The Hamburg-based ECE group has launched the ECE European Prime Shopping Center Fund, its first own pan-European real estate fund. Via the newly-founded fund management company, ECE Real Estate Partners, equity commitments of more than 740 million have been raised to date.
Globally leading institutional investors invested in the fund, including international sovereign wealth funds, pension funds, and insurances. The fund will focus on the acquisition of existing shopping centers with value-creation potential. Development projects will not be acquired. Both management and leasing of the centers will be taken over by ECE Projektmanagement.
Dr. Volker Kraft, Managing Director of ECE Real Estate Partners: "We see interesting investment opportunities in the revitalization and modernization of shopping centers in the upcoming years, which we would like to pursue with our fund. Thereby, our investors benefit from ECE Projektmanagement's know-how as leading European operator of shopping centers with excellent market access."
Alexander Otto, CEO of ECE Projektmanagement: "With the new fund we respond to the demand of the market. Many financial investors don't have the special expertise necessary to find and upgrade suitable centers. The cooperation with the fund allows ECE to meet new investors and thus strengthens our position as European market leader."
Ruediger Cornehl, Managing Director of ECE Real Estate Partners: "A particularity is the Otto family's financial commitment as well as of the ECE management. Together they invested around 100 million in the fund."
The first secured projects are Stern-Center Potsdam, Linden-Center Berlin as well as Galeria Kaskada in Szczecin, which will be taken over following its completion in September 2011. For a total equity investment of 160 million, the fund has acquired majority stakes in all three projects. Further acquisitions are planned.
Intended are investments in shopping centers located mainly in Germany, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, and Austria.