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AMSTERDAM-A US/German partnership with a $1.3-billion investment appetite for European real estate has acquired two more properties for the pool. Texas firm Behringer Harvard and overseas ally HCI Capital secured a pair of 75,000-sf office buildings situated near the Schiphol Airport, making the buy on behalf of the Behringer Harvard Strategic Opportunity Fund II LP. Behringer Harvard would not disclose the price to GlobeSt.com by deadline.

“These assets will allow our investors to diversify internationally by capitalizing on a superior location in the strong Amsterdam/Sloten submarket,” Behringer Harvard CEO Robert Behringer says in a release announcing the investment. HCI’s management expertise and local knowledge allow for “significant upside potential” of the 15-year-old structures, adds Behringer.

Based in Hamburg, HCI’s cross-border experience in Europe has enabled the firms to identify opportunities with development or value-added potential, Behringer Harvard principal Jason Mattox tells GlobeSt.com. “They are our eyes and ears on the ground in those markets, and we feel very confident in the acquisitions we have made with them,” says Mattox, whose firm had a previous relationship with HCI prior to launching the fund in late 2006.

The partnership today is pursuing deals in the United Kingdom and Germany, and has also made other acquisitions in the Netherlands, including a five-story office building near the two just purchased, plus a portfolio of seven assets in the Amsterdam suburbs. Founded as a fishing village, Amsterdam has emerged in the new millennium as one of Europe’s leading business centers, serving as the headquarters of such major corporations as Ahold, Akzo Nobel, Heineken and ING Group. “Amsterdam and the Netherlands is absolutely a financial services capital,” says Mattox, aided by a skilled workforce of nearly 1.4 million people congregated near the country’s capital city.

According to Mattox, the business-savvy nature of the Netherlands was a key reason for including it in the fund’s geographic footprint. In that regard, he says, it is similar to both the UK and Germany. “Amsterdam has a very robust economy,” he says. “A lot of companies are doing great things there.” To date, nearly all of the European acquisitions have been for industrial and office buildings, but Mattox says other product types are also being considered. The latest additions to the portfolio are located at Overschiestraat 63 and 65. “They are very visible,” says Mattox. ‘We think they are going to do really well.”

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