MARK's urban logistics platform Crossbay secures EUR550m in equity commitments to support portfolio growth

Crossbay, the first pan-European logistics platform to focus on single-tenant distribution centres, has secured EUR550m in equity commitments from a global mix of major investors.

Five parties in total are committing equity to Crossbay, including: anchor investor the Townsend Group, on behalf of its Special Situations mandates; CBRE Global Investment Partners, on behalf of a Special Situations strategy; Nuveen; Credit Suisse Asset Management; and QInvest.

The successful capital raise will help fund Crossbay's continued growth and expansion, with a focus on assets in key geographies such as France, Germany and the Benelux region. The platform is targeting up to EUR1.5 billion in gross asset value, having already secured over EUR500 million in assets under management, including near-term pipeline.

Crossbay, which was launched in May this year by leading private equity real estate investment manager MARK (formerly Meyer Bergman), was designed to enable institutional investors to grow their exposure to the fast-growing last mile logistics sector. The platform has its own corporate structure and is led by Marco Riva, who was previously at Logicor, a Blackstone portfolio company focused on 'big box' warehouses.

Crossbay's current tenant base includes a mix of 3PLs such as FedEx and DHL as well as e-commerce brands such as Amazon. 

Crossbay is the latest platform to be launched by MARK to target a specific opportunity within a certain sector or geography. Previous platforms created by MARK include: 

• VIA Outlets, a platform focused on premium fashion outlets, which was later acquired by APG delivering EUR1.6 billion in asset value

• Meyer Homes, a EUR600 million GDV residential development platform focused on sites primarily in Greater London

• Promenaden, an asset management platform managing an EUR850m portfolio of prime properties in central Oslo, including the historic Steen og Strøm department store

MARK, which recently announced plans for new country-specific residential platforms and to expand into life sciences and digital real estate, started investing in last mile logistics in 2018.

The sector has proven one of the most resilient during the Covid-19 pandemic, with consumers now increasingly reliant on online shopping. This has driven occupier demand for last mile facilities, and in turn, investor interest. 

Marcus Meijer, CEO of MARK, says: “By investing in creating a branded platform, and focusing on a specific niche within the increasingly competitive last mile logistics sector, we have managed to secure interest from leading investors across the globe despite the pandemic.

“Our focus going forward will be to maintain the current pace of acquisitions to build a portfolio of sufficient size and scale.

"Looking ahead, we see further opportunities within logistics real estate and will be looking to grow our exposure to this asset class, which has clear long-term growth drivers that are underpinned by the mega-trends of urbanisation and technological change.”

Marco Riva, head of Crossbay and logistics at MARK, says: “Urban logistics was already attracting the interest of institutional investors before Covid-19, with consumers increasingly shopping online thanks to improvements to smartphone and mobile internet technology.

“However, small lot sizes had made the urban logistics sector difficult to access for institutional investors, who typically want scale, which is why we created Crossbay. Our strategy has been vindicated by the successful capital raise from a geographically diverse, high profile investor base that will support our growth in key target geographies.”

Jan van Bakel, head of transactions for continental Europe, CBRE Global Investment Partners, says: “Last mile logistics is one of our preferred investment themes, based on increased e-commerce demand, which is further fuelled by the Covid19 impact, and restricted supply due to land scarcity in the largest European urban areas.

"To access this strategy in scale, with like-minded investors and a significant seed portfolio already in place, provides for a special investment opportunity. We look forward to collaborating with MARK and our partners to build out the Crossbay platform.”

Sven Schaltegger, head of the multi-manager real estate platform at Credit Suisse Asset Management, says: “The investment in Crossbay allows us to add another strategic partnership to our platform and is an unique fit for our urban logistics strategy that we are pursuing across a range of products and accounts.

“This investment also highlights our conviction in the structural shift towards e-commerce, that has been further accelerated by Covid-19, and the strong growth prospects for granular last mile assets.”