with public agencies to manage regulatory compliance efforts. Some of these agencies include the State of California Department of Toxic Substances Control, Regional Water Quality Control Board, Bay Area Air Quality Management District, San Mateo County Environmental Health Service Division, Caltrain, City and County of San Francisco, City of Brisbane.
Robin is a Real Estate Development Manager with 8 years of experience on major SF Bay Area projects. Skillset includes Acquisition, Entitlement, Financing, Construction Management, Sales& Marketing, and Asset Management. He has a master’s degree in Construction Management. He started his career as a Project Engineer working for Saunders Construction in Colorado.” Robin
Senior Asset Manager
Eric Aronsohn is a Senior Asset Manager at Universal Paragon Corporation. Prior to joining UPC, Eric served as he Vice President of Multifamily Acquisitions at OpenPath Investments, a value-add multifamily investment manager.
Prior to OpenPath, Eric served as a deal lead at RealtyShares, focused on joint venture investments across the country and Stockbridge performing capital market duties for Bay Meadows and Hollywood Park, two mixed use redevelopments in California. Eric started his career in Miami, FL working for Rialto Capital Management where he managed over $200 million of REO assets throughout the United States and helped start a joint venture equity group focused on capitalizing single and multi-family development projects.
Eric holds a B.A. from Connecticut College. While at C.C. Eric competed on the sailing team as a proud Camel athlete and studied Economics and International Environmental Policy. Eric continues to compete locally in sailing and enjoys spending his free time skiing, surfing, and cycling.