Two high-profile investment specialists have joined forces to launch a new firm, Alternative Real Estate Advisors (AREA), as a new niche advisory and brokerage business focused on operational real estate and long income solutions.
AREA has been founded by Richard Servidei, who previously headed JLL’s Long Income team within Living Capital Markets, and Ashley Layton, who was a senior director in the Alternative Capital Markets team at BNP Paribas Real Estate.
The new business will specialise in the hospitality, living and infrastructure markets, including the hotel & leisure, student accommodation, build to rent & residential, healthcare & retirement living, data centres and automotive sectors and will provide institutional and developer clients with a range of services including transactional, development consultancy and asset management.
“Between us, we have over 30 years’ experience of the markets and saw an opportunity to create a niche ‘alternatives’ advisory business, filling an obvious gap in the market,” said Richard Servidei.
“We see an opportunity to use our specialist skill set to assist clients through the lifecycle of their assets in sectors that are rapidly evolving and where there are great opportunities for developers and investors,” he added.
Ashley Layton commented: “There is a strong appetite for these sectors which are at various stages of maturity within the alternative asset class. This is an area of the market that has proved very resilient and continued to grow during the pandemic, with many investors looking to diversify their portfolios and exploit the exciting opportunities.”
With over 15 years’ experience across a number of the operational and long income asset classes, Servidei has been involved in over £2bn of transactions with a number of UK Institutions including Alpha Real Capital, ABRDN, Aviva, CBREGI, LaSalle, M&G and Royal London Asset Management.
Layton also has over 15 years’ experience and has worked on a number of high-profile transactions including £350m of sale and leaseback disposals of prime London budget hotels for Whitbread, the disposal of a Travelodge in Kings Cross for £70m and the acquisition of the UK’s largest leisure scheme in Birmingham for over £50m.
Based in London’s West End, AREA has secured the services of additional experts including highly experienced research manager, Sarah Cole, who will lead the company’s research in to residential and student housing.
In addition, the company has the support of advisory board members Iliya Blazic and Adrian Goodall.
Iliya is the former CIO of iQ Student Accommodation and was a part of the executive team that led the disposal of the business to Blackstone for £4.66bn in 2020. Adrian has delivered over 10,000,000 sq ft of development space that includes hospitality, leisure and residential.
A further announcement on new team members in the near future is expected soon.