Toll Brothers launches distressed real estate arm

Following in the footsteps of US homebuilder Lennar, Toll Brothers will target distressed loan portfolios and development land.

Toll Brothers, the US luxury homebuilder, has created a distressed real estate investment platform called Gibraltar Capital and Asset Management.

The firm will use Gibraltar to purchase assets such as loan portfolios and development land. It has already been active, recently teaming up with LA-based Oaktree Capital Management to acquire $1.7 billion of loans from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

In addition to purchasing distressed real estate, the platform will also advise banks and developers in need of working through their troubled real estate holdings, the firm said in a statement.

Led by Toll veterans Roger Brush and Michael LaPat, Gibraltar will invest in deals that “fall outside [Toll's] core home building operations”, Toll chief executive officer, Douglas Yearley said, adding: “
We believe there are many potential investments arising from the distress in the real estate industry.”

In February, Rialto Capital Advisors, the private real estate investment arm of fellow homebuilder Lennar Corporation, led the acquisition of a portfolio of loans from the US banking regulator, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Rialto bought a portfolio of 5,500 residential and commercial loans pooled from 22 failed banks through an FDIC structured sale for $243 million of equity.

Rialto takes a 40 percent stake in a new company that will hold the loans, while the FDIC retains a 60 percent interest.