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[IMGCAP(1)]NEW YORK CITY-Locally based Savanna Investment Management LLC has closed Savanna Real Estate Fund I, a $313-million opportunistic real estate private equity fund. Savanna anticipates the fund will acquire approximately $1 billion in new investment and development opportunities.

The fund’s limited partners include a broad cross section of prestigious domestic and international institutional investors, including private and public pension funds, insurance companies, banks, foundations, asset/wealth management companies and endowments. “We are delighted with the confidence our limited partners have demonstrated in the successful closing of this fund,” notes Chris Schlank, one of the managing partners, in a prepared statement. “Savanna’s direct operating and execution platform combined with a substantial pool of institutional capital will help us to secure the kinds of compelling opportunities that we believe will deliver extremely attractive risk-adjusted returns to our investors. We feel that we are well positioned to capitalize on market opportunities given the current capital markets dislocation.”

[IMGCAP(2)]The fund will focus on direct acquisitions for its own account, as well as selective joint-venture equity and mezzanine debt investments with third parties. Investments will include a wide variety of product types throughout the Northeast and Middle Atlantic states, including value-added office, residential, industrial, retail, land and development deals. Savanna Investment Management was assisted in its fund-raising efforts by Park Hill Real Estate Group LLC.

The fund already controls two major development sites adjacent to transportation hubs, and is currently building a 100,000-sf residential rental and corner retail building on 31st Street and 8th Avenue, across the street from Madison Square Garden and the Farley Post Office/Moynihan Station project. “Savanna Real Estate Fund I has recently taken advantage of the credit crisis dislocation by acquiring a number of subordinate notes from banks,” says Nick Bienstock, also a managing partner of the fund. “While there are literally hundreds of potential debt deals to pursue in this climate, we have carefully picked a handful of notes secured by the kind of real estate we typically buy, own and operate. These transactions produce equity-like return with substantially less risk.” No further information could be provided by press deadline.

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