Brookfield’s Brush Said to Leave Post to Head Spanish REIT

David Brush resigned as head of Europe for Brookfield Property Group to join a new Spanish property company being created by Magic Real Estate, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

Brush, 54, will move to Madrid to become the chief investment officer for the unnamed Socimi, the Spanish equivalent of a real estate investment trust, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public.

The new company’s size will be very significant, said the people, who were attending the MIPIM property conference in Cannes, France, last week. They declined to be more specific. Nobody was immediately available for comment at Magic Real Estate. Andrew Willis, a spokesman for Brookfield, wasn’t immediately available for comment.

Brush, a New York native who has lived in the U.K. for the past 18 years, will join a stream of international investors including Pacific Investment Management Co. LLC’s Bill Gross, Quantum’s George Soros and billionaire John Paulson who are banking on a recovery of Spanish real estate after a six-year slump.

Amendments to Spain’s REIT legislation last year have reduced the tax burden for Spanish property investors. Lar Espana SA and Hispania Activos Inmobiliarios SA, two externally-managed Socimis, have listed shares shares within the past two weeks.

Positive Sign

“It’s a great sign that an international professional such as Brush believes in the Spanish Socimi model and the recovery of the Spanish real estate market,” said Ismael Fernandez Anton, a partner at Ashurst LLP in Madrid who heads the law firm’s Socimi team. “People coming from outside show that the Spanish Socimi model is as attractive as any international REIT regime.”

Brush joined Brookfield in 2012 after spending 18 years as a managing director of the opportunity fund at RREEF, the former name of Deutsche Bank AG’s global real estate investment unit. Prior to that, he worked for Bankers Trust’s real estate investment banking group.

Brookfield Property is a unit of Brookfield Asset Management Inc. Magic Real Estate was set up in 2012 by Ismael Clemente and Miguel Ollero, former managing directors at RREEF Spain.

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