Texas TRS commits $800m to invest in RE operating companies

Banner Oak Capital Partners has also raised capital from the Texas public pension toward multifamily and industrial strategies.

The Teacher Retirement System of Texas has closed on its latest round of commitments to Banner Oak Capital Partners, this time writing an $800 million check toward two new funds of one.

The Dallas-based independent management firm will invest on behalf of its sole investor through its newest vehicles, Banner Oak Operating Company Fund and Banner Oak Investment Fund. The Operating Company Fund, which closed in April on $300 million, will invest in a new series of operating companies specializing in real estate sectors that Banner Oak is not already involved in, and the Investment Fund, which closed on $500 million in June, will invest directly in assets operated by the platforms.

“We currently have a particular interest in reviewing student housing, manufactured housing, medical office and data center opportunities,” said Geoff Osborn, founding principal and president of Banner Oak.

Banner Oak currently invests in four operating companies in the multifamily, industrial, senior housing and retail sectors and also raises dedicated funds to grow the real estate portfolios for each operating company. For example, the Banner Oak Industrial Venture, which closed in March 2017 at $300 million and was expanded in December 2017 to $400 million, invests in operating platform Bridge Development Partners, which focuses on industrial real estate. Similarly, the $200 million Banner Oak Multifamily Venture, which closed in September on $100 million and was expanded in February to $200 million, provides Trinsic Residential Group, which specializes in multifamily assets, with the capital it needs to make real estate investments.

TRS owns the operating platforms through its subsidiary Akard Street Partners. Akard started as a joint venture between Hunt Realty and the Texas pension, with TRS later buying out Hunt Realty’s share to become Akard’s sole owner in 2016. To date, TRS has invested $958 million in equity into the four operating companies and its select properties.

In addition to operating companies, Banner Oak invests in real estate directly through its Banner Oak Core and Banner Oak Enhanced Core funds, buying properties from the four operating companies and holding them for 10 to 12 years. Whereas the core fund targets multiple property types, the Enhanced Core fund is focused only on industrial. The latter vehicle has a build-to-core strategy where the industrial operating company, Bridge, builds select industrial assets. Once the properties are developed and leased out, Banner Oak, through the Enhanced Core fund, will buy Bridge’s partner interest in the properties. The core funds were amended to increase the initial collective $300 million to $700 million and widen the focus to include other sectors in addition to multifamily properties.

“The different funds represent different allocations from TRS for distinct investment purposes,” Osborn told PERE.