Macquarie in €240 million Polish homes mission

Macquarie Global Property Advisors has become the latest private equity real estate firm to plunge into Poland’s residential sector amid rising wages and the growth in mortgage lending.

Macquarie Global Property Advisors (MGPA) has taken a 70 percent stake in Wilanow One, a 2,500 unit upscale residential scheme in the southern district of Polish capital, Warsaw.

The joint venture is to be carried out with Poliand’s luxury apartment developer Star Enterprise in conjunction with Tel Aviv-listed B.S.R. Europe and will offer apartment purchasers thechance to live in a gated-community consisting of 32 buildings complete with shops, a health and fitness club and swimming pool.

In a statement today, the firm said it was making the investment via the MGP Fund II, which closed in September last year with equity commitments of $1.3 billion.

MGPA is entering the market amid a house construction boom following Poland’s entry to the EU in 2004.

Managing director Alex Jeffrey, said: “This project takes advantage of the strong demand for good quality, well located residential accommodation in the city as well as the favourable demographic trends.”

According to Polish real estate experts, the price of apartments in the capital has risen from 3,000 zloty per square meter ($783 per square meter) five years ago to around 4,700 zloty this year. The price of higher-end apartments has increased even more.

One of the features of the Polish residential market is that flats are completed by builders minus fixtures and fittings that are taken for granted under Western European standards.

MGPA said it will offer three options for internal fit out to potential purchasers.

MGPA is headed up by Jim Quille who led the management buyout of the Global Fund investment advisory division of Australia’s Lend Lease in 2004. It subsequently attracted Macquarie Bank as joint venture partner.

See next month’s edition of PERE for an in depth feature on Poland’s residential market.