Carlton Group may expand to Russia next

Manhattan-based real estate investment bank the Carlton Group is expanding into Europe in an effort to become a bigger player overseas, according to Crain’s. The expansion has already begun with the firm opening a London office in April. Howard Michaels, chairman and chief executive, says Russia will be next, potentially opening by the end of 2011.

Michaels is attempting to cash in on changed attitudes amongst foreign investors. “Everyone always said overseas investors have an increased appetite in Manhattan. Today that has never been more true,” he said.

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In the first quarter of 2011, the firm closed around $2 billion worth of deals, most recently helping Murray Hill Properties save its investment at 1180 Sixth Avenue by brokering a refinancing deal with a Beijing conglomerate. It also brought in a London hedge fund to fund Harry Macklowe’s acquisition of 737 Park Avenue.

“The last two years have been difficult for everybody,” Michaels said. “Transaction volume and deals were down. Now it’s a very intense environment, and we want to provide our clients with the best exposure for their assets.” [Crain’s]