New Buchanan Street Exec Peterson Sees Troubles, Opportunities Ahead

The current economic turmoil might well have  the commercial property industry feeling pain for some time to come. But according to a newly-hired executive with Buchanan Street Partners, the tumult will also create an environment rife with opportunities.

Buchanan Street Partners has hired Bob Peterson as managing director in its Newport Beach, Calif., office. Peterson, with 28 years of experience in the commercial real estate industry, will be responsible for investing in structured debt and value-added equity opportunities on behalf of the firm’s discretionary funds, and will serve Buchanan Street clients throughout the West. He will also be involved in the acquisition, marketing, and branding efforts for the firm.

Peterson  comes to Buchanan Street from Cornerstone Real Estate Funds, where he served as chief investment officer. He has led the investment process on more than $5 billion in office, industrial, retail, and multi-family transactions in his career.

Much of the commercial real estate market today is in “total chaos,” Peterson said, and he believes that his experience during the real estate recession of the early 1990’s will benefit Buchanan Street. “This feels a lot like 1991 and 1992,” Peterson said, and predicted more pain to come, as the commercial market did not show noticeable improvement in the 90’s downturn until 1995.

Problems in commercial real estate typically lag the residential market, Peterson said, due to the long-term nature of commercial leases, and large reserve requirements for borrowers. “There are a lot of owners out there, who are going to need to restructure their debt and equity,” he said.

Prior to Cornerstone Real Estate Funds, Peterson served as executive vice president of acquisitions and dispositions for Koll Bren Schreiber Realty Advisors. Buchanan Street partners has invested approximately $5 billion of equity in joint venture real estate nationally, and has recently added principal lending products to its platform.

The firm said in a statement that it is actively seeking investment opportunities in both equity and debt in major metropolitan areas throughout the U.S. The present turmoil in the marketplace has a bright side, Peterson said. “It is going to create opportunity,” he noted. “There is going to be a lot of wealth exchanged.”