Behringer Harvard to open European office in Germany

The Dallas-based real estate firm has taken on Oliver Georg and Olaf Fortmann from HCI Capital to run the operation. Behringer and HCI formed a $1.3bn alliance to invest in European real estate in 2006.

Dallas-based Behringer Harvard is expanding its global presence with the opening of an office in Hamburg, Germany.

Behringer Harvard, which owns and manages around $8 billion (€5.7 billion) of property in the US and internationally, said two senior directors from its European property joint venture partner, HCI Capital, would be running the office. Oliver Georg and Olaf Fortmann worked with the firm in 2006 to set up a $1.3 billion investment vehicle.

Robert S. Aisner, president of Behringer Harvard, said he expected the European office would help the firm source equity, pursue joint ventures and improve contacts with owners, developers, investors and lenders.

HCI Capital is a German provider of closed-end funds. Aisner added: “With their European market knowledge and established industry relationships, I'm confident [Georg and Fortmann] will make valuable contributions to the company's international growth.”

Behringer Harvard has investments in 10 countries including the US, the Netherlands, Germany, the Bahamas, UK, Australia, the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary.

The firm made its first international investment in March 2006 alongside HCI when it acquired a 5-story office building located near Schipol Airport outside Amsterdam. The investment was made for its Strategic Opportunity Fund I, which closed on $65 million in the same year.

It entered the German market with the acquisition of a four-building, 146 unit apartment complex, which was the first acquisition for follow-up vehicle, Behringer Harvard Strategic Opportunity Fund II.