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EXCLUSIVE: Dune hires former Blackstone exec

Nitin Karnani will become the newest partner at the New York-based private equity real estate firm.

Dune Real Estate Partners has hired Nitin Karnani as a partner and member of its investment committee. In his new role, he will be responsible for sourcing, structuring and managing real estate investments. Karnani, who starts at the firm on Monday, will be one of five partners at the New York-based private equity real estate firm, along with founder and chief executive Daniel Neidich, chief investment officer Cia Buckley Marakovits and partners Russell Gimmelstob and Gregory Rush.

“Nitin’s broad experience in sourcing and structuring opportunistic real estate deals across the investment cycle is a perfect fit for our investment team,” said Neidich. Added Karnani: “Dune Real Estate Partners is a world-class organization with exceptional assets and a strong track record, and I am excited to join this talented group of investment professionals. I look forward to leveraging my experience for the benefit of DREP’s investors and contributing to the firm’s continued success.”

Karnani has worked more than 20 years as real estate investment professional. He most recently worked as a managing director in real estate at The Blackstone Group from 2009 to 2013, and was responsible for sourcing opportunities in distressed debt and equity investments across property sectors. Previously, he had acted as head of commercial real estate at GSO Capital Partners and was a member of the firm’s real estate investment committee prior to the sale of GSO to Blackstone in 2008.

Prior to joining GSO in 2006, Karnani was a partner at Apollo Real Estate Advisors, where he sourced, underwrote, structured and managed equity investments. He began his career at the real estate consulting practice of Ernst & Young Kenneth Leventhal where he focused on real estate acquisitions, strategic reviews and restructurings.

Karnani’s hire follows the final close of Dune Real Estate Fund III, which attracted $950 million last October, exceeding the initial $850 million target. Founded in 2005, the firm targets distressed, deep value-add and contrarian investments, primarily in the US, and has raised $2.5 billion of equity to date.