AXA JV buys €231m German shopping center

The French insurer and French-listed commercial property company Unibail-Rodamco teamed up to acquire the Ruhr Park Shopping Center from Perella Weinberg.

AXA Real Estate Investment Managers and French-listed commercial property company Unibail-Rodamco have formed a joint venture which has acquired the Ruhr Park Shopping Center in Bochum, Germany.

The French insurance giant bought a 35 percent stake in the shopping center using capital from AXA Selectiv’ Immo, a French regulated real estate fund, and an AXA insurance company for €231 million.

AXA acquired its stake from Perella Weinberg Partners, which previously owned 50 percent of the center as part of a joint venture with Unibail-Rodamco. As part of the transaction, Unibail-Rodamco acquired the remaining 15 percent of Perella’s stake in the center, increasing its holding to 65 percent, and will continue to manage Ruhr Park.

“AXA Real Estate continues to target dominant, large-format multi-channel retail outlets and particularly major shopping centers where leisure and entertainment facilities expand the appeal of such destinations in a changing retail landscape,” commented Laurent Jacquemin, European head of transactions at AXA Real Estate.

Built in 1964, Ruhr Park has undergone refurbishment and has further updates in the works, including a 237,000-square-foot extension currently underway. This latest phase of updates and expansion is due for completion in the fourth quarter and will increase the center’s total lettable area to 1.15 million square feet. Ruhr Park currently offers a total of 18 shops, a cinema and parking for 4,400 cars.

The transaction is AXA Real Estate’s third shopping center joint venture in the last year, following the acquisition of a 50 percent stake in Cabot Circus, Bristol and the establishment in February of a joint venture with Eurocommercial Properties to own a 50 percent stake in the Etrembières Shopping Centre, France.

At the end of March, AXA Real Estate held €9 billion of retail assets across 13 European countries, including over 35 shopping centers.