Ranieri holds first close on distressed fund

Ranieri Real Estate Partners, the New York-based firm co-founded by Lewis Ranieri, has held a $158 million first close on its distressed debt vehicle targeting US commercial real estate opportunities.

Ranieri Real Estate Partners has held a first close on its distressed commercial property fund, raising $158 million from investors, PERE has learned.

The New York-based firm is targeting around $500 million of equity for RREP Recovery Partners, which recently held a first close on $158.1 million, according to SEC filings. The vehicle is expected to target distressed commercial real estate debt opportunities across the US, according to people familiar with the matter. Ranieri officials declined to comment.

Ranieri Partners, the parent company of Ranieri Real Estate, was founded in September 2007 by mortgage bond veteran Lewis Ranieri. The firm already owns the US special servicer Helios AMC, and its real estate arm teamed up with WL Ross & Co. in September to buy Deutsche Bank's multifamily origination subsidiary, Deutsche Bank Berkshire Mortgage (DBBM).

At the time of the DBBM deal, Ranieri Real Estate co-founded and chief executive Jon Vaccaro said the firm expected the “fundamentals of the multifamily market to continue to improve” with the shift towards renting over home ownership.