Ex-Blackstone Real Estate Executive Launches New Investment Fund

A former Blackstone executive is planning to capitalize on volatility in the real estate sector by launching a new investment management business. 

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Chad Pike launched Blackstone’s offices in London and other international hubs as co-head of the firm’s real estate platform.

Chad Pike, who spent 25 years at the private equity giant and helped expand its real estate business in Europe, is looking to raise billions of dollars for the new endeavor, PERE reported. The company, called Makarora, will initially focus on U.S. transactions in private debt and equity and public market opportunities resulting from market stress, according to a launch document obtained by the publication. 

“An interest rate-induced commercial real estate valuation reset, exacerbated by regional banking distress, creates what Makarora anticipates to be a major cyclical investment opportunity,” the document says. 

The firm’s first investment vehicle is expected to launch next year and hopes to attract billions of dollars in investment from institutional investors, PERE reports. 

Pike has already recruited 12 executives for the firm and plans to bring in as many as 40 staff. Among the recent hires is Adam Brooks, a former managing director at real estate manager Prospect Ridge and an AllianceBernstein alumnus, who joins as head of credit. 

Makarora is launching as its leadership predicts significant pressure in the real estate sector and anticipates “a prolonged cycle similar to the 1990s Savings and Loans crisis,” according to the launch document. The firm plans to make acquisitions while “some existing firms are burdened with challenges in their legacy portfolio.” 

The new investment platform is expected to initially target credit deals before investing in special situations and private equity real estate outlays later in the cycle, according to PERE. 

Over his 25-year career at Blackstone, Pike led approximately $26B in property acquisitions, the document says. He ran the firm’s real estate platform from London alongside now-Blackstone President and Chief Operating Officer Jon Gray between 2005 and 2011, before launching the firm’s tactical opportunities business with David Blitzer and assuming the role of vice chairman for Europe. 

Pike opened five of the firm’s global offices — including hubs in London, Tokyo, Mumbai and Hong Kong — and is known for growing Blackstone’s real estate business and generating strong returns for its signature Blackstone Real Estate Partners fund, according to PERE. 

His deals at Blackstone included the $1.2B acquisition of a portfolio of 51 offices from Deutsche Bank in 2003, the €630M purchase of leisure parks operator Center Parcs in 2006 and a £1.1B investment in 2009 in Broadgate, a London office complex, Private Equity International reported.

Pike left Blackstone in 2020 in what was described as an amicable departure that would allow him to focus on managing his own investments, including with his family office, Grassy Creek. But his tenure at the firm wasn’t without palace intrigue, with Business Insider reporting in 2021 that Gray had helped push Pike out of the firm’s real estate business. 

Gray, described by Business Insider as a serial worker who frequently responds to emails over the weekend, complained to leadership about Pike’s penchant for family vacations and tendency to indulge his hobbies, which included heli-skiing, and a side business of luxury lodges that offered fly-fishing and mountain biking. 

The misalignment between Gray and Pike culminated with Stephen Schwarzman, Blackstone’s CEO, deciding in 2012 to shift Pike to a role launching the tactical opportunities arm of the business, Business Insider reported. Gray became the sole head of the firm’s real estate activities and, later, the clear successor to Schwarzman.

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