Area sells 35% stake to Australian bank

March 10, 2011 09:08AM

In a move intended to raise funds for investments abroad, William Mack’s Area Property Partners has sold a 35 percent, non-controlling stake in the company to National Australia Bank, according to Bloomberg News. New York-based Area, which counts the Time Warner Center among its New York investments, is looking to expand its real estate portfolio and plans to spend upwards of $1 billion in equity this year, with $500 million of that going to Europe and India and the rest being invested domestically. Still skeptical about the U.S. office market, the company will focus on hotels in Manhattan and multi-family retail properties nationwide, said CEO Lee Neibart. “We think that there will be opportunities to acquire some smaller REITs,” Neibart said. “There’ll be an opportunity to acquire larger distressed assets. We think that there’ll be an opportunity to significantly grow our debt business. So by having access to this type of capital, we can look for bigger things to do.” [Bloomberg]