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On Thursday, we checked in with former Arden Realty pres and CEO Joaquin de Monet at his new company: Palisades Capital Realty Advisors. The boutique investment management firm just closed its first acquisition.

Joaquin tells us Cascade Station I and II—two Class-A office buildings (one is LEED Gold cert) in Portland, Ore—are part of a development that’s sponsored by the Port of Portland, near the airport. (So you can see the hipsters as they arrive and realize they're finally home.) He founded Palisades to provide customized solutions to private capital investors (high-net-worth individuals and family offices) in the US and Latin America, primarily Mexico. The company plans to acquire Class-B suburban office product on the West Coast, focusing on Denver west plus Texas.

Trammell Crow was the seller of Cascade (top left); CBRE's Kevin Shannon was the broker on the deal. Joaquin's got two other office buildings under contract in Brea and in Chandler Ariz. The three deals, all closing in Q2, total $65M. The company has two programmatic JVs—one focused primarily on Mexican and other Latin American investors, the other that's mainly investors from Silicon Valley—with a total of about $200M of equity in process. Joaquin's no stranger to Mexico, having run operations there for GE Capital. He first went to Mexico in 1993 with Cushman & Wakefield, doing tenant rep deals on the heels of NAFTA.

We needed to step a ways back to snap the team. While Palisades' focus on Latin America started with the relationships Joaquin built during his 13 years there, it's also "a business strategy that works." He sees two drivers: one, the opportunity for Mexican investors to hedge some of their peso risk with hard assets in the US. In addition, the budding REIT market in Mexico (where they're called fibras) has made it much more competitive. That's crowded out some of the value investors, who seek yield and diversification in the US.

One bonus of chatting with industry VIPs like Joaquin is that you tend to run into other VIPs—like LA Realty Partners' Peter Best and SAA's Rick Shlemmer. (A-list begets A-list.) They're among the dozen or so consultants and advisers who work with Palisades on a collaborative basis, including marketing maven Brooke Lauter (third from right in the previous pic). After 16 years in two executive roles with GE Capital, including stepping in to fill the "humongous shoes" of Dick Ziman and Victor Coleman at Arden, he says it was time to get back to building a growth business. (Who's their cobbler?)

Joaquin and his wife have two daughters, 9 and 5. Besides family activities, he likes to go hiking in Temescal Canyon. He grew up in a real estate family—grandfather was a real estate investor, father was a developer up in the Bay Area. One of his earliest jobs was helping his Dad do TI work at a building not far from Palisades' HQ on Wilshire in LA when he was 13.