The New Jersey Division of Investment has approved a commitment of $150 million to Wheelock Street Capital at its monthly meeting late last week. The pension plan agreed to commit $100 million to the firm’s first opportunistic real estate fund, Wheelock Street Real Estate Fund (WSREF), and $50 million for co-investment alongside future fund deals.
Formed in 2008 by Merrick Kleeman and Jonathan Paul, Wheelock is a Greenwich, Connecticut-based private equity real estate firm focussed on seeking real estate investment opportunities throughout North America. WSREF, the firm's first commingled vehicle, is targeting $500 million of capital commitments from a limited number of investors, according to pension documents.
“The fund will invest in a broad range of real estate and real estate-related assets throughout the US, including individual assets, portfolios, operating companies and securities,” the documents stated. “The fund will seek opportunistic returns on a portfolio basis by utilizing various capital structures, including distressed or high yielding debt, preferred equity and equity investments.”
The documents added that Wheelock plans to invest “in multiple asset classes, either directly through its current hospitality and residential platforms or through joint ventures, recapitalisations or corporate transactions in other property types.”
Although this is the firm's first fund, Wheelock does have an investment track record, participating alongside Boston-based hedge fund Baupost and the University of Texas Investment Management Company (UTIMCO) in a number of transactions. “We have had positive reference calls with Baupost, UTIMCO and another potential investor regarding Wheelock’s prior investments and current strategy,” the documents noted.
The commitment to Wheelock follows New Jersey’s decision at its 21 July meeting to commit $300 million to The Blackstone Group's latest real estate fund, Blackstone Real Estate Partners VII.