NEW YORK CITY—Add Allianz to the list offinancial firms making cross-border inroads into US real estate viajoint ventures. The US arm of Allianz Real Estate,based here, has forged a partnership with Toronto-basedManulife to co-invest up to $1 billion incommercial properties.

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As part of the JV, John Hancock Real Estate,the Boston-based US real estate unit of Manulife Asset ManagementPrivate Markets, has sold Allianz majority interests in two ofoffice properties: the 469,261-square-foot 1100 New York Ave.in Washington, DC; and 191 N. Wacker Dr., which encompasses 733,757square feet in Chicago. Deal terms were not disclosed.

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Manulife will maintain a partial interest and continue to manageboth assets through its vertically integrated platform. The twocompanies will continue to seek additional class A office assetsthroughout the US.

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Chief executives at both companies cite the similarities intheir real estate investing goals. ChristophDonner, who joined Allianz Real Estate of America as CEOin August, sees Manulife as “a like-minded, best-in-class realestate investor. Allianz has ambitious goals to continue to expandits real estate presence in the US, and we are pleased to do sowith 1100 New York Avenue and 191 North Wacker Drive, two buildingsthat represent the type of high quality assets in which we seek toinvest.”

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Kevin Adolphe, president and CEO of ManulifeAsset Management Private Markets, says, “This partnership reflectshow our experienced teams work with investors to provide uniqueopportunities to meet their investment goals. We look forward togrowing our relationship with Allianz in the years to come.”

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Already, Allianz Real Estate of America has a portfolio of some$8 billion in commercial mortgage loans and equity commitments. Forits part, John Hancock Real Estate has a portfolio worth about$10.4 billion and totaling 40 million square feet across the US,Canada and Asia.

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Munich-based Allianz, Europe's largest insurer, joins a numberof other major overseas players entering US real estate ventures.Norges Bank Investment Management, an entity ofNorway's sovereign wealth fund, and MetLife havealready amassed a portfolio of $2.4 billion in US officeproperties. Earlier this month, AustralianSuperPty, the country's largest pension fund, said it hadtapped Des Moines-based Principal Real EstateInvestors to be its investment advisor for its US officestrategy.

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AustralianSuper's mandate will focus on large, high-qualityoffice investments in major US markets, including New York City,Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington, DC. Investmentswill be made either directly or through JVs in properties of US$200 million or greater.

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“We've been tracking the US market for an extended period oftime and we see good long-term opportunities in select markets tocontinue to build our international property portfolio,”Jack McGougan, head of property atAustralianSuper, said earlier this month. AustralianSuper currentlymanages US $5.2 billion in real estate holdings as part of morethan US $70 billion in funds under management.

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Paul Bubny

Paul Bubny is managing editor of Real Estate Forum and GlobeSt.com. He has been reporting on business since 1988 and on commercial real estate since 2007. He is based at ALM Real Estate Media Group's offices in New York City.