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EXCLUSIVE: Blackstone makes first Latin America RE hire

The former real estate head at a Brazilian investment bank will be Blackstone’s first on-the-ground real estate professional in the region.

The Blackstone Group has taken the next step in increasing its real estate presence in Latin America. The New York-based private equity and real estate giant has hired its first property-focused professional in the region, Marcelo Fedak, formerly a partner and head of real estate at Brazilian investment bank BTG Pactual, as a managing director.

Fedak, who was at BTG Pactual for five years and previously held investment banking roles at Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse, currently is working temporarily out of Blackstone’s London office but is expected to be based in São Paulo beginning in the spring. He left BTG Pactual in September and was understood to be on garden leave until he started at Blackstone last month. He will report to senior managing director David Roth, who over the past year has been dedicating more of his time to Blackstone’s Latin American real estate efforts.

In Brazil, Fedak will work closely with Patria Investimentos, a Brazilian fund manager in which Blackstone acquired a 40 percent stake in 2010. To date, Blackstone has closed on two Brazilian real estate deals in partnership with Patria: the purchase a 70 percent stake in Brazilian homebuilder Gafisa’s Alphaville unit for R$1.4 billion (€496 million; $656 million) in December 2013, and the acquisition of four office buildings in Rio de Janeiro from Brazilian fund manager Opportunity for R$700 million. The two parties hold equal stakes in both investments.

Despite its existing partnership with Patria, Blackstone is said to have wanted its own people on the ground in Latin America, given the deal flow that it anticipates in the region. However, Patria and Blackstone still will continue to partner on Latin American real estate transactions for the foreseeable future.

The partnership’s investment focus will not be limited only to Brazil. Last July, PERE reported that Blackstone was planning to expand its Latin American real estate footprint into Colombia, and had formed a partnership with Ospinas y Cia, a Bogotá-based real estate developer, and Grupo Pegasus, an Argentinean private equity investment firm, to focus on investments in the country. Meanwhile, Patria also has been ramping up operations in Colombia, where it reportedly aims to invest between $300 million and $500 million in the country’s real estate, infrastructure and business sectors over the next three years.

Patria currently is in the market with Patria Brazil Real Estate Fund III, which has an $800 million target. Blackstone’s latest global opportunity real estate fund, Blackstone Real Estate Partners VIII, is said to have a small allocation to Latin America. Both firms declined to comment.