Behringer Harvard Expands European Portfolio, Buys 7 Properties

Behringer Harvard continues to expand its presence in Central Europe. The company has acquired seven additional assets–a retail property in Hungary, five retail properties in the Czech Republic and a Czech logistics facility–via Wenceslas Behringer Ltd., a joint venture between Behringer Harvard Opportunity REIT I Inc. and St. Wenceslas Property Fund, which was formed in July. Tenants of the acquired properties include Plus Discount, Jysk and Ahold. Plus Discount is the tenant in six of the acquired properties. “We feel that these properties are attractive investments because they have creditworthy tenants and are located in areas where many retailers expect the growth rate to surpass more developed markets in the United States and Western Europe,” Robert Aisner, president of Behringer Harvard, said in a release.Before the new acquisitions, the company had already established a portfolio of 15 retail and industrial/logistics properties located in the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia. Following the acquisition, the portfolio of Behringer Harvard Opportunity REIT I includes investments in approximately 2.3 million square feet of office space, 1,171 multi-family apartments and student housing units, 105 condo units, 455 hotel rooms, 416,000 square feet of industrial space, 460 acres of developable land and 447,000 square feet of retail space.These investments complete a further step in achieving the joint venture’s business plan of investing in high-growth international markets. Additionally, the REIT said it will continue with its planned strategy of acquiring properties that are slightly smaller than the typical acquisition target for institutional investors individually.Also, last week CPN reported that Behringer Harvard is opening an office in Hamburg, Germany, that will begin operations this month. The Dallas-headquartered firm’s Hamburg location will focus on European real estate acquisitions, as well as asset and property management for Behringer Harvard’s assets in Europe.