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EXCLUSIVE:Heitman to make long-awaited Asia fund debut

The Chicago-based real estate investment firm is preparing the launch of its first value added real estate fund in Asia for which it wants to raise $500 million.

The Chicago-based real estate investment firm Heitman is preparing the launch of its first real estate fund for Asian investors, PERE can reveal.

The pan-Asia fund, which will be closed-ended in structure and have a value-add strategy will be officially launched in early 2015. Heitman is targeting $500 million in equity for Heitman Asia-Pacific Property Investors (HAPI).

The firm declined to comment on the fundraising. 

PERE has learnt that CBRE Capital Advisors has been hired as the placement agent. Soft marketing for the fund commenced less than a month ago. 

The capital raised from the fund is expected to be invested in mature markets across the region, with Japan, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore being the key targets. All assets classes, including specialty sectors such as self-storage, student housing and senior care accommodation are being considered for investment.

The debut fund comes six years after Heitman opened for business in the region. Since 2008, the firm has been steadily building its investment track record transacting on a deal by deal or programmatic partnership basis.

Led by Hong Kong-based managing director for private equity in Asia-Pacific Skip Schwartz, Heitman has undertaken deals in markets including Australia and Japan so far.

The firm’s first real estate investment in the region was through a $266 million joint venture with the listed property developer Abacus Property Group to purchase real estate assets in Australia in 2011, with Heitman providing 75 percent of the equity and Abacus the remaining share. The first asset acquired under the joint venture was a commercial office building in Sydney for $35.6 million. 

Earlier this year, the firm branched into Japan, acquiring two office properties in Tokyo’s central business district for around $60 million. Heitman currently has assets under management totaling approximately $1 billion in the region.

The soon-to-be launched Asia fund is slated to follow a similar approach as the value added closed-end funds raised by the firm in North America and Europe. 

In March this year, it launched Heitman European Property Partners V, the fifth in a series of value added funds in Europe, with a target of €500 million.