LaSalle in A$66m Australia retail land buy

The Chicago-based real estate investment management firm has acquired a retail site in Sydney via an open-ended, single-asset fund on which it aims to develop units for family-focused retailers.  

LaSalle Investment Management, the global real estate investment manager, has acquired a retail site in Australia for approximately A$66 million (€47.09 million; $51.39 million).

The land located within the Sydney Business Park, in the northwest of the city’s central business district, was acquired via a vehicle called LaSalle Australia Club Investments Trust (LACIT). LACIT is an open-ended single-asset unlisted fund, which is being managed by LaSalle Investment Management.

The firm said in a statement that it is planning to develop a 204,514 square foot retail facility aimed at housing family-focused retailers. The site is expected to offer 35 tenancies on the site, to be called Home Hub Marsden Park. The project is expected to be completed by mid-2016.

“Demand for high quality prime assets continues to be very strong across all asset classes, with opportunities in Sydney and Melbourne proving elusive for many investors,” said Chris Forbes, head of funds management for LaSalle’s Australia operations. “In the current environment, we are extremely pleased to be acquiring a prime asset on behalf of LACIT in a sought after location.”

The acquisition follows the appointment of Chris Forbes to lead the firm’s fund management business in the country in February this year. Forbes, who previously was a senior executive at the Australia-based real estate firm Charter Hall, was appointed to specifically to lead the management of LACIT and the LaSalle Australia Core-Plus Fund.

Following the appointment, Mark Gabbay, the Asia-Pacific co-chief executive officer for the firm, had said that Australia remains a key market for LaSalle to scale to core and core-plus business.

More recently, in early May this year, news also emerged that the firm’s international director, Ian Mackie, one of its longest-serving executives in Asia, had relocated to Brisbane after spending over two decades in Singapore. It is understood that Mackie would continue in his role of handling strategic partnerships for the region.

The firm currently manages approximately $1.95 billion of assets in Australia, and has offices spread across Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.