Greystar Buys Riverstone Residential Group

Years ago, Riverstone Residential Group wanted to buy its closest competitor, Greystar Real Estate Partners, but founder & CEO Bob Faith turned them down because he had a similar goal: build the best multi-family property management company on a national platform.

Bob Faith, Greystar
Bob Faith, Greystar

Years ago, Riverstone Residential Group wanted to buy its closest competitor, Greystar Real Estate Partners, but founder & CEO Bob Faith turned them down because he had a similar goal:  build the best multifamily property management company on a national platform.

This week, the tables were turned as Faith’s Greystar acquired Riverstone from London-based CAS Capital Ltd. The firm is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Regis Group P.L.C. and owned by Nick and Peter Gould. The terms of the deal were not released by Greystar, which is a Charleston, S.C.-based private firm.

The acquisition makes Greystar the leading multifamily real estate services company in the United States and possibly the world with more than 385,000 apartment units under management in major markets throughout the U.S., United Kingdom and Mexico. Greystar now has a combined work force of 10,000 team members. The National MultiFamily Housing Council’s 2014 Top 50 apartment managers list had Greystar at number one with 214,696 units and Riverstone at number two with 176,319. The closest competitor now is Lincoln Property Co., which NMHC then listed as number three with 153,445 units.

“Riverstone is one of the nation’s most highly respected multi-family firms and we are proud to have them join our Greystar family,” Faith said in a news release. “Combining forces makes us even stronger, especially in local markets where we are bringing together some of the most talented and experienced multi-family professionals in the industry. Our local teams are well resourced, and will now harness the power of our combined technology and service platforms to further expand our service offerings to our clients, partners and residents.”

Faith told CPE that the Gould brothers approached him a few months ago about selling Riverstone to Greystar.

“We’re long-term committed to this business. This is what we do. They’re entrepreneurs. They get things started, get them going and then go on to the next thing,” Faith said. “This was a logical time for them and lucky us to get to bring them into the family.”

Acquisition of the Dallas-based company enhances Greystar’s local presence in several major markets, particularly in the Western U.S., including California, Oregon and Washington.

“We got a lot bigger in the Pacific Northwest in Seattle and Portland. They were already the largest in both of those markets. We were fairly small up there. Now there’s been pretty dramatic growth and a fantastic concentration in those markets,” Faith told CPE.

He added that Greystar added more than 20,000 units in Portland and more than 30,000 in Washington, primarily in the greater Seattle area.

One goal Greystar has for the future is to get into Manhattan. Faith admitted neither company had any Manhattan units.

“That is certainly something we want to change,” he said, adding that Greystar does have clients in nearby Brooklyn, Long Island and Hoboken, N.J.

Another goal is continuing to grow its international portfolio, he said. Riverstone’s assets were entirely in the U.S. but Greystar has expanded into the U.K. and Mexico. The company has several thousand apartment units in Mexico City and Monterrey, Mexico, Faith said. It also owns 22 properties in the U.K., primarily student housing. The company entered the student housing market about 15 years ago and now manages more than 59,000 units, including the U.K. assets, that were purchased in September, its first foray into the U.K.

“We expect to be growing in the U.K. and Mexico through development primarily and through acquisitions when available,” Faith told CPE.

Faith, who founded Greystar in 1993, has successfully integrated other major operators over the years, including the 2008 acquisition of JPI Management Services. That purchase allowed Greystar to truly become a national company by adding units in California, the Midwest and the Northeast.

In addition to property management, Greystar has about $1.5 billion of residential developments underway and more than $7.5 billion in assets in its institutional investment management platform.

Faith said the Riverstone name would disappear but that the Riverstone team, led by CEO Terry Danner, would be staying on, and the Dallas office would remain.

“He’s an important part of the leadership,” Faith said of Danner.

Faith knows many of the Riverstone executives, including Danner, from their past days in the Trammell Crow Residential organization.

“We know each other and we have a lot of respect for each other,” he added.

Faith added that the companies are very “culturally compatible.”

“The main thing is we’re going to be thoughtful and deliberative about how we do the integration,” he concluded.