Meyer Bergman makes two Amsterdam acquisitions for new EUR2bn Crossbay urban logistics platform

Private equity real estate investment manager Meyer Bergman has purchased two properties in a logistics park in the port of Amsterdam for its urban logistics platform Crossbay.

Named Beiraweg 11 and 15, both assets are fully occupied to a single tenant and collectively provide over 21,000 sq m of warehousing space within 10 minutes’ travel to Amsterdam city centre or Schiphol Airport.

The Dutch logistics market is rapidly growing due to strong combined demand from last mile operators looking for facilities to serve the country’s densely populated city-regions as well long haul and international forwarders wanting to take advantage of the Netherlands’ position as a key trade and shipping hub in Europe.

Fashion and lifestyle industries’ supply chain manager Bleckmann is located in the warehouse on Beiraweg 11 while homewares wholesaler Riviera Maison is located in Beiraweg 15, which contains a showroom and office space.

The seller Arc-en-Ciel was advised by Beaufort Bogaard Vastgoed (commercial) and Van Zinnicq Bergmann (legal). The buyer Meyer Bergman was advised by 1530 Real Estate (commercial), Rutgers & Posch (legal), Deloitte (tax) and CBRE (technical).

Arjan Kooman, joint head of Crossbay Benelux, says: “Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19 we have managed to acquire two quality assets close to Amsterdam city centre with excellent multimodal transport links – attributes that will prove highly appealing to any future occupier.”

Roy Erkelens, joint head of Crossbay Benelux, adds: “Today’s announcement further strengthens our presence in the Benelux region, where we have already secured a significantly sized portfolio thanks to high levels of acquisition activity over the past eight months."

The acquisitions follow the launch of Crossbay by Meyer Bergman in May this year. The logistics platform, which is the first to focus specifically on single-tenant distribution centres serving gateway cities across Europe, is targeting EUR2 billion in total value.

Crossbay has its own corporate structure separate from Meyer Bergman and is led by Marco Riva, formerly of Blackstone’s ‘big box’ warehouse business Logicor.

The platform’s Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg) portfolio is c105,000 sq m in size, representing over EUR90 million in assets under management by total value. 

Two of Europe’s largest conurbations - Randstad Netherlands, which includes Amsterdam and Rotterdam, and Belgium’s Flemish Diamond, which includes Brusssels and Antwerp - are located in the region.

The region is one of Europe’s wealthiest markets, with a household consumption totalling over EUR600 billion in 2019 according to research consultants Oxford Economics, with the Benelux countries also having some of the highest levels of online shopping in Europe.

Analysis by property advisors CBRE reveals that the Netherlands is the most advanced market for online sales on the continent, with a 2019 market share of almost 15 per cent, which is expected to increase to 25 per cent by 2024. Belgium follows with a 2019 online market share of 12 per cent, which is predicted to grow towards 20 per cent by 2024.

Meyer Bergman acquired its first last-mile logistics facility in the Benelux region in November 2019. Including Beiraweg 11 and 15, Crossbay has since secured an additional 15 assets in Belgium and the Netherlands over the past eight months.

Including near-term pipeline, Crossbay already has close to EUR500m assets under management, with just under 70 properties spread across Italy, France, Germany, Spain as well as the Benelux countries.

The platform’s whole portfolio, approximately 590,000 sq m in total size, currently enjoys a 100 per cent occupancy rate and weighted average lease break of five years. Tenants include a mix of 3PLs such as FedEx and DHL and e-commerce brands like Amazon.

Marco Riva, head of Crossbay and logistics at Meyer Bergman, says: “The Benelux region will continue to be a key geographical focus for Crossbay. All three countries have wealthy, highly urbanised and increasingly online consumer bases, while local last-mile logistics markets are all marked by low vacancy rates driven by a growing imbalance between demand and supply.

“Across Europe demand for urban logistics space is soaring, with Covid-19 accelerating the growth of e-commerce. While there will always be a place for physical retail and footfall will increase as social distancing restrictions are lifted, we expect online shopping rates to stabilise above their pre-pandemic levels.

“Crossbay will allow institutional investors such as pension funds to benefit from this structural change by creating a platform of sufficient scale that will enable them to easily gain exposure to last-mile logistics, a sector many have found difficult to enter due to small lot and transaction sizes.”

Crossbay is the latest specialised platform created by Meyer Bergman to target a specific sector. Other active platforms include Meyer Homes, which focuses on residential opportunities in London and south-eastern England, and Revolt Ventures, which invests in real estate-related technology companies.

These platforms sit in addition to Meyer Bergman’s urban mixed-use strategy and closed-end value-add funds, which focus on repositioning or repurposing existing assets in core European cities.

Earlier this month, Meyer Bergman sold a mixed commercial and retail asset in central London, 103 Mount Street, from its second value-add closed-end fund MBERP II to Trinova Real Estate and Stars REI. During the hold period, Meyer Bergman refurbished the office space on the building’s upper floors, increased occupancy and successfully re-leased the ground-floor retail to the same occupier –Celine, a luxury fashion brand owned by LVMH – at a higher rent.

The sale of 103 Mount Street came shortly after Meyer Bergman entered the German residential market through the acquisition of a majority interest in an 800-home portfolio in the Frankfurt-city region.