HighBrook expands Dutch presence in portfolio buy

The New York-based firm bought a 56-asset portfolio then immediately sold the industrial portion of the assets to a company backed by the Washington State Investment Board.

HighBrook Investors is doubling down on Dutch real estate through its latest acquisition.

The New York-based firm recapitalized a 56-asset portfolio in the Netherlands at the end of April after purchasing it from Breevast, an Amsterdam-based property firm that had planned to sell the portfolio in a foreclosure auction. In the off-market transaction, HighBrook paid €615 million for the Mesdag Delta portfolio and is keeping Breevast on as property manager.

HighBrook then sold the portfolio’s industrial assets to Urban Industrial, the logistics platform of Washington State Investment Board-backed Aevitas Property Partners, for €136 million.

The sale left HighBrook with 39 properties, half of which are office, 40 percent retail and a small minority in hotels and other real estate. The 3.1 million square foot portfolio includes trophy office assets in Amsterdam and large grocery-anchored retail centers, according to the firm’s statement.

The firm invests in North American and European properties in need of repositioning or restructuring and specializes in recapitalizations.

HighBrook’s Mesdag Delta portfolio purchase was its 12th Dutch buy in the last 18 months, and the firm said it has more acquisitions in the market in its pipeline.

Its interest comes as the Netherlands continues to be a market of choice for investors, with property services company CBRE noting record investment volume of €19.5 billion in 2017.

“With a strongly performing economy and expanding occupier markets, the prospects for 2018 are sound,” CBRE said in its 2018 outlook report. “Investors’ risk appetite will increase in the year to come, putting more unconventional locations and investment classes more firmly on the radar. The crucial question will be whether there are enough high-quality properties on the market to satisfy investor demand.”