Michael Zerda is the new head of Blackstone Real Estate Debt Strategies in Europe, replacing Rob Harper who is returning to the US, Real Estate Capital has learned.
Zerda will oversee the real estate debt group’s London-based Europe team and all European investing for Blackstone’s two debt vehicles: the latest co-investment fund, BREDS III, and mortgage REIT Blackstone Mortgage Trust which is listed on the New York stock exchange.
He joined Blackstone in February from LaSalle Investment Management where he had worked for six years in the debt investments and special situations team with head Amy Aznar.
Harper is taking up a new role, overseeing asset management of Blackstone’s US real estate portfolio, a spokesman for the company said.
Real Estate Capital reported in March that Blackstone had raised $2.05 billion for the latest BREDS fund out of a total target of $4 billion. The previous fund, BREDS II, closed with $3.3 billion of commitments, but with $4 billion of capital including two separate accounts.
The remit of the latest fund is expanding to allow investments into transitional assets and mezzanine loans in parts of Asia, Mexico and Canada as well as the US and Europe.
BREDS III’s largest European deal this year was a £340 million loan to Bain Capital and Canyon to finance a portfolio of 27 Qhotels.