Equity International makes first Colombian investment

The Chicago-based real estate investment management firm, which has made a name for itself building up companies in Brazil and Mexico, is now expanding its Latin American presence to Colombia.

Equity International, the Chicago-based real estate investment management firm, has made its first investment in Colombia. The firm announced today it had completed a $75 million investment in Terranum Development, a Bogota-based privately-held commercial real estate investor, developer and manager focused on properties in Colombia and the Andean regions of Central and South America.

According to Equity International, Terranum is the first company in Colombia to provide top-tier real estate to accommodate the needs of domestic and international corporations. The company currently is developing Connecta, an approximately 2 million-square-foot mixed-use complex in the Salitre submarket near Bogota’s El Dorado International Airport. Also in Terranum’s pipeline are opportunities in Colombia’s five largest cities—Bogota, Medellin, Cali, Barranquilla and Cartagena—as well as investments in the surrounding region that includes Costa Rica, Panama and Peru.

“Colombia represents one of the most compelling new investment frontiers and, together with Terranum, Equity International is excited to be at the leading edge of the institutionalisation of the country’s real estate industry,” said Gary Garrabrant, chief executive officer of Equity International, in a statement.

The $75 million investment “will help drive Terranum's growth plan as it continues to develop and acquire both corporate office and logistics properties,” said Thomas McDonald, Equity International's chief strategic officer, adding that Terranum represented “the first of hopefully multiple investments in Colombia.”

Equity International said Colombia presented “an attractive investment destination” because of its strong GDP growth and business-friendly policies, which have attracted many multinational corporations to the country, particularly Bogota, where the number of multinationals has more than doubled since 2002. The demand for quality office and industrial space has likewise increased, and the local real estate market has been quickly shifting from tenant-owned to institutionally-owned and leased properties, the firm said.

Meanwhile, José Ignacio Robledo, Terranum’s chief executive officer, said the company was interested in partnering with Equity International for its “wealth of expertise in corporate real estate in Latin America and company-building globally.”

Terranum Development, formed in 2007, is a subsidiary of real estate company Terranum, which is jointly owned by Estrategias Corporativas, a Colombian investment bank, and the Santo Domingo family of Colombia, a global investor across a wide range of industries.

Since 1999, Equity International has invested in a total of 20 companies in Latin America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. They include six firms in Brazil representing the homebuilding, logistics, retail, corporate property and real estate finance sectors, as well as homebuilders in Mexico, China and Egypt.