EXCLUSIVE: Jamestown downsizes LatAm business

The Atlanta-based real estate investment manager’s Latin American platform, which was launched two years ago, has been reduced in both size and focus.  

Jamestown has scaled back its Latin America business, two years after rolling out the platform. The downsizing of the business has involved both the departure of key investment staff as well as a narrower investment strategy.

Philip Fitzgerald, who was chief executive of Jamestown Latin America, left the firm in March, as did the company’s Brazil team, which was led by Axel Chaves, according to two people familiar with the matter. Indeed, Fitzgerald has since established a new firm, 7 Bridges Capital Partners, in the greater Los Angeles area. 

Currently, three out of six members of the platform’s original senior management team remain: Pablo Sala, managing director of the Andean region; Ferhat Guven, managing director of investor relations and Bret Rosen, managing director of research. Since the departure of the Brazilian team and the closure of its Rio de Janeiro office, Jamestown Latin America is said to have consequently narrowed its primary investment strategy to the Andean region, with Sala focusing on investments and Guven focusing on capital raising in the market. 

In an email to PERE, Matt Bronfman, Jamestown’s chief executive, said: “We are refocusing our efforts in Latin America to the Andean region, but will continue to consider opportunities in other countries in Latin America. In accordance with this shift, we recently centralized our main office in Bogota. We are on schedule for our first close in June with a final closing later this year.” 

Earlier this year, the company hired two additional Latin America-dedicated investment professionals: Philipp Braunfels, a portfolio manager based in Bogota, and Nikko Politis, who will be focused on acquisitions and asset management and divide his time between Bogota and Jamestown’s Atlanta headquarters.

The new business, which was started in February 2013, represented Jamestown’s first venture outside of the US. The platform, which the company seeded with a starting equity commitment of $50 million, initially was focused on the Andean region of South America and Brazil, with plans to eventually expand to Mexico. Jamestown Latin America is said to be in the market with a commingled fund that is targeting $150 million in equity.

The launch of the platform involved a team liftout at Paladin Realty Partners, where Fitzgerald was managing director of emerging markets at Paladin Realty Partners from 1998 to 2012. Several of his former colleagues at Paladin left the firm to join the new venture, including Chaves, Sala and Joel Bost, who had served as head of finance and capital markets at Jamestown Latin America and also has since exited the business. Guven also previously had worked at Paladin but had already left the firm at the time of Jamestown Latin America’s launch.

Formed in 1983, Jamestown has sponsored 28 core and core-plus funds for German investors, as well as opportunistic and timber funds. Its flagship core and core-plus investment vehicle is the Jamestown Premier Property Fund, which invests in office, retail and mixed-use properties in major US cities, such as New York, San Francisco, Washington, DC, Boston and Los Angeles.