LaSalle eyes deals with Australian developers

The Chicago-based real estate investment manager is reportedly planning to partner with developers in Australia as it looks to increase its exposure to the nation’s office and logistics sectors.

LaSalle Investment Management is reportedly eyeing the Australian office and logistics sectors as it looks to team up with local developers in the country.

The firm’s Asia-Pacific chief executive officer Ian Mackie told local reporters in Sydney LaSalle was in talks with a “variety of developers” as it tried to pursue, consider and negotiate deals.

Mackie said LaSalle was looking to invest in Australian real estate through its $3 billion Asia Opportunity Fund III, which closed in 2008.

“In some countries, such as Japan, we can buy standing assets and make the sort of returns that are appealing to an opportunity fund,” Mackie was quoted by Bloomberg as saying. “We’re under no illusion that we can do that in Australia. So we’d expect to go further out on the risk curve and become involved in development projects.”

With a general lack of distressed and value properties to snap up, Mackie said LaSalle would be targeting “mid to high teen” returns for development projects. LaSalle may announce deals in the first half of this year, Mackie added.

In January, LaSalle's global chief executive officer Jeff Jacobson relocated to Asia to help the firm take advantage of “unprecedented investment opportunities” in the region.

Jacobson, who was appointed global chief in January 2007, moved to Singapore effective 1 January 2010 from London, where he had been based for the past nine years. Jacobson also worked in the US for more than 15 years.