Northwood opens LA office

The New York-based private real estate investment firm, led by former Blackstone Real Estate Advisors chief executive John Kukral, has set up shop in Los Angeles as it pursues more investments on the West Coast.

Northwood Investors has expanded its operations to Los Angeles with a new office headed by managing director Brady Thurman, who has relocated from the firm’s New York headquarters. Thurman, who is responsible for sourcing and executing real estate equity and debt investments primarily on the West Coast, currently is the sole full-time employee based in the new office. Chief operating officer Erwin Aulis will divide his time between the firm’s New York and Los Angeles locations.

The private equity real estate firm – which was founded in 2006 by John Kukral, the former president and chief executive of Blackstone Real Estate Advisors – has been actively bidding on properties in the Los Angeles market, according to sources familiar with the matter. In February, Northwood reportedly was one of the final bidders for an 11.5-acre parcel in West Los Angeles that was to have been the site of Bundy Village, a failed creative office development project. However, the property’s current owner, San Francisco-based private real estate firm Merlone Geier Partners, is now in negotiations to sell the asset to the winning bidder, Hudson Pacific Properties, for $88.5 million. That deal is scheduled to close this month.

Northwood already owns 18.8 acres of land in the Playa Vista submarket of Los Angeles, which it acquired about 18 months ago from KeyBank through a joint venture with Tishman Speyer. The land has been approved for 614,271 square feet of commercial development, which would include office buildings and parking facilities.

After raising more than $1 billion during the second offering of its evergreen fund, Northwood Real Estate Partners, Northwood has plenty of capital to put to work. Most recently, the fund, which targets investments across property types throughout the US and selectively in Europe, acquired a portfolio of retail and apartment assets in the Southeast US for more than $160 million from Charlotte, North Carolina-based real estate company Crosland Group.