Guardian Life Gives Lowe Enterprises a $200M Shot in the Arm

The partnership's investment goal centers on capitalizing on the recovering real estate market, which presents substantial opportunities for favorable acquisitions. Lowe has already begun mining the country for just the right assets to purchase.

July 8, 2010
By Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor

Lowe Enterprises Inc. has struck up a new strategic partnership with Guardian Life Insurance Company of America. In a two-facet agreement, New York City-headquartered Guardian has committed to providing Lowe with $200 million for investments, and to acquiring a substantial, non-controlling interest in the Los Angeles-based real estate firm’s investment management subsidiary, Lowe Enterprises Investors, for an undisclosed amount.

The partnership’s investment goal centers on capitalizing on the recovering real estate market, which presents substantial opportunities for favorable acquisitions. Lowe has already begun mining the country for just the right assets to purchase. “Our focus is what we’ve historically targeted, which is valued-added opportunities,” Bleecker Seaman, Lowe co-CEO, told CPE. “We’ll look at the four primary food groups with a focus on office, industrial and retail that is principally done in conjunction with mixed-use. We’re also active in a hotel investment program, so we’re looking into hotel space as well.”

The total amount of funds Lowe has available to play with will actually be more than the $200 million Guardian has provided. “We would use leverage,” Seaman said. “Historically, we’ve been more moderate users of leverage, so it would be in the 60 to 65 percent range.”

As for Guardian’s new stake in Lowe’s investment management subsidiary, the change will not alter the internal workings of the entity. Seaman and Brad Howe, as co-CEOs, will maintain their roles as managers of day-to-day operations, and existing staff will stay onboard.