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BlueRoad makes first investment for $139m

Chicago-based BlueRoad Ventures, the real estate investment manager backed by local hot dog baron Dick Portillo, acquired a retail portfolio for $139 million.

BlueRoad Ventures, a newly formed Chicago-based asset management firm, has made its first acquisition for $139 million, the firm said Wednesday.

The firm purchased 48 retail assets across 18 states from Brauvin Net Lease, a privately-held real estate investment trust managed by Brauvin Real Estate, also based in Chicago. BlueRoad Ventures bought the portfolio on behalf of a club of private investors, including Chicago hot dog baron Dick Portillo, who is also the firm’s chairman. He has pursued real estate investments since he sold the Portillo’s Hot Dogs chain to Berkshire Partners in 2014 for almost $1 billion. That year, one of Portillo’s ventures bought a 20-property portfolio, including 18 Chicago-area buildings leased to his eponymous chain, for $100 million, according to local media reports.

BlueRoad, which launched in October, is investing in real estate and private equity, and also provides accounting and financial services for high net worth individuals and family offices.

Tim Farrell co-founded the firm after leaving a family office, where he managed real estate investments. He said the firm will focus on asset-level investments in office and retail, and divide its investments into core and value-add purchases. BlueRoad’s first acquisition was a core buy, Farrell said, noting the retail properties provide stable long-term yield, with an average remaining lease term of more than 10 years.

Even though the firm’s first purchase was a portfolio, Farrell said BlueRoad would pursue a range of deals, including one-off transactions. The firm is not currently looking to pursue a fund structure for investments, he said.

“We feel like we have a comprehensive solution that can be customized to our partners’ needs,” he told PERE. “We like the flexibility that comes with private wealth because we can make decisions solely focused on the value of the investment.”