Phoenix closes on $176m for urban property

New York private equity real estate firm Phoenix Realty Group has raised $176m for two funds focused on urban property in New York and Los Angeles.

New York-based Phoenix Realty Group has raised $176 million (€136 million) for two funds dedicated to urban investing, continuing its strategy of investing in American cities.

The firm’s Metropolitan Workforce Housing Fund, which has a $250 million target, has so far received $96 million in capital. According to the firm, investors include insurance companies like Northwestern Mutual, John Hancock Life Insurance Company and the Lincoln National Life Insurance Company.

The firm’s Genesis Workforce Housing Fund II received $80 million in commitments from a number of Los Angeles-area pensions, including the Los Angeles City Employee Retirement System, Los Angeles County Employee Retirement Association, Los Angeles Department of Fire and Police Pensions, as well as John Hancock. The Genesis fund has a target of $175 million.

The first Genesis vehicle closed on $100 million in April 2005. John Hancock, Lincoln and Northwestern also contributed to that vehicle, in addition to MetLife, New York Life, Washington Mutual and Citibank Community Development.

Both funds are expecting a final close by March of this year. They will both focus on market-rate housing, mixed use and revitalization projects in urban and urban in-fill locations in the coasts: The Genesis fund will focus on residential and urban retail in the Los Angeles area, while the Metropolitan Workforce fund will invest in residential and commercial properties in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

In addition to the initial Genesis fund, Phoenix manages the San Diego Smart Growth Fund which has $90 million in capital, the California Urban Housing Fund with $50 million in capital and the PRG Metropolitan Investor Fund which closed on $18 million. In addition to New York, the firm has offices in Los Angeles and San Diego. 

The urban and workforce housing strategies have been increasingly pursued by funds on both sides of the country. In New York, Apollo Real Estate Advisors successfully acquired the Soundview middle-income housing complex in the Bronx for $100 million last year.

Los Angeles private equity real estate firm Canyon Realty Advisors has successfully closed two urban-focused funds, the Canyon Johnson Urban Funds, in conjunction with basketball star and entrepreneur Earvin “Magic” Johnson. Those funds largely invest in mixed-use and residential projects in urban neighborhoods.