Catella European Residential fund hits EUR1.5bn with Vienna, Vitoria, and Hamburg acquisitions

Berlin-based Catella Residential Investment Management (CRIM) and Catella Real Estate AG (CREAG) have acquired three innovative residential projects in Vienna, Vitoria in northern Spain, and Hamburg for approximately EUR147 million. 

Together, the three transactions boost the total investment volume of their flagship Catella European Residential (CER) fund to around EUR1.5 billion.

Viktoria Hoffmann, investment adviser for CER, says: “CER’s investment in Vienna is the fund’s first in the Austrian market and expands the geographical diversity of its portfolio to six countries and the reach of the Catella residential platform as a whole, which is already the largest cross-border investor in this real estate sector in Europe. The Vitoria acquisition ideally complements the portfolio in the affordable housing segment, a key feature of the investment strategy, as well as our focus on healthy regional residential markets, such as this city in Spain’s Basque Country. The Hamburg project has cutting edge sustainability features built in. Together, these three deals, in part or whole, represent high quality additions to the affordable housing stock of the respective markets, which will be more necessary than ever when Europe emerges from the coronavirus crisis.” 

In Vienna, CER has bought 250 new apartments from Austrian developer Haring Group for just under EUR56 million. The apartments are part of a larger residential scheme under development in Vienna’s 22nd district, an up-and-coming area with one of the fastest population growth rates in the Austrian capital. In total, approximately 1,300 residential units will be built on the site, including a mix of condominiums, privately-owned, and government-regulated rental apartments.

The project acquired by the fund consists of four separate buildings. All units will be realised with high quality equipment and functional and compact floor plans. The development is scheduled for completion in 2023. 

Vienna is an important business and university centre, and is considered to be one of the most liveable cities in the world by both local and international residents. The Viennese social housing market is also one of the largest in Europe.

Michael Keune, managing director of CRIM, explains: “A particular attraction of the Vienna transaction was the opportunity to be able to partner with a local developer like the Haring Group, which has a solid reputation for delivering crafted projects in the Austrian market.”  

CER also acquired two standing properties in the social housing sector of Vitoria, the capital of the Spanish Autonomous Region of the Basque Country, for EUR51 million. Vitoria, with over 250,000 inhabitants, is the economic and cultural centre of the region. This was the first transaction by a foreign institutional investor in the Basque Country within the controlled rental housing segment, where demand for accommodation is extremely strong. Almost 500 apartments in total are divided into one and two-room apartments of between 60 sq m and 90 sq m, and are fully let.

In Hamburg, CER has acquired a turnkey project development in the HafenCity port area in the city’s Baakenhafen/Elbbrücken district from Garbe Immobilien Projekt for around EUR40 million. The building, which comprises 15 regulated apartments and 60 private sector units in line with KfW-55 energy-efficiency standards, is based on a modern design selected from an architectural competition. The private sector apartment design is based on a co-living concept and includes large common areas, hobby rooms and a communal roof terrace for residents.

Keune adds: “The development in Hamburg’s HafenCity is one of the top locations in Germany and forms a great addition to our portfolio. We are delighted to have this opportunity to realise such an attractive project in cooperation with a renowned local developer, which will help shape Hamburg’s skyline at a prominent location on one of HafenCity’s last remaining greenfield sites.”