DDR hires ex-MSREI executive

Mark Bratt has joined the retail REIT as chief investment officer after seven years at Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing and a short spell at Illinois-based JSQ Real Estate.

The US retail REIT Developers Diversified Realty Corporation has hired former Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing executive Mark Bratt as chief investment officer.

Bratt spent seven years at MSREI from 2003 working in the firm’s Chicago office. As executive director, Bratt was responsible for acquisitions and portfolio management.

Bratt left MSREI this year and is believed to have worked for a short spell as principal at Hinsdale, Illinois-based investment firm JSQ Real Estate, which is raising its first fund, targeting $100 million.

At DDR, Bratt will lead the REIT’s disposition strategy, as it sheds “non-prime assets” from its portfolio and “selectively acquir[es] properties”. He will also be charged with boosting DDR’s institutional capital relationships, the firm said in a statement. DDR and JSQ declined to comment further. Bratt will start at DDR on 12 July.

Last month, DDR sold three former malls operated by discount store Mervyns in California to Westfield America for $24 million, according to data provider Real Capital Analytics. The malls were part of the Macquarie DDR Trust, the listed joint venture between Macquarie Bank and DDR, which said last year it was selling more than half its shopping centre portfolio after share prices fell more than 90 percent over a 12 month period.

MDT was severely hit by the declining retail market, losing two of its largest tenants, Mervyns and Circuit City, in 2008 after both companies filed for bankruptcy protection. Mervyns was MDT’s largest tenant, accounting for 10 percent of retail income.

In January, DDR promoted chief operating officer Daniel Hurwitz to chief executive officer, replacing Scott Wolstein, who became executive chairman. That followed DDR becoming the first company to issue new CMBS under the Federal Reserve’s Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF), generating $400 million in proceeds. The firm said last November the capital would be used to pay down short-term debt and revolving credit facilities.