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MEPT acquires three assets for a total of USD192m

Multi-Employer Property Trust (MEPT) has purchased three institutional-quality assets in Boston, Denver and Philadelphia for a total investment of USD192m.

These transactions all closed in the past three months.

"On behalf of MEPT, we have sought to acquire well-leased, well-located assets in major markets across the US and these three assets fit well with the investment strategy," says David Antonelli, executive vice president and MEPT portfolio manager at Bentall Kennedy, real estate adviser to MEPT. "Since 2009, the fund has acquired existing assets and made commitments to development projects totalling more than USD2.1bn in investment in order to achieve strategic goals of diversifying the portfolio and increasing MEPT's presence in major US cities."

In November, MEPT, a USD5.6bn open-end commingled real estate equity fund, purchased The Metro, a 415-unit multi-family property in Denver for USD90.8m on an all cash basis from CBRE Capital Advisors. The acquisition of The Metro increases MEPT's ownership to over 9,000 apartment units across the US. The 93 per cent leased, 5.6-acre property is located in the LoDo neighborhood, with proximity to major employers in the city centre, the Union Station light rail, commuter rail and bus transit hub, abundance of nightlife, and a wide variety of recreational opportunities.

MEPT has planned a capital renovation programme that will include upgrades to common areas and enhanced unit finishes. Bentall Kennedy plans to identify efficiency gains and research the feasibility of adding sustainable features to the property.

MEPT purchased 1150 Commerce Boulevard in the Southern New Jersey – Philadelphia metro market for USD36.1m, on an all cash basis in early November. The property, a 599,500 square foot bulk industrial building situated on a 60.4 acre lot, is fully-leased to Kimberly-Clark Corporation. The property is located in LogistiCenter at Logan, a 1,000-acre bulk distribution park in Logan Township, NJ which has proximity to Interstates 295 and 95 as well as the New Jersey Turnpike.

MEPT acquired the Woburn Mall in the Boston market in September for USD62.6m from KGI. While MEPT has invested in the Boston area for over 20 years, the purchase of the Woburn Mall is MEPT's first retail investment in the Boston metropolitan area. The Woburn Mall, a 276,205 square-foot retail centre originally built in 1976, and most recently renovated in 2006, is approximately 90 per cent leased to a tenant mix of necessity-based and discount retailers, complemented by grocery and specialty shops. On behalf of MEPT, Bentall Kennedy will be evaluating opportunities to improve both the interior and exterior of the mall. Boston-based Novaya Ventures assisted in the acquisition effort and will continue to play a role in day-to-day operations.

"We are pleased with our transaction activity to-date for MEPT. These assets are well-leased and generating stable income and at the same time, offer the opportunity for the Fund to make improvements or expansions as tenant demand warrants," says Paul Boneham, executive vice president, head of US transactions, Bentall Kennedy. "For MEPT, we will continue to focus on acquiring multi-family assets in urban markets serving the Echo-Boom generation, grocery-anchored retail centres in established neighbourhoods, well-leased, modern distribution facilities, and high-quality CBD office properties."

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