Quay project refired with Lyons at Valad helm
NIC LYONS, who left the GPT Group after its foray into a less than successful joint venture with the now defunct investment house Babcock & Brown, has returned to the sector as the new Australian head of the Valad Property Group.
NIC LYONS, who left the GPT Group after its foray into a less than successful joint venture with the now defunct investment house Babcock & Brown, has returned to the sector as the new Australian head of the Valad Property Group.The US equity giant Blackstone took over and subsequently delisted Valad in August but has retained Mr Lyons to replace Valad's acting chief executive, Clem Salwin, who is leaving to pursue new interests.Mr Lyons's focus will be Valad's large development pipeline, which includes the pending redevelopment of Goldfields House, at 1 Alfred Street, Circular Quay.Valad was among the harder hit real estate investment trusts in the global financial crisis. It was forced to write down to zero key projects, such as the redevelopment of the Pentridge prison, which is up for sale, and a stake in the Top Ryde shopping centre.Before its takeover by Blackstone, Valad lodged a development application to redevelop Goldfields House into a $1 billion upmarket apartment block with new ground floor retailing.Valad has $8 billion of assets under management in seven countries. In Australia, it manages about $780 million in funds through Valad Property Trust and four other wholesale funds, the largest being the Valad Core Plus fund (V Plus).During his tenure at GPT, Mr Lyons worked on the long-running demerger from Lend Lease as well as the group's expansion into Europe through the joint venture with Babcock & Brown.Mr Lyons also worked on GPT's expansion into the US seniors housing sector.After he left, GPT appointed a former St George and Commonwealth Bank executive, Michael Cameron, who has since sold out of Europe and the US assets.Blackstone's Chris Heady, the senior managing director, said yesterday: "Our objective with Valad is to stabilise and then grow its businesses in Australia and Europe. Nic's focus will be solely on Australia, and we are confident he will be a superb addition to the already strong Valad team."