Tag: real estate strategies

Blackstone Calls Logistics Its ‘Highest Conviction’ Real Estate Idea After Striking $18.7 Billion GLP Deal

At Blackstone Group, the world’s largest private equity firm, with $512 billion in assets under management, few properties or companies are out of reach. So when the firm strikes a record-setting deal and anoints the sector as a top firm-wide idea, it’s worth listening to.

In real estate, Blackstone is doing just that when it comes to logistics space—the warehouses where the orders of Amazon and other e-commerce giants are delivered in bulk, sorted and sent out to customers. On Sunday evening, the firm disclosed an $18.7 billion deal for the U.S. logistics assets of Singapore’s GLP, inking the biggest private real estate deal in history. And Blackstone isn’t coy about its optimism for the real estate that houses America’s increasingly e-commerce-oriented supply chain.

“Logistics is our highest conviction global investment theme today, and we look forward to building on our existing portfolio to meet the growing e-commerce demand,” Ken Caplan, co-head of Blackstone’s real estate business, said in a statement.

It’s a bold statement coming from Blackstone given that logistics space is probably only noticeable to the average American as they drive along the interstate or make landings at airports on a clear day.

The warehouses Blackstone is buying are often massive white windowless and logo-less boxes bigger than a football field. They sit adjacent to airport runways, highways, large ports and rail hubs. Increasingly, inside these buildings is what looks like science fiction: Massive robots move and sort palettes of goods, drones check inventories, and orders are sifted and sorted on conveyors that have the sophistication of an automotive assembly line.

For Blackstone, Sunday’s deal is a major doubling down on the U.S. logistics market. Its $140 billion real estate investment arm rolled up logistics warehouse operators and formed Indcor, which it sold to GLP for $8.1 billion in 2015. Then the firm’s real estate gurus set their sights on Europe, building pan-European giant Logicor into a $13.8 billion logistics behemoth that was sold to China Investment Corp. in 2017. In buying GLP’s U.S. business, Blackstone is bulking back up with familiar assets, acquiring some 179 million square feet of urban, in-fill logistics assets nationwide, doubling the size of its existing footprint. It also bought back a piece of Logicor from CIC in late 2017.

Blackstone’s global opportunistic real estate funds will acquire 115 million square feet of GLP space for $13.4 billion and its income-oriented non-listed real estate investment trust, BREIT, will acquire 64 million square feet for $5.3 billion. “Our global scale and ability to leverage differentiated investment strategies allowed us to provide a one-stop solution for GLP’s high-quality portfolio,” said Caplan.

Blackstone has its pick of real estate ideas to crow about.

It is one of the biggest office, hotel and single and multifamily property owners in the United States and globally. Its $140 billion portfolio contains 231 million feet of office space globally, 151,000 hotel room keys, 75 million feet of retail real estate, and 308,000 residential units and homes. It built and remains a top shareholder of Invitation Homes, an NYSE-listed single-family landlord with a portfolio of 80,000 homes nationwide. In Chicago, Blackstone owns the Willis Tower, and in Las Vegas it owns the trendy Cosmopolitan hotel and casino. By square footage, logistics space now appears to be Blackstone’s top real estate holding.

The $18.7 billion price tag is a coup for GLP, the seller. Based in Singapore, GLP is was cofounded by entrepreneur Ming Zei Mei, who spun out the international logistics space of Prologis, mostly based in China, Brazil and India. Now GLP, short for Global Logistics Partners, operates 785 million square feet of space, with more than half in China.

Once listed in Singapore, GLP was taken private in 2017 by its cofounder and a consortium of Asian investors including HOPU Jinghua (founded by Goldman Sachs’ former China chairman), Hillhouse Capital and China Vanke Co. In addition to logistics space, GLP is becoming a force in real estate and private equity asset management, with $64 billion under its watch. For the firm, Sunday’s deal is a watershed, reportedly receiving interest from Prologis, a publicly trade real estate investment trust that is the leader in U.S. logistics space.

“GLP was able to leverage our deep operating expertise and global insights in the logistics sector within four years to build and grow an exceptional portfolio,” Alan Yang, chief investment officer of GLP, said in a statement. As it recycles capital, the firm remains bullish on the U.S. “We are looking forward to expanding our footprint in the United States to continue to seize key opportunities in the U.S. market,” Yang said.

For more on Logistics:

See our 2017 feature on Prologis, the world’s logistics leader

Also see our mention of GLP in our coverage of a bet Brookfield made in China.

I’m a staff writer at Forbes, where I cover finance and investing. My beat includes hedge funds, private equity, fintech, mutual funds, M&A and banks.

Source: Blackstone Calls Logistics Its ‘Highest Conviction’ Real Estate Idea After Striking $18.7 Billion GLP Deal

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This Ex-Goldman Trader And His $800 Million Startup Hope You’ll Pay Extra For Real Estate That Aces A ‘Wellness’ Test

Paul Scialla of Delos

Wellness” is one of those extremely broad words that mean everything and nothing. To its adherents, it signifies more than “health,” which is dismissed as merely the absence of illness. Wellness has become a giant industry, or at least a very flexible marketing term. In the grossly inflated view of one industry group, wellness is a $4 trillion global business. Gym memberships and organic produce can be considered part of the trend. But so can incense, DNA tests and sleep aids. So why not “well” buildings?

“If you believe in the wellness trend, why wouldn’t you apply it to the largest asset class there is?” asks Paul Scialla, the 45-year-old former Goldman Sachs partner and founder of Delos, a New York City-based startup. “That seems to be the way to extract the most value from it.”

