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CHICAGO-Heitman LLC has put half of the $300 million of Crescent Euro Industrial II LLC to work overseas. The fund, an expansion of a $100-million investment in Germany with First Islamic Investment Bank EC last year, is focusing on warehouse and distribution facilities in France and Italy in addition to Germany.

Christopher Merrill, managing director of Heitman’s international private equity group, tells GlobeSt.com the fund is using 75% leverage and expects returns “in the low to mid teens.”

“The markets that we’re going into were selected and chosen while working with our clients,” Merrill says. “We see a good overall risk-return potential.”

The strategy includes buying completed projects with solid tenants, Merrill adds, in main cities as well as secondary markets in the three countries.

Merrill says more than two million sf of assets earmarked for Crescent Euro Industrial II LLC are already under contract, with the remainder of the fund expected to be invested within the next 12 months.

Heitman LLC is managing the two million sf of industrial properties in Germany acquired in the first Crescent Euro Industrial venture. The company has opened an office in Frankfurt. Heitman now manages a portfolio worth more than $1 billion in Europe, including facilities in Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic.

“First Islamic is committed to investing in European distribution warehouse properties, and our partnership with Heitman will create tremendous opportunities for the growth of our industrial platform,” says First Islamic director of real estate Muhannad Abulhasan.

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