TPG builds real estate team

Avi Banyasz, a 13-year veteran of real estate investment firm Westbrook, will help the private equity giant push further into the real estate asset class.

TPG has hired former Westbrook Partners managing principal Avi Banyasz, its latest move in developing a dedicated real estate investment programme. For years, the firm had made opportunistic real estate invesments from its global private equity funds but has lately been ramping up its real estate activities.

Banyasz worked for New York-based Westbrook for 13 years and led the firm’s New York City acquisitions group. Sister news site PERE has learned that Banyasz will move to TPG in a senior role at the end of January, helping to develop its real estate programme. He is expected to work alongside TPG’s head of North American buyouts Kelvin Davis.

A spokesman for TPG confirmed Banyasz was set to join the firm at the end of January.

[This is a] unique opportunity for [Banyasz] to help create a real estate programme within TPG's broader business lines.

Westbrook Partners' letter to
limited partners

In a letter to limited partners, Westbrook said the move offered a Banyasz a unique opportunity “to help create a real estate programme within TPG's broader business lines”.

Dallas-headquartered TPG has been actively increasing its real estate activities over the past year, last month closing on a $505 million deal to buy ProLogis’ Catellus assets. That particular transaction entails TPG taking over the direct ownership or equity interests of a variety of US assets, including four shopping centres, two office buildings, 11 mixed-use projects with related land and development agreements, two residential development joint ventures, Los Angeles’ Union Station, certain ground leases and other right-of-way leases.

Rumoured to be in the final bidding for the ING Real Estate Investment Management platform — alongside Richard Ellis, Jones Lang LaSalle and Ares Capital Management — TPG is cementing its reputation as an up-and-coming global real estate player, which could eventually rival the likes of The Blackstone Group and Starwood Capital Group.

Despite becoming increasingly active in the asset class, TPG has never raised a dedicated real estate fund. Instead it has invested in the sector via its two latest flagship buyout funds, the $15 billion TPG Partners V fund and TPG Partners VI, which closed on $18.8 billion in 2008.