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Grosvenor plans Washington DC expansion

The UK property development and fund management firm has promoted Michael Ward to VP of development as it earmarks more acquisitions in the US Capitol’s metropolitan area.

Grosvenor, the London-based property development and fund management firm, has promoted Michael Ward to the newly created role as vice president of development in Washington DC.

The firm, which owns the London Estate including almost 300 acres of central London, said it was planning to bolster its presence in the US Capitol. Ward was previously development manager in Grosvenor’s Vancouver office. He will be responsible for the acquisition and development of sites. Grosvenor currently has a portfolio of 1.6 million square feet of office, retail and hotel space in the metropolitan area.

Mark Darley, senior vice president and general manager of Grosvenor USA, said in a statement Ward’s promotion would “strengthen Grosvenor’s capability to pursue development opportunities” in Washington, as the firm expanded its operations in the US. It is also focusing on San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago.

Grosvenor, which is owned by the Grosvenor family, headed by the sixth Duke of Westminster, has almost £13 billion ($25.8 billion; €16.5 billion) in property assets under management.

According to the firm’s annual report, Grosvenor’s fund management arm – set up in 2005 – had £3.1 billion of funds under management at the end of 2007, focused primarily on the UK and office sectors. The firm had more than 60 investors in 20 funds and separate investor accounts, it added.

Grosvenor also said it planned to close its first China fund, the Grosvenor Vega China Retail Fund, later in 2008 with a target of $500 million, while announcing plans to launch the Grosvenor New York Multifamily Fund in 2008. In 2006, Grosvenor acquired Los Angeles-based asset manager Legg Mason Real Estate in a bid to boost its fund management presence in North America.