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NREA adds Fernstrom to expand investor base

In hopes of boosting its fundraising with institutional capital, National Real Estate Advisors has hired the former Hunt Investment Management client relations vice president as its new director of investor relations.

Real estate investment management firm National Real Estate Advisors (NREA) has appointed Heather Fernstrom in the newly created post of director of investor relations in order to expand the firm’s fundraising efforts by sourcing institutional capital. 

NREA, which traditionally has targeted investments from Taft-Hartley funds and some private investors, decided to expand its investor base upon reaching approximately $2 billion in assets under management this June. The firm created Fernstrom’s position in order to develop relationships with public pension plans, endowments and sovereign wealth funds. “We don’t have the current capacity to do that,” said Jeffrey Kanne, NREA president and chief executive officer, in an interview with PERE. “She’s the perfect candidate to help us.”

Fernstrom joined NREA from her position as vice president of client relations at Hunt Investment Management, formerly TRECAP. Prior to joining Hunt in 2011, she worked as a consultant at The Townsend Group, where she assisted the firm’s institutional clients in developing investment objectives, strategic planning, underwriting investments and raising capital. Fernstrom joined Townsend in 2008 after stints as a treasury management officer for Bancshares of Florida and a staff accountant for Larson Allen.

NREA distinguishes itself from the other investment managers through its ‘build-to-core’ investment strategy. “Our approach is to find excellent, large and complicated investments in gateway cities, then build them up and sell when the time is right,” explained Kanne. 

Washington, DC-based NREA was founded in January 2010 as the primary real estate investment manager of the National Electrical Benefit Fund. NREA manages the IBEW-NECA Diversified Underwritten Real Estate (INDURE) Fund, an open-ended commingled fund with a net asset value of $1.4 billion as of June 30. 

Through INDURE, NREA owns stakes in such buildings as Manhattan’s New York by Gehry, a 75-story downtown apartment building valued at more than $1.05 billion. Currently, INDURE owns a 25 percent stake in the property, while TIAA-CREF and Forest City Ratner own 49 percent and 26 percent interests respectively.