Leitner Tapped as President of Berkshire

Berkshire Group has selected Charles Leitner, a well-known fixture in commercial real estate, to serve as president of the property investment, management and development firm.
Charles Leitner

Charles Leitner

Berkshire Group has selected Charles Leitner, a well-known fixture in commercial real estate, to serve as president of the property investment, management and development firm.  The title is a newly created position at the 44-year-old company.

Leitner is a big fish. Before joining Berkshire, he served for three years as CEO of the ULI Greenprint Center for Building Performance, a global alliance of leading real estate industry players devoted to reducing building carbon emissions. However, he is best known for his role as Global Head of RREEF, now operating under the umbrella of Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management, where he spent 24 years and played a significant role in developing the firm into a top real estate investment advisor with an $80 billion asset management portfolio.

“The addition of Chuck Leitner to the Berkshire team demonstrates Berkshire’s continued commitment to meeting and exceeding our institutional investor’s needs,” George Krupp, co-founder & CEO of Berkshire, told Commercial Property Executive. “Berkshire is well positioned to take advantage of the opportunities we see in the market on behalf of our investors.”

Through its group of real estate businesses, Berkshire acquires and manages apartment communities and property-related companies on behalf of institutional investors. Presently, the firm’s portfolio totals more than 30,000 residential units in the U.S. But Berkshire has diverse interests; its venture capital group holds stakes in companies in the hotel, medical office and senior living sectors.

Leitner will be more than a little busy, spearheading the operations of Berkshire’s funds management and entity-level investment business. “Our immediate goals are to successfully implement our investment strategies for our investors in our existing funds that have capital for investment in the near term,” Krupp said. “In addition, our strategic plan is to expand our funds management and entity level businesses prudently. Chuck will take on day-to-day responsibilities for running the business and strategic plan execution is one of those responsibilities.”

It’s a fertile time for those in the multi-family game. As noted in a report by Cassidy Turley, only 17 of 49 major U.S. markets reported a vacancy rate above 5 percent in the third quarter.

“Real Estate fundamentals are still very favorable,” Krupp added. “While construction levels have increased from the 30-year lows experienced since the recession floor,  we believe that real estate opportunities are evaluated at the local level and but for a few markets where increased supply coupled with waning demand have caused concern, the majority of markets we invest in still have positive momentum for current investment strategies.”