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BEDMINSTER, NJ-Rothschild Realty Inc., part of the London-based Rothschild banking network that operates in most of the world’s major financial centers, has made an equity investment in the Advance Realty Group, based here. A privately held real estate development firm, Advance has regional offices in Boston and Washington, DC and currently owns and operates a 4.5 million-sf office and industrial portfolio.

The actual amount of Rothschild’s investment in Advance has not been disclosed, although one published report pegged the figure at somewhere in excess of $100 million. Advance officials will only say that the investment will enable the company, presumably through leveraging, to develop and/or acquire $300 million a year in commercial real estate for the next five years. Among Advance’s current projects is a major portion of the Passaic riverfront redevelopment project in Harrison, NJ.

“This is a significant equity investment,” says D. Pike Aloian, managing director of Rothschild Realty, which made the placement through its Five Arrows Realty Securities III LLC. The latter is part of the five-year-old Five Arrows Realty Securities Funds, currently capitalized with $900 million. It has completed 14 private placements into eight REITs and six private companies.

“We selected Advance as our northeastern US platform because of its track record in acquiring, developing and repositioning office and industrial properties in the Boston-to-Washington corridor,” Aloian notes. “We feel that the timing of this investment will allow Advance to take advantage of some significant buying opportunities.”

Advance president Peter J. Cocoziello feels that the investment “re-affirms our strategic direction. It enhances our capabilities as far as taking advantage of the opportunities in the market. This investment, coupled with our existing financial resources, positions us as one of the largest investors in our core markets.”

Founded in 1979, Advance Realty Group is one of the largest privately-held real estate organizations in the Northeast. Rothschild Realty, meanwhile, was founded in 1981 as a division of the Rothschild Group, which is active in more than 20 countries. Rothschild Realty currently manages investment vehicles representing more than $1 billion in capital.

The transaction was initiated by Legg Mason Wood Walker Inc. LMWW served as placement agent and as advisor to Advance.

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