AMERICAS NEWS: Park Hill gets more direct

Park Hill Group is formalizing a direct real estate transactions team with the addition of two top brokers, in a move similar to other peer placement agents’ businesses.

The New York-based placement agency, part of PJT Partners, hired Jeff Baker as partner and Graham Hobbs as managing director. Both joined last month from Savills Studley, the New York-based commercial real estate advisor, and will be focused on finding capital partners for acquisitions, recapitalizations and financings.

“As markets become more global and interrelated, real estate owners and investors will increasingly require advisors to provide a full range of integrated capital markets services,” Baker told PERE. “There’s a significant opportunity right now for PJT Partners to leverage collaboration across its business lines and build on its significant position in the market.”

Over the past seven years, the firm has completed more than $5 billion worth of direct real estate deals. However, Baker and Hobbs are Park Hill’s first dedicated hires in direct real estate advisory and will be charged with continuing to expand this business.

Alan Pardee, managing partner of New York-based placement agency Mercury Capital Advisors, noted that many traditional placement agents have added direct real estate investment advisory as an additional service at their firms. “We’re looking forward to seeing a little more of them in this space,” he said.

However, another executive at a major placement agency voiced concern about the move, saying the firm could be trying to do too much. “I think it has the potential for brand dilution, if they’re not careful,” he said.