How Blackstone became the world’s biggest landlord

Firm’s focus shifted from traditional private equity to real estate over past decade

Feb.February 18, 2020 03:30 PM
Clockwise from the top left: Bellagio Las Vegas, Blackstone's Jon Gray, Embassy Office Parks in Bangalore, Blackstone's Ken Caplan, Stuyvesant Town, and  Blackstone's Kathleen McCarthy (Credit: Blackstone, Embassy Office Parks, Wikipedia)

Clockwise from the top left: Bellagio Las Vegas, Blackstone’s Jon Gray, Embassy Office Parks in Bangalore, Blackstone’s Ken Caplan, Stuyvesant Town, and  Blackstone’s Kathleen McCarthy (Credit: Blackstone, Embassy Office Parks, Wikipedia)

Until about a decade ago, Blackstone Group derived most of its profits from traditional private equity. But following a dramatic expansion into real estate driven by CEO-in-waiting Jonathan Gray, massive property deals are now the company’s calling card.

With an estimated real estate portfolio of $325 billion, Blackstone is now the world’s largest real estate company, according to Fortune.

Of that total, $163 billion comes from Blackstone’s own real estate equity capital — which has multiplied eightfold since the company went public in 2007 — while the rest is financed with debt.

As rising property values and a slowing economy have made it harder to find high-yielding deals, Blackstone is increasingly investing in unglamourous assets such as warehouses and rental properties in the world’s “knowledge centers” — rapidly gentrifying cities like New York, London, Berlin and Stockholm.

Blackstone’s real estate investments are classified into two basic types — riskier “opportunistic” funds with average annual returns of around 15 percent, and more conservative “Core+” funds with returns around 10 percent.

The firm’s relationships with large institutional investors have given it a significant advantage when pursuing massive deals. Last year, it closed on a record $20.5 billion opportunistic fund known as Blackstone Real Estate Partners IX (BREP IX), which co-invested in the firm’s $18 billion industrial portfolio acquisition from GLP last June.

“If a $20 million office building is for sale, you might have 20 bidders,” Blackstone’s head of Americas acquisitions Tyler Henritze told Fortune. “When it’s a $20 billion deal, the competition is a lot more limited.” [Fortune] — Kevin Sun

Related Articles

Fordome Investment Group’s Kris Rodriguez and Blackstone’s Stephen Schwarzman (Credit: Getty Images, Google Maps)

Blackstone plans to build new Medley warehouse

Placeholder image

Blackstone sells Weston hotel for $12M

Industrial sales are up

South Florida’s industrial sales jump to over $1B in Q3 2019

Daily Digest Miami

Scaramucci slashes his sights on his Opportunity Zone fund, Florida’s first LGBTQ+ senior housing development breaks ground: Daily digest

Blackstone CEO Stephen A. Schwarzman and 5120 Northwest 165 Street

Blackstone buys two Miami Gardens industrial properties for $14M

3208 Northwest 72 Avenue and Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman (Credit: Google Maps and Getty Images)

Blackstone buys industrial portfolio near Miami airport for $56M

Blackstone CEO Stephen A. Schwarzman and Southwest 13th Court (Credit: Google Maps)

Blackstone snags industrial site in Pompano Beach for $10M

Blackstone CEO Stephen A. Schwarzman, the Exchange Lofts apartments at 115 Northeast Third Avenue in Fort Lauderdale

Blackstone sells the Exchange Lofts in downtown Fort Lauderdale for $23M