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Clearbell fully invests 2nd fund, prepares next vehicle – Exclusive

The London-based private equity real estate firm has made its final purchase from its second opportunity fund, a mixed-use asset in Coventry. The deal means Clearbell is on the cusp of launching its third fund, with a target of around £400m. 

London-based private equity real estate firm Clearbell Capital has made its final acquisition from its second UK-focused vehicle and is understood to be preparing to launch its third UK-focused opportunity fund early next year. 

Clearbell has acquired the 130,000 square foot Belgrade Plaza, a mixed-use asset, comprising residential and leisure elements, for £16 million ($19 million; €18.6 million). The asset is located in the center of Coventry, the second largest city in the Midlands.

The purchase means Clearbell has now fully invested its second opportunity vehicle, Clearbell Property Partners (CPP) II, through which the firm has made 14 investments, fully realising three at this point. 

The Belgrade Plaza purchase is Clearbell’s third acquisition in the Midlands on behalf of Fund II, following the purchase of Blenheim Court, a logistics complex in Nottingham, four office buildings in Solihull and Earlsdon Park, a mixed use scheme located on the outskirts of Coventry.

Clearbell announced a final close of CPP II in September 2014 after raising £400 million, £100 million more than its original target of £300 million – the firm also raised an additional £100 million in co-investments. PERE also understands that 50 percent of the capital invested in CPP II has already been returned to investors.

It is understood Clearbell is now clear to launch its third UK-focused fund, Clearbell Property Partners III, in early 2017. The firm is thought to be targeting a similar final fundraise and hard cap to CPP II, namely around £400 million, as well as targeting value-add and opportunistic assets.

CPP II is understood to have produced returns of between 16 percent to 18 percent, and it is thought CPP III will target similar returns. Clearbell declined to comment on CPP III.

But speaking about the final acquisition from CP II in Coventry, Manish Chande, senior partner at Clearbell, said: “This is expected to be the final investment on behalf of CPP II and is consistent with our strategy to identify under-managed opportunities in growth sectors and locations from motivated sellers. The swift deployment of capital from CPP II reflects our track record and specialism in this area.”

Formerly known as Mountgrange Investment Management,? Clearbell was launched in 2007 by senior partners Manish Chande and Martin Myers. It was later renamed Clearbell Capital in 2012 following Myers’ departure.

For the Belgrade Plaza deal, GVA acted for the vendor while the purchaser was represented by BNP Paribas Real Estate.