MayfieldGentry eyes China

The Detroit-based private equity real estate firm, which expects to close its MGRA Genesis Value Fund on $150m in 2009, may consider China’s commercial real estate market following a fact-finding trip last year.

MayfieldGentry Realty Advisors is eyeing potential investments in China following a fact-finding trip to the country last year.

The Detroit-based private equity real estate firm said in a year-end review to investors that 2009 could “provide opportunities” for MayfieldGentry in China, as the country benefits from “incredible” long-term growth.

In 2008, Mayfield’s chief investment officer Emery Matthews and director of financial analysis Yi Wang met with government officials and real estate investment officials in an effort to investigate opportunities in the commercial real estate sector in China.

“[Those] meetings with government officials and representatives of the real estate investment sector went well,” the review said. Mayfield has previously invested only in the US.

Mayfield founder Chauncey Mayfield added in the review that the firm was expecting to close on an additional $50 of equity for its MGRA Genesis Value Fund in 2009. The firm raised $102 million in 2008.

“There is no doubt in our minds that the next 12 months will be a time of challenges for some,” Mayfield said, warning there was “some distance to go” before real estate markets returned to any sort of “equilibrium”.

He added: “I think you will agree that these are interesting times in which we live. Unlike Charles Dickens who saw the best of times and the worst of times in one period of history, I prefer to see the possibility of our time: this is the time in the economic cycle when we must prepare for the next major period of expansion.

“One thing we've learned over several economic cycles is that what goes up will come down but one thing we often forget is that the reverse is also true.”