Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Managing director of real estate at The Blackstone Group

Chris Graham
By and December 6, 2021 9:00 AM

Chris Graham’s 2021 started with a bang. In January, Blackstone Real Estate — for which Graham runs the West Coast acquisitions — announced the recapitalization of two industrial portfolios owned by LBA Logistics and spanning 9.5 million square feet. It was typical of the sheer scope of the trades that Graham and his team work on.

Another major deal included the May purchase of 66 multifamily properties with about 5,800 units in the San Diego area for more than $1 billion. Blackstone closed the deal with plans to invest $100 million into the apartments, which provide low-cost housing.

Then there was the August announcement from Blackstone and joint venture partner Hudson Pacific Properties that they plan a major film, television and digital production complex on a newly acquired, 91-acre site north of London. The total investment would be $975 million, the companies said.

Why was this deal half a world away a big one for the L.A.-based Graham? Because he’s involved in any Blackstone deal connected to the company’s venture with Hudson. Blackstone bought a 49 percent stake in Hudson’s 2.2 million-square-foot Hollywood Media Portfolio, a collection of studio facilities, in June 2020. That move came with plans to invest in studios in other markets.

“We’ll continue to grow that platform,” Graham said, noting the demand for studio space spawned in part by pandemic-induced consumer demand for entertainment. “Not only are we ultra-focused on doing that in Los Angeles and Hollywood but in other major markets like London, New York and Vancouver.”

The University of Southern California alum, who worked in a similar role at JPMorgan Chase prior to Blackstone, said that in general his business — and Blackstone’s at large — follows growth. He described a single working day in late November as involving negotiations on a life sciences deal in San Diego, an industrial site in Las Vegas, studio space in L.A., an office investment in Seattle and a grocery-anchored retail property in the Bay Area.

“We tend to go where the people want to be as it relates to both population and job growth,” Graham said, “and many markets in the West continue to meet those criteria.” — T.A.

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