Blackstone’s Wesley LePatner At Bisnow National Real Estate Finance Summit
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At the Bisnow National Real Estate Finance Summit, a selection of the top CRE investors and lenders will gather to discuss capital markets, the lending and investment climate and how to plan for the unpredictable future of CRE. This full-day event will take place Sept. 24 in New York City, register for it here.
Wesley LePatner is the global chief operating officer of Blackstone’s Core+ Real Estate business and the COO of Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust. Working in a leadership role at one of the world’s leading investment firms, LePatner is an expert in commercial real estate markets on a local and global scale.
Blackstone currently has $545B of assets under management, and LePatner has played a key role in some of the firm’s milestone transactions. Bisnow recently sat down with her to learn more about her role at Blackstone, where her firm is looking for deals — both domestically and across the globe — and her work as chair of Blackstone’s Women’s Initiative.
LePatner will be speaking on the “Hunting For Yield” panel at Bisnow’s National Real Estate Finance Summit Sept. 24, where she will discuss opportunities for investors across various locations and asset classes. Register here for the event.
Bisnow: Can you tell us about some exciting global opportunities you're currently exploring?
LePatner: At Blackstone, we like to start with the question: What themes do we like? We then focus on the sectors and markets that we find attractive and use the scale of our broader real estate platform to access these opportunities in a differentiated manner. Large, complicated situations are our sweet spot.
Logistics remains a major investment theme globally for our business. We’ve been active buyers of logistics portfolios all over the world, and we’re always looking to invest in market-appropriate assets in areas with strong supply-demand fundamentals. From my perspective, the sector’s strong performance has been driven by accelerating e-commerce trends, a desire for faster delivery times and low levels of new supply.
Bisnow: Blackstone is one of the world's leading real estate investment firms. Can you tell us a bit more about your role at the firm and how you help Blackstone achieve its goals?
LePatner: I joined Blackstone in 2014, and my role as the COO of the firm’s Core+ business has evolved over time. When I first joined, my goal was to get our U.S. business off the ground and make sure it was best-in-class in terms of its infrastructure and operations. Over the years, my role has evolved to overseeing all new product development within Core+, including the creation of all of our European and Asian Core+ strategies, as well as our nonlisted REIT, BREIT.
One of the most exciting parts of my job has been leading our co-investments for some of our larger Core+ transactions. Having a leadership role in milestone transactions, like the take-private of Pure Industrial Real Estate Trust, has been extremely gratifying.
Outside of the real estate group, I also chair Blackstone’s Women’s Initiative. This allows me to work with the firm’s most senior leadership to ensure we are hiring and retaining top female talent. This has been a true highlight of my job here, and I am extremely proud of the work we’re doing.
Bisnow: What are some of the greatest challenges you face when searching for high-yield real estate investment opportunities?
LePatner: In a market environment like this one, it’s critical to focus on the markets with high growth potential. At Blackstone, we are vigilant about making sure we see a clear path of growth in any investment opportunity we are looking at.
We’ve also observed that there tends to be more competition for smaller, high-yielding assets. We tend to focus on opportunities that are larger and more complex; our recently announced GLP transaction is a good example of this. It’s incredibly strategic, allowing Blackstone Real Estate to double the size of our existing U.S. logistics footprint and acquire 179M SF of high-quality logistics assets in top markets.
Bisnow: Outside of work, what gets you out of bed in the morning? What are some of your passions?
LePatner: My family, quite literally, gets me out of bed in the morning. I have two young children who are very early risers, so my husband and I are often up by 5 a.m. This gives us a lot of uninterrupted quality time with them before the workday starts.
I also actively support several New York institutions that are focused on education and the health of children and young adults, including the Mount Sinai Children’s Center Foundation and The Hewitt School. I was brought up to believe that to those who much is given, much is required, which is why I strive to give back whenever I can.