John Kropke is joining Principal Real Estate Investors as a managing director to restart the firm's U.S. and Europe real estate operating company business, CEO Todd Everett said in an interview.
Mr. Kropke will report to Rod Vogel, senior managing director and head of private equity production, and Jos Short, chairman of Principal Real Estate Europe.
Mr. Kropke had been a partner at real estate consultant and money manager the Townsend Group. Robert Elfinger, a spokesman for Aon, Townsend's parent company, could not be immediately reached for information on Mr. Kropke's replacement.
Principal had invested in real estate operating company businesses with $9 billion in assets under management for a single client from 1999 to 2018. That business was wound down and the team moved with the assets. Mr. Everett said he could not identify the client or provide further details.
Mr. Everett said relaunching the business was a strategic decision Principal Real Estate Investors executives would have made in any environment. But he added, "We do view the timing as especially opportune."
The opportunity set is fairly wide in that it includes providing fresh capital for real estate developers and operators for current needs or growth, delisting publicly traded real estate companies and supporting teams that are launching new businesses, Mr. Everett said.
The strategy also lends itself to investors that are looking for greater control over their investments in separately managed accounts, Mr. Everett said.