JUAREZ, MEXICO-Locally based developer Bermudez International will start sourcing and executing industrial investments in northern Mexico for Prudential Real Estate Investors under a new agreement between the two firms. With Prudential providing most of the equity and Bermudez the market expertise, the joint venture is looking to develop light manufacturing and warehouse/distribution centers along the Texas border. Bermudez, which keeps office in both Juarez and El Paso, TX, is now one of three firms that Prudential has signed on as limited partners as it seeks to create more south of the border opportunities for its investors. In each venture, Prudential puts up 95% of the necessary equity and its partner sources the deal, puts up the remaining 5% and then earns fees for construction and property management, a source at Prudential tells GlobeSt.com. “We’re looking for companies to place between $50 and $100 million for us,” she says. “We’re really looking to create a footprint across the country; you’ll be seeing more ventures pop up where we think there are opportunities.”PREI’s industrial “production-sharing” program in Mexico began last year with a distribution center for Mattel on the NAFTA highway in North Mexico City in partnership with Grupo O’Donnell, an affiliate of the California-based O’Donnell Group. Since that time, PREI has acquired a fully leased portfolio of industrial properties in the state of Queretaro from O’Donnell and acquired another portfolio of buildings in Juarez as part of a JV with Mexican developer Desarrollos Brasa. In the residential arena, PREI last year formed a partnership with Mexico and Latin America’s largest residential developer, Casas Geo, to acquire land for housing development. PREI’s activities also extend to Brazil, where the company has held an interest in affordable housing developer Atlantica since 2002. Prudential is not alone in its new love affair with Latin America. Other south-of-the-border investors include JPMorgan, GMAC, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, CS First Boston, Hines Interest, Koll, Tishman Speyer, Cargill, George Soros, Sam Zell, Kimco, AIG and GE Capital, according to Chuck Bedsole, practice leader in Dallas for Ernst & Young’s Latin America Real Estate Advisory. “Today’s global investors are usually more prepared than their late 20th century predecessors to learn the market, invest for the long term and address the economic, political and real estate risks,” Bedsole said in a statement addressing the trend.In a conversation with GlobeSt.com in January, Bledsoe said cross-border investors can expect to realize gains in the mid-teens to low 20% range in key Latin American markets, particularly Mexico, as economies gain strength alongside America amid a relaxation of regulation that has attracted US retail giants like Wal-Mart and Home Depot and even France’s Carrefour to open doors to a public with a growing purchasing power due in large part to repatriated capital.

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