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Jacobsson departs AREA

The New York-based real estate fund manager’s head of US opportunity funds has left after more than 18 years at the firm.

John Jacobsson, a partner and original member of AREA Property Partners, has departed following a nearly two-decade career at the firm. Both parties said the split was amicable.

“After 18 years of working for the firm, there were other opportunities that he wanted to explore,” said Lee Neibart, global chief executive of AREA, in a statement to PERE. He declined to elaborate further.

“I’m staying in the real estate investment business,” Jacobsson told PERE. “I’m currently pursuing a number of different opportunities; it’s not one thing specifically.” He said he was not at liberty to go into specifics at the present time.

Jacobsson called his former partners “people I grew up with. It was bittersweet that I left, but it was something I felt I needed to do.”

At AREA, Jacobsson oversaw the firm’s US opportunity funds platform, which included five AREA Real Estate Investment Funds from 1993 to 2005 and AREA Real Estate Opportunity Fund VI, which held a final close on $518 million last June. That fund, which launched in 2007, originally was targeting $1 billion in commitments.

Jacobsson also was in charge of AREA’s opportunistic investments in North America, the best-known of which was New York’s Time Warner Center, a pair of mixed-use skyscrapers that the firm co-developed with The Related Companies and completed in 2003. More recent investments included the $275 million redevelopment of the Hyatt Regency New Orleans.

Richard Mack, North America chief executive, will be overseeing AREA's US opportunity funds and investments. The firm is not actively seeking a replacement for Jacobsson at this time.

Jacobsson spent nearly his entire career at AREA. After graduating from Harvard University in 1990, he worked as an analyst for three years at Trammell Crow Ventures, where he executed deals on behalf of its opportunistic real estate fund. He then joined Apollo Real Estate Advisors at its inception in 1993, when it was founded by William Mack and Leon Black. In 2000, Apollo Real Estate Advisors spun out of its parent company, Apollo Global Management, as an independent real estate fund manager and was renamed AREA Property Partners in 2009.

Jacobsson was one of six principals with an ownership stake in AREA. In addition to Neibart, Richard Mack and William Mack, who is chairman, the other principals include William Benjamin, Europe and Asia chief executive and global chief operating officer; and Stuart Koenig, global chief financial officer.