Curzon/AEW form JV to buy €145m French office portfolio

Curzon Global Partners/AEW Europe have partnered with Cleaveland Asset Management to acquire 32 offices in France for their latest vehicle, the €800m European Property Investors Special Opportunities fund.

Curzon Global Partners/AEW Europe have joined forces with real estate asset management firm, Cleaveland, to buy 32 office buildings in France for €145.6 million.

The deal was made through its latest real estate fund, the €800 million European Property Investors Special Opportunities fund.

The properties, 10 percent of which is located within central Paris and two-thirds within the Parisian suburbs, were bought from Credit Agricole Asset Management.

Rob Reiskin, head of investments at Curzon/AEW Europe, said in a statement the “defensive” portfolio was expected to perform well against the credit crunch.

However a report by Richard Ellis released yesterday said the credit market dislocation was impacting Europe’s office sector, with average office vacancy rates across the region increasing for the first time since 2004, and rental growth slowing sharply in all three major property sectors, including office, retail and industrial.

London-based Curzon closed its latest fund in May in a bid to take advantage of the credit crunch in Europe. At the time, chief executive officer Ric Lewis, told PERE: “Demand was so great [for this fund] that we didn’t have to and couldn’t have marketed this to anyone other than [existing] clients and friends.” Investors in the fund include German, Dutch and Nordic institutional investors as well as US pension funds.

The vehicle is targeting investments including broken IPOs; resource-constrained owners, operators or fund sponsors of real estate assets; distressed property assets and situations; and value-add property.