Apollo Real Estate Advisors said today it would change its name to AREA Property Partners in a move to ‘formalise the firm’s independence and mark a new chapter in its history’.

The change will become effective from 15 January 2009.

Apollo Real Estate was founded 15 years ago by William Mack and Leon Black, operating as an independent real estate fund manager, with separate funds and professional staff. Until 2000, the firm was affiliated with Apollo Global Management.

AREA said that the name change would have no effect on its management, financial resources, investing focus or business operations.

It will continue to be located at its global headquarters in New York City, with its European headquarters based in London's Knightsbridge and a further five offices across the US, Europe and India.

The Pan-European operations of AREA, headed by Bill Benjamin, will continue to be managed by its principals, who include John Robertson, Mike Pashley, John Ruane, Wilson Lamont, Andrea Orlandi and debt specialist, David Ferguson.

It has investments under management in North America, France, India, Poland, Romania, Spain, Switzerland, Russia, Ukraine, Italy, Turkey and the UK and their most recent dedicated European fund was closed in March 2008 with around $1.4bn (£900m) of equity.

‘We are celebrating our milestone 15th year at AREA and the progress we have made in Europe and India since the establishment of the European headquarters in 2000,’ said Benjamin. ‘The current market is creating numerous interesting opportunities throughout Western and Central Europe and the next couple of years will be challenging and should be fruitful.’