Scialla is selling a “Well” building certification that real estate developers, employers and hotel and resort operators can display in their lobbies and use in their marketing materials. Modeled after the well-known LEED green building standard, which is administered by a nonprofit, Scialla’s project differs in one key aspect: Delos is very much a for-profit company. Over the last five years, he has raised $237 million at a valuation, most recently, of $800 million.

Backers include Bill Gates’ personal investment office and Jeff Vinik, the former manager of the Fidelity Magellan fund. The New Age celebrity doctor Dee­pak Chopra sits on Delos’ board, as does actor ­Leonardo DiCaprio. Scialla even persuaded Rick Fedrizzi, a creator of LEED, to put off retirement to run the International Well Building Institute, the part of Delos’ business that evaluates buildings.

Interior photos of Delos' New York headquarters.

Scialla hopes that his customers will be as eager to pay for Well as property owners have been to embrace LEED, which has certified 76,800 projects since its inception in 2000. LEED ­charges $13,000 to evaluate a new 100,000-square-foot property. In a recent study, a third of building owners said that going green added more than 10% to their properties’ value.

It’s too soon to say whether a Well certification gives the same boost. But developers are desperate for anything that might allow them to charge a ­premium for cookie-cutter condos, offices and standard-issue hotel rooms. In a city flooded with indistinguishable accommodations, the MGM Grand in Las Vegas bills 20% more for 500 rooms kitted out with Delos-approved “Stay Well” products.

A Delos evaluation for a 100,000-square-foot space costs some $20,000. When the Manhattan construction firm Structure Tone moved from leafy Greenwich Village to congested 34th Street, Robert Leon, who oversees sustainability at the company, thought reluctant staffers would appreciate a Well certification for the new space. Clients also like that the firm is ahead of the wellness-trend curve. “We want to be able to say we did it first,” he says. In 2017, Structure Tone spent $90,000 to get its Well certification and make the office upgrades required by Delos.

Scialla, raised by immigrants from Italy and Holland in suburban Plainfield, New Jersey, got the idea for Delos in 2009 when he was a newly minted partner at Goldman Sachs. A passing interest in sustainability led him to wonder why so much was made of how buildings affected the planet, rather than how they affected people. It didn’t take his undergraduate finance degree from New York University for him to see the potential in the wellness trend.

Paul Scialla of Delos in front of a large display.

The idea seemed so obvious that he spent a few years poking at it on nights and weekends to be certain no one had beaten him to it. He found decades of research linking buildings to health, but no one trying to build a brand around it. “I couldn’t find the ­bogeyman,” he says.

He named his nascent project after the Greek island of Delos, where, according to myth, the god Apollo was born and, he says, its inhabitants lived forever. By 2013, Paul and his twin brother, Peter, also a partner at Goldman, left the bank to focus on Delos full-time. (Peter is president and chief operating officer.) Both brothers invested in the venture (they won’t say how much). That December, Delos scored its first $24 million in outside funding.

Delos’ certification business has ramped up slowly, but 2018 was a big year. It has now handled 1,555 projects totaling 314 million square feet in 48 countries. Forbes estimates that revenue came to $20 million last year. The firm has 170 employees.

The office certification process starts with Delos assigning a concierge, who guides the customer through the more than 200 elements Delos uses to evaluate a space, including the proximity of workstations to windows, easy access to drinking water and the size of the plates in the cafeteria (10 inches or smaller discourages overeating). Then an independent reviewer comes in with a suitcase full of sensors that measure air, water and sound quality.

Scialla says wellness is a “gigantic” market and he’s not concerned about competition from Fitwel, a building wellness certification service launched in 2017 by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and the General Services Administration. A nonprofit, the Center for Active Design, operates the service. Fitwel isn’t as comprehensive as Well but costs a lot less. Its customers pay $8,000 for a project of up to one million square feet. Tishman Speyer, whose properties include Rockefeller Center in New York, is using Fit­wel to certify its global portfolio by the end of this year.

Looking ahead, Scialla has his sights on other revenue streams, including smart homes. For a price starting at $3,500, homeowners can buy a Delos app called Darwin that gives them wellness readings that include air and water quality. Simonds, an Australian homebuilder, is installing the system in 1,000 new houses this year, and KB Home is testing it in California. Insurance companies could use Delos’ environmental data to make smarter health-coverage decisions, he says, cutting premiums for customers who live in wellness-outfitted homes. When pressed for details, he admits it’s just a concept. “I’d like people to look back 20 years from now and think, ‘Remember when we didn’t consider the human condition when designing and building these spaces that we’re spending 90% of our lives in?’ ” he says. “How did that get missed?”

I am a staff writer covering real estate. Come for the outrageous homes, stay for the insights on what gets built and why.

Source: This Ex-Goldman Trader And His $800 Million Startup Hope You’ll Pay Extra For Real Estate That Aces A ‘Wellness’ Test

NYC’s Housing-Market Weakness Spreads From Manhattan To The Outer Boroughs — peoples trust toronto

Throughout vast swaths of New York City, members of the city’s vast middle class work force can barely afford even a modest apartment. Yet for years after the post-crisis housing market recovery began, that reality did little to slow down the rise in home valuations as foreign capital and rock bottom interest rates fueled a […]

via NYC’s Housing-Market Weakness Spreads From Manhattan To The Outer Boroughs — peoples trust toronto