NEW YORK, July 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- AllianceBernstein L.P. (AllianceBernstein) announced today that it has successfully launched its first commercial real estate debt fund (the "Fund") as part of the firm's ongoing efforts to broaden its alternative investment offerings. The first-time Fund raised more than $700 million and will primarily focus on $15 to $75 million first mortgage loan investments secured by high-quality, transitional properties throughout the U.S. The Fund seeks to capture yield opportunities that have resulted from a liquidity gap as many traditional providers are unable to underwrite transitional credit. Its seasoned investment team will manage downside risk through a rigorous credit process focusing on fundamental real estate underwriting and control of servicing of its loan investments. The Fund marks the next evolution for AllianceBernstein's Real Estate Group, which was formed in September 2009 to build out a leading private equity real estate investment platform leveraging the firm's infrastructure. Just over one year ago, the Group closed its first private equity real estate fund, which secured capital commitments of $680 million in the face of a challenging fundraising environment. Roger Cozzi, who joined AllianceBernstein this year, will lead the Fund and AllianceBernstein's newly formed Commercial Real Estate Debt Group. "As we look to grow and diversify our client offerings, moving into commercial mortgage debt is the next logical step for us," said Jay Nydick, Co-CIO of the AllianceBernstein Real Estate Group. "With the expertise Roger brings in transitional loan investments, together with our robust existing infrastructure in real estate and credit analysis, we think we can take advantage of unique opportunities in the commercial mortgage market that hopefully should provide clients with attractive risk-adjusted returns." Cozzi has more than 20 years of experience in the transitional first mortgage and mezzanine loan market. Most recently, Cozzi was CEO of Gramercy Capital Corp. (NYSE: GKK), a NYSE listed public REIT. He previously held senior investment positions at iStar Financial, Starwood Capital Group and Goldman Sachs.