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LOS ANGELES-Investment giant Morgan Stanley of New York has spun off its locally based Kearny Real Estate Co., paving the way for highly regarded Kearny to begin offering its services to outside clients sometime next year.

The newly independent Kearny will be run by a management team lead by Jeff Dritley, who has spent the last few years directing the West Coast operations of the Morgan Stanley Real Estate Fund. Dritley and his two partners, David Simon and Amy Wissmann, control 50% of the “new” Kearny.

Morgan Stanley still has a $50 million equity stake in Kearny, and for now is the company’s sole client. But plans call for Kearny to begin offering its services to other firms in the first half of next year.

Kearny will look for land, office and industrial deals on the West Coast, particularly in the LA areas, a spokesman for the firm says. Its minimal investment target is $15 million.

Kearny has been involved in several high-profile Southland real estate projects over the years. It has won national recognition for its conversion of an obsolete manufacturing facility into the wildly successful Pasadena Business Park in Pasadena, and currently is building a 410,000-sf industrial and office project in Temecula for lawn-products giant Scotts Co.

With LA-based Kearny now independent, the Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investment Fund will move the headquarters of its acquisitions and asset-management team from the Southland to San Francisco.

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