LaSalle buys two, sells one in Asia

LaSalle Investment Management has closed on three transactions on behalf of its LaSalle Asia opportunity fund series. The Chicago-based firm has purchased assets in Tokyo and Sydney and has exited an asset in Singapore.

Chicago-based LaSalle Investment Management has completed $345 million of transactions in Asia on behalf of its Asia opportunity funds series, the firm announced today.

LaSalle said it had purchased the Nasu Outlet Mall, a 111-tenant retail mail on the north side of Greater Tokyo which was built in 2008. It has also purchased 179 Elizabeth Street, an office in Sydney with just less than 15,000 square metres of leasable space. The two investments were made on behalf of LaSalle Asian Opportunity Fund III, which closed on $3 billion of equity in 2008.

The firm has also exited an asset from its second fund, LaSalle Asian Opportunity Fund II, which closed on $1 billion in 2005. It has sold a 538-room Ibis hotel in Singapore on behalf of the fund, which is fully invested and is currently in its management and exit phase.

LaSalle’s investments are among the first for its third fund which sat on a large proportion of its equity following its final closing as market pricing fell by adjusting.

Ian Mackie, who heads LaSalle’s Asia opportunity funds, said: “After two tough years following the global financial crisis, it is really exciting to have so much good news to announce within a week. We see strong growth potential in Asia Pacific where the markets are recovering much more rapidly than other parts of the world and we continue to seek more opportunities in this region.”

Referring to LaSalle’s Sydney investment, he said: “Australia has successfully escaped the recession and financial crisis and the market remains strong. LaSalle is forecasting strong rental and capital growth for the Sydney and Melbourne office markets over the medium term, as a result of limited new supply and improving demand from office tenants.”

He said of Singapore: “(the city) suffered a big setback during the financial crisis, has bounced back strongly, with the market expected to remain solid.”

He added: “Japan is still experiencing some difficulties overall, creating opportunities for astute investors with strong capital base.”

LaSalle’s first Asia investment fund, the $242 million LaSalle Asia Recovery Fund became fully exited last year. The firm said the fund had realized gross returns of 35 percent.