AREA Property Partners hires Spain partner

The private equity real estate firm has hired Rafael Avilés as country partner for Spain as the firm looks to expand investments in the region.

AREA Property Partners has become the latest private equity real estate firm to hire a country partner or principal in Spain in order to ramp up investment in the country.

Madrid-based Rafael Avilés has been tasked with identifying and managing new acquisitions in Spain in conjunction with professionals in Area’s European headquarters in London.

Avilés, a former naval architect, was most recently managing director of Spanish activities for London-based property investment and fund management firm Grosvenor, where he was part of the management of Grosvenor’s former joint venture with Spain’s Grupo Lar. Prior to Grosvenor, he was general manager for Spain at London-based REIT Hammerson.

The appointment follows AREA’s participation in large sale and leaseback transactions in 2009 and 2010 with savings bank BBVA. It partnered with RREEF and Europa Capital Partners in a €1.5 billion deal to buy 1,100 bank branches and several office buildings in a two–tranche transaction.

Area follows firms such as Orion Capital Partners, Harbert Management Corporation, RREEF and Doughty Hanson & Co Real Estate in having a full-time Madrid-based professional scouting opportunities in the country.

In a statement on the hire, AREA said: “Avilés’ objective is to consolidate its investment portfolio in Spain through new acquisitions where Area will act either as sole investor or in partnership.” It added it had an investment capacity in Europe of more than €3 billion.

The firm has been investing in the country since 1996, completing some 15 transactions along the way.