CHICAGO—90 North Real Estate Partners, aLondon-based, international real estate investment firm, has justexpanded into North America by opening a Chicago office andappointing Daniel T. Cooper, a 25-year real estateveteran, to run it. Company officials say they plan to invest $750million, mostly in the US, during the next 18 to 24 months.

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“Our clients want and need real estate in the US,”Nicholas Judd, a founder, partner and head ofinvestment, tells GlobeSt.com. The company has a lot of investorsfrom the Middle East and “they are hunting for yield.” 90 North wasstarted in London in 2011 and has made about $750 million ininvestments buying office, industrial, senior living, and studenthousing properties throughout the UK. “Our clients are very keen onthe US and UK economies.”

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Both Judd and Cooper say locating the North American office inChicago was a natural choice. Judd, for example, says Chicago'saccess to banking and finance is as good as New York's. AndChicago's central location gives it quicker access to most UScities, an important consideration for a company building anational portfolio. “When we looked at all of the variables,”Cooper says, “Chicago came up number one.”

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To generate the needed yields, says Cooper, 90 North will focusprimarily on up and coming secondary markets such as Denver,Raleigh, Orlando and Chicago, and stay away from the coastalmarkets like New York and San Francisco, among others, that usuallyguarantee smaller returns.

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But investors are not just looking for a quick buck. “Theinitial investment horizon we work with is three to five years,”says Judd, during which the firm plans to create value in itsproperties before looking for buyers. However, the firm could alsodecide to hold onto its properties for longer. In the UK, forexample, it has now had its properties for about two years, butinstead of selling, many investors have floated the possibility ofjust refinancing. “It could be that we hold onto these assets forthe income.”

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The company will continue to target investments valued from $40million to $100 million. Judd says that 90 North is “agnostic” onwhat type of properties to it will buy, and could make purchases inthe office, industrial, medical/healthcare, student housing andrelated sectors. 90 North could also decide to fund newdevelopment, but this has not been decided.

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However, he adds that the company also considers itself asocially-responsible investor. “We will not invest in buildingsthat are let to defense companies or alcohol producers,” or hostother activities, such as gambling, they believe have a negativeimpact on society.

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Cooper has commercial real estate investment and operationsexperience across a wide range of property sectors. He mostrecently was managing director, fund management, for the $1.8billion HSBC Amanah Global Properties Income Fund.He was also the director of portfolio management forPrincipal America Office's $1.1 billion portfolioof US trophy assets.

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Brian J. Rogal

Brian J. Rogal is a Chicago-based freelance writer with years of experience as an investigative reporter and editor, most notably at The Chicago Reporter, where he concentrated on housing issues. He also has written extensively on alternative energy and the payments card industry for national trade publications.