Park Hill builds direct RE brokerage team with two hires

The new executives came from Savills Studley’s brokerage team, where they inked major deals including a $1bn multifamily sale to Brookfield.

Park Hill Group is formalizing a direct real estate brokerage team with the addition of two top brokers, PERE has learned.

The New York-based placement agent, part of PJT Partners, hired Jeff Baker as partner and Graham Hobbs as managing director. Both joined last week from Savills Studley, the New York-based commercial real estate advisor.

“In real estate, we intend to benefit from investors’ increasing interest in participating in direct investments,” Paul Taubman (pictured), the firm’s chief executive, said on the firm’s first-quarter earnings call last week. “Park Hill is seeking to capitalize on this opportunity by adding a partner and a managing director (who) recently joined the team to focus on real estate asset-level transactions.”

A spokeswoman declined further comment, but PERE understands the new hires will focus on sales, recapitalizations and financings. Park Hill has completed about $5 billion worth of direct real estate deals in the last seven years, and bringing on Baker and Hobbs will allow the firm to continue expanding this business. The new executives will also complement PJT's restructuring and corporate advisory platforms, which oversee deals that can include real estate.

Baker, the firm’s new partner, has completed over $14 billion of real estate transactions throughout his career, according to Savills. Before his time at Savills, he worked with former Eastdil Realty colleagues to build a firm called Granite Partners that was sold to Savills in 2007.

Hobbs, the new managing director, spent 10 years at Savills. He previously was an associate at Rock Apartment Advisors, a southeast-focused commercial real estate firm, according to his LinkedIn.

During their time at Savills Studley, the pair’s major deals included Brookfield Property Partners’ $1 billion recapitalization of a 4,000-unit apartment portfolio in New York City in 2014, and more recently, the sale of an 1,800-unit, rent-stabilized apartment complex in Manhattan’s Harlem neighborhood for $315 million, according to local press.

The moves come amid executive shuffles in the US’s top brokerage firms. In November, Cushman & Wakefield hired three top Eastdil Secured brokers for a new capital markets division. Adam Spies, Doug Harmon and Kevin Donner all left New York-based Eastdil Secured, the real estate investment banking subsidiary of Wells Fargo, to form a new team.