Crédit Agricole SA acquires The Carlyle Groups EVERGREEN office complex in Paris (FR)

Global private equity firm, The Carlyle Group announces that its first European real estate fund, Carlyle Real Estate Partners I (CEREP I), has sold the award winning EVERGREEN office development in Montrouge (Hauts-de-Seine), Paris, to Credit Agricole SA.The acquisition provides the Crédit Agricole group with the prospect of uniting a number of different parts of its business in one location in order to optimize working methods and efficiencies while reducing rental costs.

The EVERGREEN site comprises 40,000 m² of office space, which has already been restructured and is expected to be occupied from the second quarter of 2010. The site also provides Crédit Agricole SA with the option of constructing additional new offices in 2011 for possible occupation through to 2013.

The EVERGREEN site has been developed to meet HQE standards and designed to ensure there is a good work/life balance for its occupants; both of which are entirely in line with Crédit Agricole SA's sustainable development strategy. The transaction and any subsequent occupation and developments is, and will be, carried out by Crédit Agricole Immobilier, Credit Agricole SA's real estate division.

The Carlyle Group's real estate investment strategy in France and across Europe is to acquire often high profile or historic assets in major cities, where it can identify the potential for significant development which may also help progress emerging economic zones. The size, history, location and the extent of the redevelopment involved at the EVERGREEN provide a very clear example of how that strategy can be successfully delivered.

Commenting on the sale, Eric Sasson, Managing Director of The Carlyle Group, said: "The Evergreen development is a good example of how Carlyle typically looks to invest in offices in France and across Europe. Our strategy is to create value for our investors by acquiring single assets where we can identify significant development potential, usually in areas which are emerging or have emerged as new business centres. Having undertaken a number of significant measures to improve Evergreen, whilst developing a highly sustainable building and helping attract investment into the local economy, we are now pleased to be able to pass a superb product on to Credit Agricole."

The first buildings were built in the 1920s and provided an industrial complex for La Compagnie des Compteurs which was acquired by the Schlumberger group in 1970. In 1984, two internationally renowned talents, the architect Renzo Piano, who designed Beaubourg, and the landscape architect Alexandre Chemetoff, helped develop the site while preserving its unique character.

This partnership yielded a magnificent landscaped garden highlighted by a now iconic Building, the Forum, with its famous white canvas sails. In March 2005, Schlumberger sold the eight hectare site to The Carlyle Group who engaged architects Wilmotte and Associates and Sahuc Katchoura to help deliver the current major redevelopment program called "EVERGREEN". The site is served by the subway line 13 and 4 and an extension expected in 2012 will take the line into the site. EVERGREEN currently includes three buildings which have been reconfigured and redesigned to provide a total of 43,500 m² of which 40,000 m² is offices. There is also potential for additional construction.

In addition, the site includes a 4 hectare landscaped garden, which includes a diversity of plant species and has been classified as a protected area. In 2009 the redevelopment received the "Pierre d'Or" Award for Development of the Year by the readers of Expertise Pierre in France.

The Carlyle Group is a global private equity firm with $86.1 billion of assets under management committed to 64 funds as of June 30, 2009.

Source: Financial Dynamics Ltd.

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