By Keith Loria
Bixby Land Co. and AXA Investment Managers – Real Assets have teamed on a strategic plan to invest in up to $400 million in warehouse and distribution buildings throughout the Western U.S. over the next two to three years.
“We have acquired a lot of industrial properties over the years for our own account, and decided we would seek to do that for someone else in a partnership,” Mike Severson, Bixby’s executive vice president & chief acquisitions officer, told Commercial Property Executive. “AXA is a French-based insurance company with an office in New York, and they needed someone with boots on the ground on the West Coast. We own industrial properties from San Diego all the way up to Seattle, so it was a good fit for both parties.”
Bixby currently owns and manages nearly $1 billion in industrial and office properties. This new joint venture will enable the company to grow in existing target Western U.S. markets at an accelerated pace over the next few years.
“Industrial is clearly the hottest property type and it’s being driven by increasing port activity and e-commerce,” Severson said. “We think the supply and demand characteristics of industrial are stronger than they’ve ever been.”
Severson is tasked with spearheading the acquisitions, and noted he will aim for leased industrial buildings in the $10 million to $40 million range in five states—California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.
“The asset class is supported by a number of strong fundamentals driven by structural changes in supply chains, e-commerce and consumer behavior and, as such, aims to deliver durable and growing long-term income streams,” Steve McCarthy, AXA IM – Real Assets’ head of North America, said in a prepared release.“We are pleased to be working with such an established and reputable partner as Bixby in this joint venture and look forward to working with them on behalf of our clients.”
Already, Bixby has contributed two industrial investments totaling approximately $27 million to the venture. Severson said one is in the Inland Empire in Southern California and the other is in Phoenix.
“These are core industrial, triple-net leased, 10-year leases in both buildings,” he said.
To date, Bixby’s portfolio includes 6 million square feet of office and industrial properties in the Western U.S. Two months ago, the company acquired a 146,663-square-foot industrial warehouse and distribution facility in Phoenix for $9.5 million in cash.
Last month, AXA Investment Managers – Real Assets, in a joint venture with Stewart Investment Partners, acquired a majority stake in 1401 New York Ave., NW, a 210,000-square-foot trophy office property in Washington, D.C., for $165 million.