The Lightstone Group has hired former Park Hill Real Estate managing principal Arvind Bajaj as executive vice president, investments.
Bajaj started at the New York-based private equity real estate firm just over a week ago, and will manage Lightstone’s acquisition, capital markets and investment activities.
Given where we are in the real estate cycle, it is a very interesting time to explore commercial real estate acquisitions. Lightstone president and chief operating officer Peyton Owen
Given where we are in the real estate cycle, it is a very interesting time to explore commercial real estate acquisitions.
Lightstone president and chief operating officer Peyton Owen
Bajaj spent three years as managing principal with the placement group Park Hill. In May 2007, Bajaj was set to join India-focused start-up Ptarmigan Capital as principal but he returned to London as Ptarmigan – founded by former Morgan Stanly global head of securitised products Craig Phillips – struggled to get off the ground. Bajaj also worked for several years at Credit Suisse where he was head of European CMBS distribution and in charge of the firm's conduit lending programme, according to a statement from Ptarmigan in 2007.
Lightstone founder and chief executive officer David Lichtenstein said he was looking to “grow [the firm’s] investment platforms”.
The firm has struggled with several notable investments made at the height of the market, including the $8 billion buyout of the 680-property hotel chain Extended Stay. Lightstone acquired the property from The Blackstone Group in 2007, but filed for bankruptcy protection in June 2009 with $7.1 billion in assets and $7.6 billion in debt. In May, Blackstone, Centerbridge Partners and Paulson and Co. won the auction for Extended Stay with a $3.92 billion offer, beating a rival bid from Starwood Capital Group and TPG Capital.
In December, Lightstone sold the 22-property outlet shopping centre group Prime Outlets to REIT Simon Property Group for a reported $700 million in cash with the assumption of $1.2 billion of securitised mortgages and $400 million of other debt. Lightstone bought Prime Retail in a deal estimated at $626 million in December 2003, according to data provider Real Capital Analytics.