Ares Taps Bartling, Eyes Forming Loan Unit

Investment manager Ares Capital Markets has hired veteran lender John Bartling to explore the possibility of setting up a commercial-mortgage operation.

Bartling joined the Los Angeles firm in September as head of real estate. His mandate is to map out a game plan for Ares to finance commercial properties across the U.S.

Ares Capital is a unit of Ares Management, an alternative-asset manager and investment advisor with $37 billion under management. Ares Capital, which is headed by senior partner Greg Margolies, manages $18 billion of assets via funds and separate accounts, with an emphasis on investments in leveraged loans, high-yield bonds and other fixed-income instruments.

Now Ares sees potential in the commercial-mortgage market and is kicking the tires. Bartling, who remains based in Dallas, will examine whether it makes sense to proceed and will head up any resulting operation. Ares is evidently considering the origination of portfolio mortgages, not loans for securitization.

Bartling previously was chief investment officer of AllBridge Investments, a high-yield investment firm in Charlotte headed by Larry Brown. Before joining AllBridge in 2006, Bartling ran WMC Management, which oversaw residential real estate, golf courses, hotels and resorts. In the late 1990s, he was chief executive of Lexford Residential, a Columbus, Ohio, REIT that owned and managed 402 apartment properties in the Midwest and Southeast. It was eventually acquired by Equity Residential Properties of Chicago. In the early 1990s, Bartling was director of the real estate products group at Credit Suisse.

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