China Vanke, one of the mainland’s earliest investors in US real estate projects, has set up a US-based real estate investment firm as the Chinese developer seeks to become a player in the global asset management industry.
Vanke has set up Brightstone Capital Partners in New York together with a team of real estate professionals from Rockefeller Group Investment Management and Metropolitan Real Estate as a global real estate investment management platform, according to a statement from the newly formed company.
In early 2013, the developer, which is China’s largest by sales, was one of the first mainland real estate companies to invest in the US when it partnered with New York’s Tishman Speyer on the Lumina development in San Francisco, and since that time has gone on to work with some of America’s biggest developers on projects in New York and Seattle.
Vanke Goes Global as China’s Boom Ends
“Globalization is one of our long-term growth strategies,” explained China Vanke president Yu Liang. “The founding of the Brightstone investment management platform will help strengthen Vanke’s overseas investment position, assist the company in better leveraging its global resources, and enhance our profitability.”
Vanke will hold an 80 percent stake in the new platform through its private equity affiliate, V Capital, according to sources familiar with the matter who spoke with Mingtiandi. The remaining 20 percent of Brightstone will be held by its US-based operating partners, Dennis Irvin, John Rivard and Douglas Lee.
Vanke and its partners plan to use the new investment platform “to pursue real estate investments across the return spectrum in high-quality assets in major markets globally,” according to a statement, and will use Brightstone to syndicate investments in assets to third-party investors. Market reports indicate that the newly formed platform has already raised $1 billion to pursue acquisitions, although these reports could not be independently verified at the time of publication.
Yu noted that China’s real estate industry has transitioned to a phase of slower growth, following an unprecedented boom period, and that “Vanke is actively transforming itself as well.”
The new platform follows a string of direct investments in the US by Vanke including three projects in New York with Adam America Real Estate and Slate Property Group. The Shenzhen-based company also committed $200 million last month to building Seattle’s tallest apartment tower.
“Vanke is the ideal partner with whom to launch an investment management platform,” said Dennis Irvin, Managing Director of Brightstone Capital Partners. “The combination of Vanke’s real estate development expertise, Brightstone’s investment and management capabilities and our significant capital commitment will enable us to generate a wider range of strategic options for investors, while providing transparency and alignment of interests.”
In Vanke’s earlier ventures in the US it partnered with large US developers, including with Tishman Speyer on the Lumina in San Francisco, and with New York’s RFR, and Houston’s Hines, for a luxury high rise at 610 Lexington Avenue in Manhattan in 2014.
Teaming with US Real Estate Veterans
In establishing Brightstone, Vanke is forming a new partnership with a trio of experienced US property investors, led by former Rockefeller Group Investment Management (RGIM) President and CEO Dennis Irvin. Joining Irvin at Brightstone is former RGIM head of acquisitions and investments John Rivard, who will serve as a managing director with Brightstone.
RGIM manages the Rockefeller Group U.S. Premier Office Fund LP for The Rockefeller Group.
Alongside Irvin and Rivard at Brightstone will be former Metropolitan Real Estate Head of Capital Markets Douglas Lee, who will also serve as a managing director and partner at the new firm.