Meridian closes debut fund

The Bethesda, Maryland-based real estate investment and development firm has closed on $160 million in commitments to invest in value-added real estate in the Washington DC metropolitan area.

The Meridian Group has held a final closing for its first private equity real estate fund, which will be used to invest in properties in the greater Washington DC area. 

A statement from the Bethesda, Maryland-based real estate investment and development firm revealed that Meridian Realty Partners I attracted more than $160 million of discretionary capital from institutional investors. With leverage, Meridian has the capacity to invest more than $500 million in value-added real estate in the Washington DC metropolitan area

Meridian’s investment strategy is oriented to value-added opportunities across all asset types and capital structures, including acquisitions of underperforming properties and distressed debt as well as providing equity, preferred equity and mezzanine debt for recapitalizations.

“Our investment strategy is focused on well-located, institutional-quality assets near Metro rail stations, major highways and walkable amenities in submarkets such as Arlington, Alexandria, Tysons Corner, Reston, Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Rockville and Washington DC,” said Bruce Lane, executive vice president and managing director of Meridian, in a statement. “These are all places where we can create value through repositioning assets, leasing vacant space, extending leases, renovations, redevelopment, new development and rezoning and selling land.”

With the new fund, Meridian already has completed three office acquisitions totaling 572,000 square feet and a loan purchase, all in northern Virginia. The office acquisitions include One Ballston Plaza in Arlington, Cameron Run in Alexandria and Tysons Technology Center in Tysons Corner. All of these buildings were approximately 75 percent leased at acquisition. Meridian plans to add value through leasing the vacant space and repositioning and stabilizing the assets. The firm currently is working on several other transactions.

Meridian president David Cheek added: “We believe that it is a good time in the cycle to invest in Washington real estate. We expect to achieve our targeted returns as the market improves over the next several years.”

Prior to the formation of its first fund, Meridian’s transactions were capitalized through joint ventures. Meridian’s partners have included The Blackstone Group, Goldman SachsThe Carlyle Group and Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance.