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SANTA ANA, CA-Grubb & Ellis Co. and the Meridian Cos. have formed a joint venture called Energy & Infrastructure Advisors LLC to invest in energy industry-related properties via private and public investment vehicles. The new venture will sponsor retail and institutional investment products “focused on pursuing opportunities in the energy and infrastructure sector,” according to a statement by the companies.

The JV is targeting mission critical real estate tied to a broad range of energy and the broader infrastructure sector. Its initial focus will be on the energy sector, performing sale-leasebacks and the like. Among the types of potential acquisitions for the new venture are land upon which transmission lines run, generating stations and other energy-related properties.

Jeff Hanson, president and chief investment officer of Grubb & Ellis’ investment and asset management subsidiary, describes the new JV as “a strategic partnership between a major national real estate investment firm and a leading provider of financial services to the energy industry.” Hanson calls the energy-related segment, “a compelling emerging sector.”

Meridian Investments Inc. was established in 1981 as an NASD broker/dealer licensed to sell direct participation programs and other forms of securities, according to the company’s web site. Since its founding, various Meridian affiliates have completed equity transactions totaling in excess of $15 billion with more than 150 institutional clients, including approximately $5 billion of alternative energy projects in the biomass, coal bed methane gas, coal-based synthetic fuel, solar, geothermal and wind sectors. Meridian’s client base includes major money center banks, national insurance companies, global financial services firms and both investor-owned as well as cooperative utilities.

Grubb & Ellis, through its investment and asset management subsidiaries, has raised approximately $4.2 billion in investor equity since 1998, and currently manages a real estate portfolio valued in excess of $6.8 billion across 32 states. The company and its subsidiaries raised $197.8 million in equity in the first quarter of 2009, representing a 167% increase over the same period in 2008.

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