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Union Investment appoints new head of Americas

The Hamburg, Germany-based firm has hired Matthew Scholl 18 months after his predecessor was appointed to the role.

Union Investment Real Estate has tapped Matthew Scholl to lead its Americas investments, with a focus on expanding the German firm’s footprint in US secondary cities and Mexico City.

Scholl replaces Thomas Gnieser, the Hamburg, Germany-based firm’s first head of Americas. Gnieser started in that role in July 2014. A company spokesman declined to comment on when Gnieser left the firm and where he is now employed.

Scholl, who started in the position February 1, reports to Martin Brühl, who is head of international investment management and oversees property transactions in the Americas, Asia-Pacific and the UK. Before this new role, Scholl led North America investments out of New York for the AFIAA Swiss Foundation for International Real Estate, an investment firm for Swiss pension funds.

The new hire comes as the firm plans to broaden its focus to invest in secondary US cities, including Austin, Boston, Houston, Minneapolis and Seattle, in addition to its current investments in US coastal gateway cities, according to a statement from Union Investment. The firm also plans to expand its portfolio in Mexico City, led by Latin America head Tal Peri. Union Investment currently has three employees in its New York office managing 20 assets totaling about €3.3 billion ($3.6 billion) in the Americas, according to a spokesman.

The firm plans to deploy about $2 billion over the next three years in the Americas, drawing on capital from its open-ended real estate funds. In December, Union Investment bought a 394,000 square foot Seattle office property occupied by retailing giant Amazon for $299 million, according to real estate data provider Real Capital Analytics (RCA). The firm also purchased The Godfrey Hotel Boston, a 242-unit hotel, the same month for $180 million, according to RCA.