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NEW YORK CITY-Industry veterans Jay Nydick and Brahm Cramer will lead AllianceBernstein’s efforts to establish a presence in commercial real estate, the investment manager announced late Monday afternoon. A spokesman for AllianceBernstein tells GlobeSt.com the newly established investment unit will mark the company’s initial entry into direct real estate.

In a release, AllianceBernstein says it expects to have an opportunistic, US-focused real estate offering for its high-net-worth and institutional clients by mid-2010, followed by both core and global offerings. These services are intended to complement the firm’s research and investment platforms in fixed-income and growth and value equities, including existing investment research on securitized real-estate debt and equity, the release states.

“Our offering will be opportunistic in many real estate markets as the economic downturn has undermined valuations for a large number of properties,” says the spokesman.

With a commercial real estate background that goes back to the days of the Resolution Trust Corp., Cramer was most recently co-head of Goldman Sachs’ real estate principal investment area, which has invested more than $24 billion in 35 countries since its inception in 1991. He will join AllianceBernstein in the first quarter of ’10.

Nydick previously served as president of iStar Financial, where he helped diversify its holdings into the auto and timber industries. Like Cramer, he joined Goldman in 1990, and spent 14 years there before assuming the iStar presidency in 2004.

“I’ve had the opportunity to work with both Brahm and Jay in the past,” says Peter S. Kraus, chairman and CEO of AllianceBernstein, in a release. “They’re both outstanding investors–their real estate expertise and research-driven approach will be great additions to our firm.”

As of August 31, AllianceBernstein had $482 billion in assets under management worldwide, according an SEC filing. The company, which is headquartered at 1345 Ave. of the Americas, was named one of nine pre-qualified PPIP fund managers by the US Treasury in July. To that end, it formed a strategic partnership with real estate investment firms Greenfield Partners and Rialto Capital Management, and with Altura Capital Group.

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