Two Real Estate Principals Launch Investment Co., Say Liquidity Crunch Allows Them to Compete with Large Groups

By Anuradha Kher, Online News EditorLos Angeles–Two Los Angeles real estate principals, Mory Barak, formerly of Buchanan Street Partners and Jeff Weller, formerly with CB Richard Ellis, have formed a new privately held real estate investment company called Lion Real Estate Group LLC.Lion Real Estate will focus on acquisitions of value-add and opportunistic multifamily projects in Los Angeles through direct investments in equity and debt secured by real estate. Along with the launch of the firm, the founders also announced their acquisitions of 417- 421 Ocean Park Blvd., a seven-unit property located in Santa Monica, Calif., and Villa Gramercy, a 12-unit property adjacent to Hancock Park, Calif. for a total of $5.75 million.“We believe this is a good time for our company’s launch because many investing groups are facing a liquidity crunch and since we have individual investors, we are in a better position with equity,” Barak tells MHN “A lot of investor groups are priced out of this market.”Weller says that the fundamentals for Class A properties in LA, and particularly in West LA are very strong.Lion Real Estate has several high net-worth investors from West Los Angeles, which Barak says, gives them an edge over their competitors. “Our investors are from private equity firms or real estate firms,” says Weller.The company plans to complete seven to 10 transactions this year, all of which will range from $7 to $15 million.“In the next three years, we hope to hit the 100 million mark with our transactions. Our goal is to build up a portfolio of non-rent stabilized Class A properties in affluent areas in LA,” says Weller.