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WARSAW-Morgan Stanley Real Estate is moving its international investment program into this emerging market by securing a 25% stake in Wan SA, a local real estate development company active in the logistics, multifamily and office sectors. Made through the Special Situations Fund III, the infusion represents Morgan Stanley’s first commercial real estate play in Poland after previously diversifying overseas into such countries as China, India, Russia and Turkey.

“We believe Poland’s strong economic growth and its demand for quality real estate provide an attractive opportunity to expand our investment platform,” says Morgan Stanley Real Estate co-chief John Carrafiell in a release detailing the arrangement.

According to Carrafiell, Morgan Stanley was attracted to Wan SA due to the company’s entrepreneurial approach and track record of organic growth. “We are excited at the prospect of contributing to [Wan's] future success through this capital injection,” he says. That financial backing is critical to the firm, concurred Witold Anyszka, president of Wan’s supervisory board. “The partnership will allow us to continue our realization of our strategy not only in Warsaw, but also throughout Poland and to expand our presence in various market segments,” Anyszka says. Now that the financing is in place, the two sides are pursuing several development strategies, he added.

Operating in the Warsaw commercial real estate market since 1995, Wan SA has developed more than 1.5 million sf of office and residential properties and continues to expand that inventory through new construction. Wan SA is also producing substantial new industrial space in response to the improving economy. The company’s ultimate goal, says Anyszka, is to be listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange, something he says could be a reality in the next few years thanks to the support of Morgan Stanley.

Wan’s new partner has acquired $113.5 billion of real estate worldwide since 1991 and currently manages $72.8 billion in real estate assets for clients. The New York-based firm is also a leader in commercial mortgage backed securities, with $156 billion offered through the capital markets since 1997, including $35.5 billion in 2006.

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