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CHICAGO-Ascendance Partners LLC, based here, is launching its first real estate fund, which will be focused on urban, infill assets in “transitional” neighborhoods, says Craig Huffman, co-founder of Ascendance Capital. The $25-million fund will focus mainly on the South and West sides of Chicago, Huffman says.

The fund, which is expected to have a period of between three and five years, will focus on assets with a value of between $5 million and $12 million. The fund will seek assets that are in “distressed” situations, are below replacement cost, have a need for management or repositioning or have market growth opportunities, he says. “We are looking at deals in emerging areas,” he says. Ascendance Partners seeks to generate an annual rate of return between 16% and 18%, net of fees and expenses. Huffman says the company will seek the higher returns, in part, through aggressive leasing and building improvements.

Ascendance will be closing on the first property for the fund within the next couple of weeks, Huffman says. The first acquisition will be an approximate 21,000-sf office building located at 715 E. 47th St. that is being purchased from a local developer that is fully leased by the Illinois Department of Employment Security. Ascendance is currently in negotiations with the tenant for a lease renewal. Huffman would not disclose the sales price, since they have not closed on the acquisition, but said the cap rate is approximately 11%.

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