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Purse to leave Park Hill

The co-founder of the New York-based real estate placement firm will be departing at the end of March – and likely joining a fund manager.

Charles Purse, senior managing director and co-founder of Park Hill Real Estate Group, is retiring from his position after more than eight years at the New York-based advisory firm. He will be stepping down at the end of March and leaving the placement business.

The Blackstone Group, which owns Park Hill, declined to comment but confirmed the executive’s planned retirement.  Purse is not expected to be replaced, with his current responsibilities likely to be split between the firm’s two other senior managing directors, Frank Schmitz and Michael Stark.

Purse officially is said to be retiring from Park Hill in what is being described as an amicable separation. However, he is in talks to join an undisclosed fund manager that is a client of Park Hill's and could resurface in a new role in the relatively near future, according to three people familiar with the matter. 

Purse had become one of the best-known names in the real estate placement business while at Park Hill Real Estate, which itself is considered one of the top advisory firms in the private equity real estate industry. He was one of the primary investor-facing professionals at the business, which he co-founded with Schmitz in October 2005 through a joint venture with Blackstone. The New York-based private equity and real estate firm now wholly owns the business, as well as its affiliate Park Hill Group, which raises capital for private equity and hedge funds. However, Park Hill Real Estate was folded into Park Hill Group about two years ago. Purse also is understood to have held vested stock in Blackstone from its initial public offering in 2007, and the last portion of that stock is said to have vested in the past year.

Prior to Park Hill, he had served as a managing director of the real estate private fund group at Credit Suisse First Boston, which he joined in 2001. Before that, he was a managing director of marketing and portfolio management at DRA Advisors and, earlier, senior vice president of marketing at The Yarmouth Group.

Purse is the second longtime executive at Park Hill Real Estate to leave in the past year. Robert Lester, a managing principal who had been with the business since its launch, is understood to have left last April. Lester joined Macquarie Capital, the corporate advisory and capital markets arm of Macquarie Group, as a managing director in November.

Park Hill Real Estate typically assists Blackstone with raising equity for its property funds, including, most recently, the $3.3 billion Blackstone Real Estate Debt Strategies II, as well as Blackstone Real Estate Partners (BREP) Europe IV and BREP Asia, which had collected $5.6 billion and $3.2 billion, respectively, as of the end of January. Additionally, the advisory firm assisted on KTR Capital Partners’ KTR Industrial Fund III, which closed on $1.2 billion last year, and Crow Holdings’ sixth US fund, which held a $1 billion final close in 2013.