Heitman strikes Poland JV with Neinver

The rush to Poland continues as US firm Heitman joins forces with Spain's Neinver to buy the Galeria Malta shopping centre in Poznan

Heitman European Property Partners, the European wing of the US firm, is buying a shopping centre in Poland with Spanish property company, Neinver.

Heitman, which raised €505 million in 2009 for Heitman European Property Partners IV, is taking a 75 percent stake in Galeria Malta in the Polish city of Poznan, it said. Neinver will own the remaining 25 percent of the 54,000-square-metre asset, which is 97 percent leased.

Otis Spencer, managing director and head of portfolio management of Heitman’s European private real estate equity group, said in a statement that the centre possessed many of the attributes it looked for in its real estate investments.

Poland has been a hotbed of activity recently, with investors attracted by the country's economic resilience.

Earlier this month, European Property Investors Special Opportunities (EPISO), a fund co-advised by AEW Europe and Tristan Capital Partners, announced it had bought a core asset with development plans for €92 million in the Polish city of Slupsk. The fund has bought the 22,250 square metre Jantar Shopping Centre from Mayland Real Estate, which developed it in 2008.

Also in December, Neinver said it had been involved in another Polish investment. It teamed up with London private property investment firm, Meyer Bergman, to develop a €200 million mixed-use project at Katowice railway station in Poland. Meyer Bergman, which is raising its debut retail property fund, and Madrid-based Neinver, said they would hold a majority stake in the project, with a minor stale being held by Polskie Koleje Panstwowe, the Polish National Railway company. 

In November, NBGI, a British private equity firm specialising in small- and medium-sized companies, entered into a Polish property deal. The firm manages a southern and eastern Europe real estate fund as well as private venture vehicles, and bought a logistics park in Garwollin near Warsaw for around €16 million – its first real estate deal in the country. The asset, Panattoni Park, is fully let to global cosmetics firm Avon, and the seller was British pension fund and insurance firm Standard Life.

London-based real estate fund management firm, First Property Group, is another excited by prospects in the country. It is raising an opportunity fund that continues its investment focus on Poland.

But the most significant development came at the start of 2010 when MGPA, the Europe and Asia-focused private equity real estate firm, entered into the largest Polish real estate deal since 2007. The firm revealed  it had it completed the acquisition of two new shopping centres in Poland and had taken an option over a third from DTC Finance BV.