Almanac to launch seventh fund

The New York-based fund manager is preparing to raise its latest real estate vehicle with the help of its new in-house capital raiser, Josh Overbay.

Almanac Realty Investors is expected to begin marketing its seventh real estate fund in the coming months, according to two sources familiar with the matter. Its current vehicle, Almanac Realty Securities (ARS) VI, is said to be close to being fully committed.

Almanac closed on $819 million in equity for ARS VI in November 2012 and has closed on four transactions to date on behalf of the fund, which invests in private and public real estate operating companies in the US. Those deals represent $445 million of commitments, or more than half of the vehicle’s capital.

The commitments include $150 million each to Drawbridge Realty Trust, a San Francisco-based owner and developer of office, research & development and industrial properties in the US; and NRES Holdings, a Kansas City-based private company focused on the acquisition, repositioning and management of multifamily properties primarily in the Midwest and Texas. Almanac also plans to invest $100 million in RAIT Financial Trust, a Philadelphia-based real estate investment trust that provides debt to commercial real estate owners and also invests directly in commercial properties in the US, and helped to capitalize Shaner Hotel Group’s new hospitality finance company, Shaner Hospitality Finance, which will provide financing to small- to mid-sized hotel companies.

Additionally, Almanac is said to have two new transactions totaling $300 million to $350 million in documentation and due diligence. Those deals, which are anticipated to close within the next couple of months, would account for the majority of the fund’s uncommitted capital. Upon the close of those transactions, the firm is said to be preparing to begin marketing its seventh fund to investors. Almanac declined to comment, but PERE understands that the vehicle would be slightly larger than ARS VI and ARS V, which gathered more than $900 million in 2008.

In anticipation of the new launch, the firm has brought on Josh Overbay to lead its global capital-raising and investor relations activities. Overbay previously served as a director in the private fund advisory group at Lazard, where he worked on global real estate fundraising, advisory and secondary sale advisory assignments.  Prior to Lazard, he was vice president in charge of global capital-raising and investor relations at PRP, formerly known as Perseus Realty Partners.

“This is a crucial hire for us,” said Matthew Kaplan, managing partner at Almanac. “We’re looking to have somebody on our team who is in constant contact with our investors and helping us along in that part of our business. This is another piece of the puzzle to make sure we’re communicating with our investors.”

Overbay replaces managing director and head of marketing and client relations John Ryan, who worked at the firm from January 2001 to May 2013. Ryan joined Pembrook Capital Management as managing director in November.

Almanac was founded as Rothschild Realty Managers in 1981 but rebranded in December 2011 after its partnership with financial advisory firm Rothschild North America was dissolved. The firm raised its first fund in 1996 and since then has committed more than $2.7 billion to 31 separate real estate companies.