17 Power Players Building Blackstone’s $280 Billion Real-Estate Empire

Timothy Johnson, global head of Blackstone Real Estate Debt Strategies

Timothy Johnson

Timothy Johnson.


When banks tightened their lending standards after the 2008 financial crisis, Blackstone stepped in, providing debt to institutional investors and real-estate developers who found it difficult to get financing otherwise.

“Generally speaking, our place in the world of real-estate finance has been filling in the gaps of what a traditional bank would do,” Johnson, the global head of BREDS, told Insider in 2020.

Blackstone played a similarly vital role when the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

While traditional lenders pulled back because of economic uncertainty, the company raised $8 billion for its latest real-estate debt fund, BREDS IV, which closed in September 2020. It was the largest real-estate credit fund ever raised, according to Blackstone, and represented nearly half of all funds raised in 2020, the commercial-real-estate brokerage JLL said.

“Alternative lenders are looking to fill a gap that has widened dramatically during the economic crisis due to banks carefully managing their balance sheets and shifting to lower risk property deals with more certain cash flow profiles,” Matt Duncan, the head of debt advisory in Australasia for JLL, said in an article on JLL’s website

Johnson, 42, was named the head of BREDS in November, succeeding Pollack, who was promoted to lead the newly created structured-finance group, which includes BREDS. 

Johnson, who joined Blackstone in 2011, oversees all of Blackstone’s investments in commercial- and residential-real-estate debt. 

In an interview with Commercial Observer shortly after his promotion, Johnson highlighted warehouses, multifamily apartment buildings, and life sciences as attractive sectors for both debt and equity investments.

“There is also more opportunistic lending to be done in places that have seen temporary disruptions but have good long-term fundamentals, such as urban apartments and high-quality, new-build office,” Johnson told the Observer.

Before joining Blackstone, Johnson cofounded a boutique commercial-real-estate finance company and worked at Lehman Brothers’ commercial-real-estate group. He is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross. 

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