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ORANGE COUNTY, CA-Fast-growing real estate investment banker Buchanan Street Partners has been selected by the nation’s largest pension fund to invest $60 million on the fund’s behalf in the development and rehabilitation of real estate projects across California.

The money is being provided by the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, commonly known as CalPERS. Newport Beach-based Buchanan Street will invest the $60 million of equity and mezzanine debt in urban infill projects.

Buchanan Street Chief Investment Officer Tim Ballard says that because his company will combine the CalPERS money with debt and equity provided by other parties, it will result in as much as $250 million being available for various investments. “The average transaction size will be $15 million to $25 million, so it’s conceivable that we’ll be doing a dozen or more projects,” Ballard tells GlobeSt.com.

Ballard says the CalPERS/Buchanan venture will focus on building or rehabbing urban infill apartments, offices, industrial facilities and retail complexes. By doing so, the money will help to create and improve urban housing, enhance services and create more jobs for urban residents.

Buchanan Street Partners was formed only two years ago by veteran real estate financier Robert S. Brunswick and colleagues Ballard, Tim Hawthorne and Chris MacDonald. But it has quickly become a major player in the equity and mezzanine debt business on the West Coast, employing 35 investment bankers and other real estate pros.

Last month, the company announced that it had closed its $25-million Buchanan Fund I that will invest in joint venture equity and mezzanine investments and also said its Advisory Services division had closed a combined $160 million in West Coast and Hawaii financings over a 60-day period.

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