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Two Prime Buildings in Germany Go for $1 Billion

In the biggest commercial real estate deal in Germany this year, Paris-based Axa Investment Managers SA and Norway's Sovereign Wealth Fund (Norges Bank Investment Management) contracted to buy two prime office and retail properties in Berlin and Frankfurt for 784 million Euros ($1 billion U.S.) The seller was Edinburgh-based Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc. The deal is expected to close by Dec. 31 or earlier.

The 16-story Berlin building on the Kurfuerstendamn Boulevard has 779,000 square feet (72,400 square meters) of office and retail space The Frankfurt building has 81,000 square meters (871,877 square feet) of mainly office space. (One square meter equals 10.76 square feet).

The buildings are part of the Pegasus portfolio that the bank took over from New York City-based Morgan Stanley when Morgan Stanley liquidated its P2 Value German property fund in 2010.

One of 10 Largest Department Stores in Germany Sold for $149 Million

The 478,047-square-foot Karstadt Department Store in the premier Zell shopping area of Frankfurt has been sold for $149 million (115 million Euros) to an unidentified German housing company. The seller was the EPI Fund, co-advised by Tristan Capital Partners and AEW Europe, both London-based firms. PBG in Frankfurt was the local partner for the sellers in the transaction.

In a prepared statement, Tristan CEO Ric Lewis said "there is strong investor interest in core German real estate assets, as the market is a relatively safe haven against the background of the Eurozone crisis." He added, "We felt, it was, therefore, an opportune time to realize the value of our investment in the Karstadt store for investors in the EPI Fund."

Saudi Arabia-UK Fund Picks Up Third Acquisition for $51.4 Million

Targeting a seven percent annual return to investors, Sidra Capital of Saudi Arabia and Gatehouse Bank of London have closed on their third international property, a newly-constructed, 74,146-square-foot office and distribution building in Maidenhead, Berkshire County, one of the most affluent areas in the United Kingdom. The price was $51.4 million (32 million British pounds).

The owner of record is the partners' Sterling United Kingdom Real Estate Fund (SURF). The property will serve as the Europe, Middle East and African headquarters of Adobe Systems Europe Ltd. The tenant signed a 10.5-year lease. SURF's other recent acquisitions were the Cooperative Group Distribution Center in Huntingdon near Cambridge for 23.55 million pounds, and the TDG Distribution Center near Glasgow, Scotland, for $22.4 million pounds.

Norway's Sovereign Wealth Fund Pays $560 Million for Trophy UK Shopping Center

Norway's Sovereign Wealth Fund, which only started its real investment program in 2010, has purchased a 50 percent ownership stake in one of northern England's prime shopping centers, the 1.52 million-square-foot (141,000 square meters) Meadow Hall. The price was $560 million (348 million British pounds).The seller was London & Stamford Property Pls (LSE: LSP) and Green Park Investments of London.

British Land Plc (LSE: BLND) is the London-based real estate investment trust that owns the other 50 percent of Meadow Hall. British Land said in a prepared statement it will manage the mall which reportedly welcomes about 25 million visitors annually. The Norwegian fund's revenue comes from taxes on oil and gas, ownership of petroleum fields and dividends from a 67 percent stake in Statoil ASA.

Class A New Haven, CT Apartment Building Demands $41.65 Million


Wintergreen of Westville, New Haven, CT

New York City-based UOB Eagle Rock Multifamily Property Fund LP has acquired the newly-developed, 294-unit Wintergreen of Westville apartment complex in New Haven, CT for $41.65 million or about $141,000 per unit. The seller was SA Wintergreen LLC of Mountain Lakes, NJ.

Steve Witten and Victor Nolletti of International Property Advisors brokered the sale. In a prepared statement, Witten calls the four-year-old property "a rarely available, transit-oriented multifamily asset in one of the East Coast's top-performing apartment markets." Witten said the property at 400 Blake St. should attract tenants from three local universities, including Yale.

Luxury Downtown Chicago Apartment Tower Gets $47 Million for Renovations

New York Life Insurance Co. has loaned Dallas, TX-based L&B Realty Advisors $47 million to cover renovations and upgrades at the owner's 25-story, 304-unit 77 West Huron building in Chicago's thriving River North neighborhood. HFF's Chicago office arranged the 10-year loan.

An affiliate of L&B purchased 77 West Huron in October 2011 from Englewood, CO-based Archstone for an estimated $90 million or about $296,000 per unit, according to Crain's of Chicago.  The building has studio one, two and three-bedroom apartments from 536 square feet to 2,862 square feet.

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