ING REIM acquires Paris office complex through club deal

The French arm of ING's real estate investment subsidiary has purchased River Ouest from developer HRO on behalf of three French institutional investors.

A club venture led by the French arm of ING Real Estate Investment Management (REIM) has signed an agreement to acquire a Class A office complex in Paris, according to an announcement by the real estate investment subsidiary of the Dutch group.

ING REIM agreed to purchase River Ouest from global developer HRO on behalf of French fund management firm Caisse des Dépôts, Crédit Agricole Assurances Group's life insurance subsidiary Predica and global reinsurance firm SCOR. The acquisition was made through an Organisme de Placement Collectif en Immobilier (OPCI) managed by Crédit Agricole Immobilier's fund management company Unibiens. 

“It's a modern building that meets all the latest energy efficiency requirements, which should help the asset to stand the test of time,” said Will Rowson, chief investment officer at ING REIM. “The income return is very stable, with the primary tenant having a 12-year lease, and the investors are sharing the risk of the sizable asset between them.” 

Rowson declined to disclose the purchase price of the transaction, which closed last week, beyond stating that it was a “sizable transaction.” In December 2006, HRO sold Défense Ouest, a comparably-sized complex in the same area, for $466 million. 

River Ouest is located at 80 Quai Voltaire in Bezons, adjacent to La Défense in Paris. The 689,000-square-foot office complex, which comprises four contiguous office buildings and an amenities building, was completed in July 2009 by HRO. The property is fully leased, with its chief tenant being global IT services provider Atos, which occupies 85 percent of the property. Other tenants are EMC², Sophos and Léon Grosse.

In a joint statement, ING REIM France's chief executive officer Silvio Estienne and chief investment officer Bruno Cohen announced that, in addition to the River Ouest acquisition being “an attractive deal for the investors”, it also served as “a major step for ING REIM as part of its strategy to continue to develop the direct investment business, in particular with club deal and joint venture initiatives and in addition to its fund management activities and separate account mandates”. 

Although there's no timeframe for holding the property, Rowson said the investors are thinking of the purchase as a long-term investment. “It's a brand-new building that is up to modern technological standards and will stand the test of time, so there is no need to think of a sell or hold period,” he added.