America House owners: Romania is a safe bet in the region

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AEW Europe, a company affiliated to the French group Natixis Global Asset Management, which bought the America House building in Piata Victoriei for a record 120 million euros, has opened an office in Bucharest, through which it intends to make other acquisitions, being one of the few investors to announce investments plans during a period of financial crisis.
 
“We will monitor the market’s subtleties more carefully and also improve the performance of properties we already have. We have other projects underway, as well, and, by the end of this year, we could make another acquisition, which depends on administrative factors. Romania is a pretty safe bet in the region, this is a good time to be here, if you are familiar with the market,” Jerome Spanek, managing director of AEW Europe in Romania told Ziarul Financiar.
 
AEW Europe currently manages two funds with an overall value of more than 1.5 billion euros, one of them being PBW II, through which it acquired office building America House, and European Retail Park in Targu Mures, which have a cumulated value of over 200 million euros.
Spanek is a French national of Czech origin, who ran the company’s Prague operations before coming to Romania.
 
“We have a substantial investment budget for Romania,” says the manager, who did not go into details.
“Supply on the retail and office segments is still lower than demand, with Romania being more interesting from this point of view than other countries in the area,” says Spanek.
The company holds a record in terms of the highest price paid for an office building in Romania, as well as in terms of the lowest yield on the market, 5.55% in euros per year.
 
“We paid a high price for America House, but the building has a potential to attract large companies that want to have a central position, with public transportation easily available. Yields have, in the meantime, gone up by around 0.75%. However, with no transactions being concluded, nobody knows exactly where the market currently stands. However, I think we made the right decision,” added Spanek.
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