Axa Real Estate Investment Managers has completed the acquisition of a 35 per cent stake in western Germany’s largest shopping centre. The €231m (£164m) deal is Axa’s third retail complex joint venture in less than a year.
The purchase of the Ruhr Park Shopping Centre in Bochum was made on behalf of Axa Selectiv Immo, a French-regulated real estate collective investment undertaking, and an Axa insurance company.
The third-plus stake was acquired from Perella Weinberg Real Estate Fund I (PWREF), which previously owned 50 per cent of the centre as part of a joint venture with Unibail-Rodamco, the largest listed commercial property company in Europe.
Following Axa’s buy-in Unibail-Rodamco has now bought the remaining 15 per cent of PWREF’s stake in the centre, increasing its holding to 65 per cent. It will continue to manage the 1.2m sq ft park.
Originally built in 1964, the Ruhr site is in the middle of a refurbishment and upgrade programme including the addition of a 236,000 sq ft extension. This latest phase will allow the centre to attract a more diversified mix of international tenant brands. It currently has 168 shops, a cinema and parking for 4,400 cars.
“AXA Real Estate continues to target dominant large format multi-channel retail outlets and particularly major shopping centres where leisure and entertainment facilities expand the appeal of such destinations in a changing retail landscape,” explained Laurent Jacquemin, the AXA manager’s European head of transactions.
“We remain convinced of the ability of the retail sector to provide secure, long term income streams and continue to seek out and invest in such assets to the benefit of our clients.”
The latest deal comes after Axa Real Estate’s acquisition in late 2014 of a 50 per cent stake in Bristol’s Cabot Circus and the setting up in February, 2015, of a 50-50 joint venture with Eurocommercial Properties to own the Etrembières Shopping Centre in France.
At the end of March 2015, Axa Real Estate held €9bn (£6.4bn) of retail assets across 13 European countries. That tally included over 35 shopping centres.
Earlier this month, Axa Real Estate completed the purchase of Torre Beta, an office building in Milan, from a fund managed by UBS Real Estate for around €30m (£21.3m).