Colliers International's chief financial officer John Friedrichsen says Europe is a ‘high priority’ for the growth of the firm’s new investment management platform, PropertyEU's sister publication Europroperty reports.
On the same day as the Toronto-based ‘big three’ publicly listed global property services firm revealed it was taking a 75% stake in Harrison Street Real Estate Capital for $450 mln, Friedrichsen said: ‘With respect to Harrison Street’s European platform it is still relatively early days, but it is one that is very important and a high priority in terms of future growth.’
Colliers International has been looking to buy an investment manager for three years and hopes to challenge CBRE and JLL, the other two large listed global property services firms which have had established global investment management platforms for years.
Harrison Street, established in 2005, is a Chicago-based private equity real estate firm with $14.6 bn of assets under management in the US and Europe. Most of its assets are in the US but it is adding AUM in Europe having entered the region in 2015 when it opened an office in London and hired Daniel Gorzawski from AIG Global Real Estate as managing director and head of the region.
In June of that year, it held a first close on Harrison Street European Property Partners I, which went on to raise €235 mln. Harrison Street is focused on student accommodation and other specialty residential sectors.
Recent deals for its second fund, Harrison Street European Property Partners II, include a €200 mln investment in four assets in Dublin with Global Student Accommodation Group, announced in March.
‘This is really the beginning of a real push in terms of additional investment in Europe,’ Friedrichsen said. ‘The focus for the time being will be student housing which is a core strength and expertise of Harrison Street, but we will evaluate other opportunities that are attractive asset classes where Harrison Street has been successful in other markets, principally the US.’
Christopher Merrill, Harrison Street’s co-founder and chief executive officer, will serve as CEO and remains the largest individual shareholder.