Carlyle JV targets US brownfield sites

A joint venture between the private equity firm and Hassan & Lear Acquisitions will focus on acquiring and repositioning ‘environmentally challenged’ land parcels in the Southeast US.

The Carlyle Group and Florida-based Hassan & Lear Acquisitions have formed a $59 million (€37.5 million) joint venture to acquire, remediate and reposition brownfield sites in the Southeast US, with a focus on Florida. It will also explore other real estate investment opportunities throughout the Southeast.

Carlyle committed $50 million of equity capital to the joint venture, while Hassan & Lear, a Jacksonville-based development company which converts unusable and unprofitable properties into prime real estate development sites, committed the remaining $9 million.

This is the first brownfield-type deal for Carlyle, according to Jason Hart, vice president of Carlyle’s US real estate group.

“Most of these sites are solid infill locations but because of either actual environmental problems or, in most cases, perceived environmental problems, they’re underutilized given their location,” Hart told PERE. “We’re able to come in at a low basis, do the necessary work to turn the property around, and then sell it to a developer.”

Derek O’Leary, co-founder of Hassan & Lear, noted in a statement that brownfield redevelopment projects typically require “substantial upfront capital commitments…Our venture with Carlyle enhances our ability to pursue such projects.”

Hassan & Lear Acquisitions was founded by managing members O’Leary, Marc Majed El Hassan and Andrew Hassan.

The new joint venture has already acquired a 1,800-acre parcel of land in Clay County, Florida for $15 million. The acquisition was not a brownfield site.