Watt Launches New Acquisition Division

Watt Cos., a real estate asset management services business, recently created a new acquisition division to take advantage of opportunities in the Western region of the nation.

Through Watt Investment Partners, the company will identify prospective acquisitions where it can place equity for different types of projects that are available in the marketplace, such as new construction, redevelopment and debt investments.

The Santa Monica, Calif.-based company has already committed $60 million in investments for a variety of projects including retail, multifamily, performing and nonperforming debt and land for development.

Jim Maginn, a former Watt president and CEO, will lead the new venture in collaboration with former chief investment officer Dean Pentikis.

“The real estate market has changed dramatically over the past few years, and this is truly an ideal time for Watt Cos. to begin deploying capital, creating new joint ventures and identifying acquisition opportunities in the marketplace,” Maginn said. “We are expecting continued volatility for the foreseeable future, but that uncertainty is exactly what will create many different real estate opportunities for a nimble and flexible investment vehicle like Watt Investment Partners.”

During his 25 years with Watt, Maginn has overseen new development and project financing for the company's portfolio that includes 50 shopping centers, over eight million square feet of industrial and professional office space, homes for more than 100,000 families and three first class hotels.

Pentikis joined Watt Cos. in 2010 to lead the strategic acquisitions program, develop new equity partnerships and oversee the financing operations for the company. Previously, Pentikis was partner and manager for Apollo Real Estate Advisors where he oversaw a portfolio of originated deals and projects with total capitalization of more than $2.5 billion.

Jennifer Keith-McElyea, who was named the managing director for Watt Investment Partners, will also help lead the new division where she will focus on developing deal sourcing.

“The launch of Watt Investment Partners represents a significant step forward in our ongoing strategic reorganization,” said Nadine Watt, president of Watt Cos. “I am confident in this team's ability because of their experience in direct real estate, banking and private equity to lead Watt's acquisition activities moving forward.”