Blackstone Group’s Tony James wants more real estate

His family office will focus on multifamily, industrial and office properties

Tony James and Bill Helm (Credit: LinkedIn)
Tony James and Bill Helm (Credit: LinkedIn)

The Blackstone Group‘s biggest business is its real estate division, so it’s only fitting that the firm’s vice chairman would look there when managing his own investments.

Tony James recently hired Bill Helm for the newly created role of head of real estate investments at Jefferson River Capital, a family office that invests on James’ behalf. Jefferson River has yet to make a real estate investment, Bloomberg reported.

The focus, initially, will be on multifamily, industrial and office properties in the Northeast and Southeast, the report said.

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James’ wealth is estimated at $2.5 billion and is spread across at least two family offices. His real estate holdings include a duplex on the Upper East Side that he bought in 2011 for $24.9 million. His Swift River Investments acquired the 34,000-acre Hamilton Ranch in Montana in 2011, Bloomberg said.

Before joining Jefferson River in May, Helm worked at DLJ Real Estate Capital Partners for about eight years. It was spun off from Credit Suisse Group AG in 2010. DLJ sold a 12-story Brooklyn Heights rental building in 2015 for north of $40 million, was an investor in Alloy Development’s 1 John Street condo project and handled the conversion of the Jarmulowsky Bank Building on the Lower East Side into a boutique hotel.

Prior to his time at DLJ, Helm spent a combined 15 years at Credit Suisse and Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette. DLJ

Jonathan Gray, Blackstone’s former head of real estate, which as of June 30 had $120 billion under management, replaced James as president and COO in March. [Bloomberg] — Meenal Vamburkar

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