Former LimeTree Capital Partners executive Mark Cho has joined Blackstone as managing director of asset management with the alternative investment giant’s China real estate team, according to a spokesperson for the New York-based firm.
The Blackstone representative confirmed to Mingtiandi that the former LimeTree senior partner started in his new Shanghai-based role on 30 September.
Helping Manage the World’s Biggest Property Fund
Cho stepped aboard at the US private equity giant two months after the company’s $20.5 billion final close on the largest ever global real estate fund and the former LimeTree senior partner will be kept busy looking after Blackstone’s growing China portfolio.
Just last week, the firm was reported to be mulling the acquisition of a trio of commercial buildings from Soho China – two in Beijing and another in Shanghai – for $3 billion. Mingtiandi has come to understand, however, that a purchase by Blackstone is not imminent at this time.
Blackstone’s most recent acquisition in mainland China came nine months ago when it acquired a stake in three fully-leased shopping centres – one each in the Chinese cities of Xi’an and Zhengzhou, and a third in the South Korean city of Hanam – from Taubman Centers in a deal valued at $480 million.
That acquisition came two months after Blackstone’s $1.25 billion purchase of Mapletree Business City Shanghai and VivoCity Shanghai from funds managed by Singapore-based Mapletree Investments.
A Car Park Track Record
Cho started his new role at Stephen Schwarzman’s fund management firm less than a year after his former employer closed on $419 million in capital for its second China car park-focused fund. On the same day that its former head of China began his new job, Limetree signed an agreement to acquire nine underground car parks in Beijing from Soho China for RMB 761 million ($107 million).
After being brought on board by LimeTree’s managing partner James Goulding in 2013, Cho had served as the firm’s chief executive officer for China, with responsibility for deploying capital raised through its car parking investment funds. In response to inquiries from Mingtiandi, a LimeTree spokesperson that the company’s business will not be affected by Cho’s departure.
Goulding and Cho had both previously worked at Deutsche Asset Management, now known as DWS, with Cho having served as the company’s head of real estate for China from 2007 to 2013 and Goulding having been the firm’s chief executive for Asia before founding LimeTree Capital Partners in 2006.
Prior to Cho’s time at Deutsche Asset Management, the University of Pennsylvania graduate had been a principal for strategy consulting practice Monitor Deloitte from 2003 until 2007.