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MORRISTOWN, NJ-Arsenal Real Estate Funds has closed its initial fund, AREF I, with capital commitments of more than $150 million and a gross investment capability of more than $600 million. The firm was launched two years ago by former Prudential Real Estate Investors execs Gary Picone, John Maurer and Joe Margolis, and J. Brian O’Neill, founder and chairman of King of Prussia, PA-based O’Neill Properties Group.

When the firm was launched, the stated primary investment target was multifamily properties in the Northeast, California and Florida. The firm’s scope has been broadened since then: According to its website, Arsenal invests in multifamily, office, retail and in-fill land nationwide.

“The strategy is to invest through our network of operating partners in development, redevelopment, repositioning and land reuse/entitlement opportunities,” according to Picone. “Profit potential is enhanced if the investment focus is on scarce, high-demand product.”

Investments to date have included urban in-fill land, affordable rental housing developments, waterfront residential and entry-level condo conversions, according to Maurer. Arsenal has acquired or controls identified investments for almost 70% of AREF I’s capital, Maurer says, and “plans to have the balance of the fund’s capital invested within the next 12 months.”

AREF I’s investors include several institutional investors, including corporate and public pension funds, foundations and university endowments.

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