The aptly named Peter Land recently joined Alabama-based Harbert Management's London office as a principal. Land will be working on Harbert's pan-European property investment strategy.
“He'll run the gamut,” says Scott O'Donnell, a senior managing director at the firm. O'Donnell points out that Land has worked on deals from Ireland to Romania, a skill set that will no doubt complement Harbert's opportunistic investment strategy in Europe. Land will also focus on transactions across property sectors, including office, retail, industrial, hotel, warehouse and land development.
“He has developed an immense book of contacts in Germany.”
Prior to joining Harbert, Land was vice president of Lehman Brothers in London, spending six years working for the investment bank's principal transactions group. While at Lehman, he focused on German deals. “He has developed an immense book of contacts in Germany,” O'Donnell says.
Previously, Land worked with Canadian property developer TrizecHahn in Germany and later cofounded the group's Budapest office, working on the Westend City Center, a 400-merchant shopping center near Budapest's western train station. He began his career with Siemens in the retail market division and public switching systems. Land holds a BS in economics from the University of Toronto and an MBA from INSEAD.
Harbert's last vehicle, Harbert European Real Estate Fund, closed in July 2003 on $220 million (€171 million) and is now fully invested. The fund pursued a diversified strategy in terms of both property type and geography. “We have pretty broad and deep experience throughout the European market,” O'Donnell says.
While the firm's mandate allows for investment across the continent, Harbert has recently been focused on property deals in Spain, Germany and the United Kingdom. But O'Donnell adds that the firm is driven by the underlying fundamentals, rather than geography.
The firm typically chases deals of between $10 million and $75 million in urban infill locations with high barriers to entry. In 2004, it purchased Swiss Re's former offices in Leadenhall and Mitre Streets in London for a reported £7.5 million ($14 million; €11 million). Last summer, it sold the Montecarmelo shopping center north of Madrid for approximately €30 million.
Harbert Management focuses on a number of real estate, private equity and public securities strategies and has approximately $5 billion in assets under management.
ProLogis appoints new VP for Europe
Logistics and industrial REIT ProLogis has named Ralf Wessel as a senior vice president and manager for European fund and capital markets. Wessel was formerly with Equity Estate, a Netherlands-based real estate investment management company, where he was responsible for structuring new property vehicles for investors based in the Middle East. He also developed the investment strategy for the company's managed funds, active asset management, acquisitions and debt structuring. At ProLogis, Wessel will oversee the company's European fund management and related asset management. Wessel received a degree in business economics from the University of Amsterdam and a degree in real estate investment from City University in London. Earlier this year, ProLogis announced that it would be developing its first projects in Romania; the company acquired 69 acres west of Bucharest to build ProLogis Park Bucharest A1, a complex of six buildings with more than 1.7 million square feet of warehouse space.
Winter leaves Cerberus to start German fund
Ralph Winter is reportedly leaving Cerberus Asset Management's German arm to start a new fund. Trade reports say five professionals from the private investment firm's German staff have followed managing director Winter to his new venture; Saul Goldstein has reportedly been tapped to take over Winter's position at Cerberus. Winter has been managing Cerberus's real estate division in Germany since the New York-based firm opened its Frankfurt office in February 2003, a move spearheaded by former Vice President and current Cerberus chairman of global investments Dan Quayle.
Carlyle adds Harris to roster
The European arm of The Carlyle Group has appointed Mark Harris as an associate director in the UK real estate team. Harris was formerly the development director at London-based, mixed-use developer Crown Dilmun, where he was responsible for a variety of projects in the UK and Europe, including residential, commercial and serviced apartments. At Carlyle, Harris will be responsible for managing recently acquired projects in the UK, as well as reviewing new investment opportunities. In March, Carlyle announced a £750-million joint venture with London-based Skelton Group to develop projects in the UK.
Bank of Scotland appoints new RE head in the north
Derek Bald has been appointed head of real estate business for the Bank of Scotland Corporate in the North of England. Bald has more than 20 years of banking experience and previously oversaw a substantial investment and development property portfolio at the Bank of Scotland Corporate's Edinburgh office. In the new position, Bald will be based in Manchester and will work with clients throughout Northern England as the bank focuses on building its investment and development work in real estate. Bank of Scotland Corporate is part of UK financial giant HBOS.
CPP, ING buy London offices
The CPP Investment Board and ING Real Estate Investment Management UK have acquired two London office buildings from Deka Immobilien Investment for £355 million ($668 million; €520 million). The acquisitions, one at 55 Bishopsgate and the other at 1 Bunhill Row, are part of a new joint venture between CPP and ING called The Capital (London) Fund. The Bishopsgate property has multiple tenants and more than 190,000 square feet of space, while the Bunhill Row building has more than 260,000 square feet of space and is leased on a longterm basis to law firm Slaughter & May. CPP has an 80 percent stake in the Capital (London) Fund, while ING has a 20 percent interest.
Heitman buys in Prague
Chicago-based Heitman International has purchased a high-profile office park in Prague's sixth district. The seller was DIFA Deutsche Immobilien Fonds AG, a Hamburg, Germany-based open-ended real estate fund. Details of the transaction were not disclosed, but Czech press reports said the office was sold for around €70 million ($90 million). The Hadovka Office Park has more than 25,000 square feet of space and is located between the city center and the Prague Ruzyn Airport. Heitman European Property Partners III closed in June 2005 on €350 million.
GI Partners in Asian takeout
US private equity firm GI Partners has acquired a portfolio of London-based Asian restaurants for around £20 million ($38 million; €29 million), according to press reports. The Oriental Restaurant Group, which includes eateries like Sri Thai, Pacific Oriental and Imperial City, is being sold by Noble House Leisure, which also owns the Arbuckles, Jim Thompson's and Yellow River Café chains. Menlo Park-based GI Partners is no stranger to London food and drink outlets, having acquired the Yates pub group in 2004 for around £154 million. Last year, GI sold the group to property investor Robert Tchenguiz for £202 million.
Doughty picks up Swedish portfolio
The real estate arm of private equity firm Doughty Hanson has acquired a portfolio of office properties in the Kista area of Stockholm. The deal, which is valued at more than SEK 2 billion ($275 million; €214 million), is the first Nordic investment out of Doughty Hanson's second European property fund. Doughty Hanson's second vehicle held a first close on €166 million last November.
CapMan acquires Helsinki property
CapMan Real Estate I has acquired a building in the Kaartinkaupunki district of central Helsinki. Originally built as an apartment building in 1886, it is now a mixed-use building with office, retail and residential space. CapMan expanded into the private equity real estate space last year, launching a fund with nine Finnish institutional investors. The acquisition represents the nineteenth asset for the CapMan portfolio; half of the fund's capital has been invested.