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Apollo Real Estate Advisors has hired Hollywood property pro Frank Buckley to join its West Coast operation.

Apollo Real Estate Advisors has added Frank Buckley as a partner in its Los Angeles office. Buckley will be responsible for sourcing new investment and business opportunities for the private equity real estate firm.

“Frank has a long West Coast pedigree and has been very active, particularly in Los Angeles, for the better part of 20 years,” Dean Pentikis, the partner in charge of Apollo's West Coast operations, told PERE. “He ran his own boutique firm. He had his own hotel company. He's worked on acquisitions. He's an entrepreneur.”

Buckley joins Apollo from Hollywood-based Ramsey-Shilling Commercial Real Estate Services, where he was a managing director and oversaw the firms' investment sales and leasing departments. While at Ramsey-Shilling, Buckley spearheaded the sale and leaseback of the Capitol Records building and the build-to-suite animation headquarters for Nickelodeon in Burbank, according to the firm.

Pentikis said he was on the other side of the table from Apollo on some recent transactions. “He was involved in a couple of deals we've done in the last year,” he said. In his new position at Apollo, Pentikis said Buckley will be responsible for sourcing and managing new transactions.

Prior to Ramsey-Shilling, Buckley was the president of a limited-service hotel group. His responsibilities at the unnamed firm included acquisitions, management, structured finance and franchising in Florida, New York, California and Hawaii, according to the press release.

Buckley began his career with broker Lee & Associates in Orange County and joined the Los Angeles office of Grubb & Ellis in 1987. Buckley is a graduate of UCLA and a member of the Urban Land Institute.

Pentikis said Apollo has long been established in Los Angeles, though its profile is rising as Apollo offers more products to its investors, including its mezzanine debt vehicle.

“We had a presence in Los Angeles since almost the beginning of Apollo,” he said.” We may have a slightly higher profile now. We're not just known for our opportunity fund business.”

Apollo closed its most recent US-focused opportunity fund in March of last year on $700 million (€506 million). The firm's most recent value-added vehicle closed on $276 million last November.

In May, the firm acquired $83 million (€60 million) in multifamily properties throughout the Los Angeles area. The portfolio of 24 properties includes apartments in Silverlake, Westlake, Koreatown, Hollywood, West Hollywood and Los Feliz.

Behringer bulks up team
Dallas-based real estate investment group Behringer Harvard is building up its asset management team with five high-level hires. Ross Odland, who is joining the firm as a vice president and portfolio manager for its multifamily group, will develop strategies and manage joint ventures relating to the firm's apartment, student housing and other multifamily residential investments. Odland joins Behringer Harvard from multifamily developer AMLI Residential, where he oversaw that firm's joint venture relationships and its investments in the Southwestern US. Al Palamara is also joining Behringer Harvard as a vice president and portfolio manager for the firm's opportunistic investment assets, while Greg Brooke has been appointed vice president of development and will be responsible for office development projects. Greg Hillman is joining the firm as a project manger for asset management, while Deidre Hardister is joining as an assets manager.

BlackRock head goes solo
BlackRock co-founder Ralph Schlosstein is stepping down as president of the firm. Schlosstein is reportedly planning to raise as much as $1 billion for private equity, hedge fund and real estate investments, as well as acquiring stakes in other asset managers. Schlosstein, a member of BlackRock's executive and management committees, was also chairman and president of BlackRock Liquidity Funds and director and officer of BlackRock Realty Advisors. Before co-founding BlackRock, Schlosstein was a managing director at Lehman Brothers and later became co-head of its mortgage and savings group. Robert Kapito, currently a director and vice chairman for the firm and head of portfolio management, was appointed president and will be responsible for overseeing the firm's key operating units, including the account management group, the portfolio management group, the real estate group and BlackRock Solutions. Schlosstein will remain with the firm as an advisor until early next year.

Deutsche Bank appoints new head of investment banking
Deutsche Bank has appointed Monte Koch—formerly head for mergers and acquisitions at the firm—to head up its real estate investment banking arm as Devin Murphy steps down. Koch is a 20-year veteran of Deutsche Bank who was most recently with the US mergers and acquisitions department, though he has reportedly been specializing in property deals as of late. Murphy, who joined Deutsche in 2004 from Morgan Stanley where he was the co-head for North American real estate investment banking, will stay on as an advisor to the firm before moving on to pursue other interests, according to the bank. The real estate investment banking division has been involved with a number of high-profile private equity real estate transactions including The Blackstone Group's buyout of Equity Office and the acquisition of gaming giant Harrah's Entertainment by TPG Capital and Apollo Management.