CBRE Gulf expansion

The Los Angeles-based real estate investment and services firm will target real estate opportunities in the Middle East from its Bahrain office.

Richard Ellis will open an office in the Manama region of Bahrain to target real estate opportunities in the region. It follows a report by CBRE that predicted sovereign wealth funds would invest $725 billion in commercial real estate by 2015.

“Bahrain offers a strong platform to enter Saudi Arabia and Qatar,” Nick Maclean, CBRE managing director, said in a statement.

The region is part of the Arab Free Trade Zone and is the only nation in the Gulf to have a free trade agreement with the US, CBRE added. The Bahrain office will work alongside existing offices in the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

The Middle East has been a growing investment destination for private equity real estate fund managers and as a source of capital. Last week, property finance expert Perry Kurash set up Recap, a corporate finance house focused on raising equity finance for the property industry, particularly from the Middle East. Earlier last month, Kenmore Property Group partnered with Saudi Arabia’s Watan Investments to raise a Saudi Arabia real estate fund and as a way of raising funds in Saudi Arabia for investment in Kenmore’s existing platforms.