EUROPE NEWS: Park Hill beefs up

Park Hill Real Estate Group, the placement agent subsidiary of The Blackstone Group, hired Jan-Christoph Klein as a principal in its London office last month, PERE has learned. He joined the firm following a year-long stint at Switzerland-based alternatives firm Partners Group.

Klein will work closely with colleagues of both Park Hill and the wider Blackstone organisation, according to the firm. He will focus on the full gamut of real estate capital raising for funds, joint ventures and recapitalisations, as well as secondary sales and advisory assignments.

The appointment has taken on a degree of added significance because Park Hill has been the subject of rumours of late, suggesting it was diverting attention away from the European market in favour of concentrating on North America and Asia. As evidence, detractors have cited the recent departure of a managing principal on the private equity side, Kim Pedersen, who left to found his own advisory boutique.

However, any suggesting of a ramping down in activity has been strongly denied, and the firm told PERE that the appointment of Klein “underlined Park Hill’s commitment to the European market” and demonstrated a continued strengthening of its global franchise. The firm has three remaining managing principals in the London office: Christopher Leach, who heads up private equity; Peter Mayer, who heads up hedge funds; and Audrey Klein, head of real estate.

Charles Purse, senior managing director of Park Hill Real Estate in New York, said: “We are delighted to have someone with Jan-Christoph’s depth of experience and dedication on board. His previous work on the principal side, as well as his strong relationships with thought-leading investors across Europe, will enhance our overall platform. ”

Audrey Klein, managing principal in London, added: “With the number of high-profile transactions that we currently are completing and several more in the pipeline, Jan-Christoph joins us at an opportune time. We are very pleased with his arrival to our group.”

Jan-Christoph Klein has been in capital markets and real estate for just over 10 years, most recently with Partners Group in Zug, Switzerland, where he spent a year as head of real estate investment solutions. Prior to that, he was with Credit Suisse in London, working in the bank’s equity capital markets, alternative investments division as well as with the real estate private fund group. He spent a total of nine years at Credit Suisse, having joined in June 2001.

According to its website, the Park Hill Real Estate Group from time to time assists Blackstone with capital-raising for its real estate investment strategies. As PERE previously reported, The Blackstone Group has brought fundraising for its latest global real estate opportunity fund, Blackstone Real Estate Partners VII, past the $4 billion mark on its way to a target of around $10 billion. The real estate titan also reputedly is raising Blackstone Real Estate Special Situations Europe, with a target of around €1 billion. Park Hill, however, declined to comment on any specific mandates it is working on.