Macquarie bags second Paris office

The private equity real estate firm affiliated with the Australian bank is buying a Parisian office project as the latest research suggests France will be a hotspot for investors in 2007.

Macquarie Global Property Advisors (MGPA) and French real estate investor Générale Continentale Investissements (GCI) are buying an office development in Paris for €113 million ($146 million).

The property, known as Balthazar, is a 32,000 square meter project in the Saint-Denis area. It is being developed by Sogelym Steiner.

The acquisition is the third for MGP Fund II in France. MGP Fund II, which invests in Europe and Asia, closed on $1.3 billion (€1 billion) in September 2005. Macquarie’s other two investments in the country include the Capitale Sud in Montrouge, in which it also teamed up with GCI, and a stake in logistics developer Logiffine, which is developing facilities across France, including Lille and Valence.

Paris offices are attracting increasing numbers of investors who believe the market is returning to strength. In its 2007 survey of investment intentions published last week, INREV, the organisation for unlisted real estate funds in Europe, found that offices are the number one favored asset among investors and that France is ranked second in Europe behind Germany.

In a statement, MGPA managing director, Alex Jeffrey, said: “We are very positive about the office sector in France, and in Ile de France in particular, as we continue to see declining vacancy rates and strong rental growth.

MGPA’s director of investment for France, Olivier Vellay, said: “This is an excellent investment for MGPA as there is strong demand for international Grade A office space in the Saint-Denis area.”

In December, the firm announced the acquisition of eight light industrial properties in Germany for €40 million ($52 million).

MGPA was formed in 2004 by James Quille, who led a management buyout from Lend Lease. The firm is owned by its principals and Macquarie Bank