Property is the basis of much of the world’s wealth. Here are five family offices where real estate is at the heart of their investment focus.
The Grosvenor Estate
Perhaps the greatest property dynasty of all time given its longevity, the Grosvenor Estate effectively acts as a single-family office for the Grosvenor family, given the family is its only shareholder. The history of the Grosvenor Estate goes back to the 17th century and has been extremely good at innovation ever since, especially through geographical diversification. The property group has been involved in many property projects in North America, Europe, and Asia and has a property portfolio spread around these regions worth many billions of dollars.
Pontegadea Real Estate and Pontegadea Investments
A family investment group linked to Amancio Ortega, the owner of the fashion empire Inditex, best known for its Zara brand, and among the world’s wealthiest individuals, is building one of the biggest privately controlled property portfolios in the world - and very quickly. Pontegadea Real Estate and Pontegadea Investments - are estimated to own a property portfolio worth at least $7 billion.
Allegedly Ortega always pays cash for his property purchases, which helps to ensure he gets some of the best deals around. Many of these deals are at institutional level amounts and so Pontegadea is often competing with some of the world’s biggest sovereign wealth funds and pension groups to acquire the best of prime commercial property in the most expensive cities around the world.
The LeFrak family are arguably New York City’s richest property dynasties, owning large parts of the city’s prime properties - and most of that fortune is managed by a group called LeFrak, effectively a property-based family office The family’s property empire began in France in the late 19th century, but moved swiftly to the US at the beginning of the 20th century. Richard LeFrak is the current CEO of the eponymous property dynasty, which includes Battery Park City at the tip of lower Manhattan and apartment blocks in Queens. The Manhattan-based business owns more than 40 million square feet of residential, office, retail and hotel properties in New York, Los Angeles, London, and Miami.
Japan’s wealthiest property dynasty is led by Akira Mori, who inherited the real estate business after the death of his father in 1993. The fortune is managed by Mori Trust, effectively a family office-like structure. Much of the wealth at Mori Trust was built up in the 1980s, when Tokyo property was the most valuable in the world. Today, the Mori property empire is still founded on the ownership of many prime properties in Tokyo and other cities throughout Japan. The group owns 124 facilities for management and leasing with a total floor area of about 15,930,000 square feet. Mori Trust has recently launched a US subsidiary to invest in property there.
The family office of the Californian-based Nazarian family, Omninet, which specialises in property and venture capital investment, has a property empire that comprises seven million square feet of commercial space and over 13,000 residential units across the US. Earlier this year, the group completed a 400,000 square feet acquisition in downtown Los Angeles with a price tag of $80 million.