The purchase is part of an aggressive move to diversify thecompany's portfolio in terms of both geography and product type,says Christopher Duisberg, managing director of AIFAA US.Traditionally, the company has focused exclusively on officeproperties in Western Europe. "The idea was to get into other typesof properties to provide a better hedge against market changes," hetells GlobeSt.com. The firm has $674.3 million invested in 22 USproperties. Other recent acquisitions include a 50,000-sf retailcenter in Chicago bought in March for $21 million and 220,000-sfoffice building in lower Manhattan bought last year for $42million.

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Located in Rickenbacker Global Logistics Park, the two-buildingGroveport property consists of a 573,696-sf building at 2829 RohrRd. fully leased to Exel Logistics and 624,000-sf building at 2859Rohr fully leased to Whirlpool Corp. The seller was a partnershipof the Columbus Regional Airport Authority, Indianapolis-based DukeRealty Corp. and Columbus-based Capitol Square Ltd. Duisbergdescribes the buildings as typical of the kind the company isseeking. "Both properties are fully leased to high-credit tenantswith solid upside potential. Our strategy is on the conservativeside. We want only income-producing properties," he says, addingthat 10 years is standard minimum hold time.

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The buildings' location near Columbus' RickenbackerInternational Airport will enable the fund to capitalize on theregion's rapid growth as a major logistics center. The market hasseveral large intermodal centers complete or in development and hasbecome a major target for European investors. A division of Germaninsurer Allianz SE in 2006 paid $78.7 million for four Columbusdistribution centers totaling two million sf for in 2006, and lastyear UK-based Strategic Real Estate Advisors acquired nineRickenbacker area industrial sites as part of a larger USportfolio.

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But Duisberg says AIFAA has not targeted Columbus or the Midwestin particular. "In general, we look at the whole country. It's notthat we target a region but rather individual properties. If webelieve in the local market, we will consider a property," heexplains. However, he admits the lower cap rates that typicallycharacterize core properties in the Boston-Washington corridor andCalifornia tend to make those markets less attractive. The cap ratefor the Groveport property was around 7%. Nor has the fund targetedindustrial over office or retail, the exec continues. But againgenerally lower cap rates for retail and office properties makeindustrial product more accessible if not necessarily moreattractive.

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While AIFAA has not targeted specific US regions or producttypes, Duisberg acknowledges it has targeted the US as a whole, aswell as Canada, for additional investment because of the twocountries' long-term stability. "Everybody in Switzerland followsthe news and sees what is happening here, but we are confident inthe US over the long term," he says. By contrast, he terms EasternEurope as less stable politically and consequently less attractive.On the other hand, the company looks favorably on Western Europe,with large existing investments in France, Germany and Austria andnew ones in Spain.

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