PERE Europe: Blackstone builds in Europe

The New York firm continues to be “excited” about the opportunity in Europe and is beginning to make external hires for its new core-plus business.

The Blackstone Group continues to see “good fundamental value” for its European opportunistic fund and is starting to make external hires for its nascent core-plus business, the PERE Summit: Europe conference heard yesterday.
Ken Caplan, head of European real estate, told delegates that despite the increased interest in Europe from investors and the so-called “weight of capital,” his firm was finding a “limited competitive set” for “large-scale opportunistic investments” and that its opportunity fund was “continuing to see good fundamental value.”
However, as well as investing its latest European vehicle in various parts of the Continent including Italy, the  firm also is “excited” about its new core-plus business. Blackstone completed its first acquisition on behalf of that strategy on Tuesday, purchasing Alban Gate on London Wall in London's financial center.
Blackstone launched the core-plus business following investor demand in November and so far has deployed $1.6 billion of invested capital in assets in gateway cities. Caplan said Blackstone saw “good quality assets” available that did not fit its “buy it, fix it, sell it” opportunistic fund series, but that could benefit from a “light value-added” approach.
“We have been looking to grow the team and make sure we have the right resources,” said Caplan. “We have started adding people to the team externally and shifting some people internally. We have the advantage of being able to leverage our existing team and expertise, which makes this a natural activity for us, but we are not going to compromise our existing business,” he vowed.