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BOSTON-STAG Capital Partners is out to conquer Europe. The locally based real estate investment firm has opened an office in London and will add a Munich location by the second quarter to handle the more than $200 million in investments the company plans to make in Europe over the next year, according to CEO Ben Butcher.”We’re very excited about the prospects in Europe,” Butcher tells GlobeSt.com, noting that the firm will employ the same strategy it uses in the US to acquire single-tenant net leased industrial assets. That strategy has paid off handsomely for STAG, which has grown to 97 US properties since starting about four years ago.

Butcher says he expects the company to spend 100 euros, or just over $200 million, to build its European portfolio with most of those assets concentrated in Germany, where STAG plans to open an office in the second quarter of 2007.

“I would expect three years from now, our European group will be as big as our US group,” he says of the company’s plans. “We’re prepared to take the time and the capital necessary to make the European venture a success. We realize we’re new to the market and it may take some time to get going but we’re prepared to spend the time and funds to make that happen.”

STAG opted to open a London office first, he says, because the city is central to a number of private equity firms which STAG plans to tap into, much as it does in the US.

“We see the commercial real estate market as the same size in the European Union [as in the US] but we see an opportunity to do sale-leaseback transactions that can be commensurately larger than in the US,” he notes. “We have our little niche and we think it will play very well over there as it does here.”

But that doesn’t mean STAG will abandon its ventures here in the states, he says. “We’re still fully committed” to the US market, Butcher notes. The firm’s European expansion will just extend the company’s current acquisition strategy overseas, he says.

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