Gordon Black | Lifetime Achievement in Real Estate
Senior Managing Director – European Private Equity, Heitman
As the leader of Heitman’s European Private Equity operations since 1995, Gordon Black has been one of the central figures in the emergence and growth of the CEE and SEE real estate markets for over two decades as he and his team have frequently led the charge of institutional capital investing across the region as the various country markets have cascaded open behind them. Gordon will attend this year’s CEEQA Gala to receive the sector’s garland award.
Gordon was clear early on where his interests lay. During his time at Michigan State University working toward a BA in Finance, he knew he was destined for a career in real estate and following graduation, he joined Heitman in 1988 where he worked in a variety of groups including finance and accounting, property management and leasing, and a Special Projects group focused on complex development projects.
Assuming responsibility for Heitman’s European activities in 1995, the firm had recognized an opportunity to participate in the Central European region prior to and post NATO and EU accession, anticipating that there would be yield convergence with Western Europe and significant catch up growth in connection with becoming part of the EU. Gordon recently transitioned to a new role at Heitman where he is responsible for portfolio management of select European private equity portfolios and global investment mandates.
The first European investment was in 1996, providing the majority of the equity capital to develop the Warsaw Financial Center in a partnership with Chicago based developer Golub & Co. The firm made an early entry into the Budapest market with the Harbor Park logistics development in 1998, a conversion of an old pig farm, and entered the Prague market with the Charles Square development in 2000 with GE Capital Golub, at which point Gordon moved to Heitman’s London office to continue to lead and grow the firm’s European Private Equity group following the formation of Heitman’s first European commingled fund.
Leading the charge
Gordon and his team have frequently led the charge of institutional capital investment across the region as the various country markets opened up including the Baltics and Romania in 2006 and Croatia in 2010 with the signature Arena Centar project in Zagreb by TriGranit, creating opportunities for others in driving the direction of the market place and helping to shape the future of the region. To date the firm has invested in approximately €4 billion of real estate assets in nine Central and Eastern European countries.
Founded in 1966, Heitman is a global real estate investment management firm with approximately €32.5 billion in assets under management. Heitman’s real estate investment strategies include direct investments in the equity or debt capitalization of a property or in the securities of listed and publicly traded real estate companies. Heitman is wholly owned and controlled by senior officers of the firm.
Gordon is an equity owner of Heitman and a member of the firm’s Executive Committee, Board of Managers, Global Management Committee, and European Investment Committee. He is also a member of the Urban Land Institute and the Commercial Investment Real Estate Institute.
“I am humbled by receiving this award and would be remiss if I didn’t accept it on behalf of the entire Heitman team. I have had the good fortune of working with a multitude of the highest quality professionals in real estate and of having the full support of Heitman, without which we would never have achieved the various accomplishments that we have. It has been a true pleasure to have participated in the institutionalization of the overall CEE real estate marketplace and contributed to the quality improvements of the real estate landscape in the region.”
Richard Hallward, founding director of CEEQA, commented:
“When one looks across the timeline of the development of the CEE & SEE real estate market place post 1989 there are a handful of figures who stand out as leaders that have helped to drive it forward with courage and wisdom, Gordon is unarguably one of them. He has also been a great friend to CEEQA and we are delighted and honoured to welcome him to the ranks of our Lifetime Achievement laureates. Congratulations and thank you.”
The annual CEEQA Gala, in its 15th year, attracts more than 800 business leaders in commercial real estate investment from more than 50 countries for the sector’s flagship gathering and is renowned for its exceptional blend of elite business and exclusive hospitality, as well as world class entertainment which in recent years has included the likes of Macy Gray, Bonnie Tyler, Kim Wilde and Hot Chocolate. This year’s Gala entertainment will be led by globally renowned band Morcheeba and Springbok rugby legend Percy Montgomery. Tickets still available on ceeqa.com/booktickets.