Firm Sees Opportunities in Russia

NEW YORK -- Pervasive fear in the capital markets has driven down bonds backed by commercial real estate loans to levels where they now offer an enticing investment, said Michael Pralle, the former head of GE Real Estate.

"There are already opportunities in real estate debt markets," said Pralle, who became president of JER Partners, a private equity real estate investment management firm.

JER seeks riskier investments with return rates of 13 to 15 percent. "I tried to persuade the [GE] team to go in to Russia," he said. "I was unable to do that."

JER's $325 million Russia fund, which backs development projects in the country, can expand to about $1 billion in buying power through the use of debt.