The Lightstone Group is expanding its acquisition group, hiring former Waterman Interests executive Kasra Sanandaji. Sanandaji has joined the New York-based firm as vice president of investments, reporting directly to recently-hired investment chief Arvind Bajaj.
Earlier this year, Lightstone exited the biggest deal in its history when the bankrupt hotel chain, Extended Stay, was acquired out of Chapter 11 protection by The Blackstone Group, Centerbridge Capital Partners and Paulson & Co.
Sources familiar with Lightstone told PERE, however, the firm was now concentrating on the future and sourcing new deals, particularly in the multifamily, retail and hospitality sectors, armed with fresh equity from non-traded REITs, high-net-worth individuals and the sale of 22-property outlet mall group Prime Outlets to Simon Property Group last December.
Despite the outcome of Extended Stay – which fell into bankruptcy protection as it struggled with its $7.4 billion debt load – Lightstone sold Prime Outlets for a $2.3 billion price tag last year, reportedly comprising $700 million in cash and the assumption of $1.2 billion of securitised mortgages and $400 million of other debt. Lightstone bought Prime Outlets in a deal estimated at $626 million in December 2003, according to data provider Real Capital Analytics.
In July, Lightstone hired former Park Hill Real Estate managing principal Arvind Bajaj as executive vice president, investments. At the time, PERE reported that Bajaj spent three years as managing principal with the placement group Park Hill, following a short spell at India-focused start-up Ptarmigan Capital, which struggled to get off the ground in 2007.