Four years after acquiring the property from UK REIT Hammerson, Europa Capital is selling the iconic Forum Steglitz shopping centre in Berlin to a Spezialfonds BGV V, managed by Munich-based Real I.S. Investment, for an undisclosed price.
The Forum Steglitz centre on Schlossstrasse in the south of Berlin’s City West was built in the 1970’s as one of the first shopping centres in Berlin, and still has a very ‘70s feel in its layout and architecture. Its 32,000 sqm is now 99% let out to tenants including H&M, Lidl, Innova, Intersport, and Tom Tailor. Europa Capital bought the centre from Hammerson, who was retreating from Germany at the time, for about €70m after Hammerson had pumped in about €40m in renovations, and who certainly took a loss on their last remaining German property.
The centre was 80% occupied when Europa Capital bought it, and then engaged leasing and asset manager Real-ity GmbH to manage it and invest alongside them. Europa and Real-ity have since signed more than 40 lease transactions, both new leases and renewals, and pepped up the modern fashion element of the centre.
Tom Vail, senior asset manager for Europa Capital, describes the period as “Four years of intensive asset management in a challenging environment – but a period in which the centre’s position in the highly competitive Schlossstrasse retail hierarchy has undoubtedly been asserted.” Joachim Fritz, director and global head of structured investments at Real I.S. described Forum Steglitz and Schlossstrasse as “one of the best functioning retail precincts in the city of Berlin, with the centre offering a sustainable and top-quality retailer mix offering a secure and long-term cash flow to our investors.”
Real I.S. Investment, owned by Bavarian landesbank BayernLB and part of the savings bank network, is a provider of institutional Spezialfonds. To date it has issued more than 100 funds totalling over €8.5bn for investors including commercial banks, savings banks, insurance companies, charitable foundations and religious institutions. It now has a war-chest of about €1bn earmarked for real estate, while managing about the same amount in assets already.
Board member Jochen Schenk said recently, “Three years after launch, Real I.S. has broken through the level of €1bn in assets under management, while in addition we have another €1bn for further investments. For almost half of that sum we are already looking at specific assets. We continue to see high interest from our investors in the French, Benelux and German markets.”
Including its Luxembourg funds, Real I.S. has invested nearly €2.5bn on behalf of more than 150 institutional investors for its five BGV funds – into over 40 properties in Europe, Australia and the US. Its BGV IV fund, the first Spezialfonds under German law, was launched in 2010. The Europe-focused BGV V fund (which is buying the Forum Steglitz) and Real I.S. Regionalfonds Süddeutschland (A-, B-, and C-Cities in Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria) are currently in the investment phase.