On February 5, 2021, CEE Legal Matters reported that Greenberg Traurig had advised AEW on its acquisition of a logistics project near Warsaw from an unspecified seller. CEEIHM spoke with Xavier Aubrun, Associate Director at AEW, to learn more about the acquisition.
CEEIHM: Just to get our readers acquainted with your company, could you tell us a bit about AEW?
Xavier: AEW is one of the largest real estate managers in the world, with approximately EUR 69.8 billion of assets under management globally, of which approximately EUR 34.6 billion is in Europe. AEW has over 750 employees, with main offices are located in Boston, London, Paris, and Hong Kong, and it offers a wide range of real estate investment products, including commingled funds, separate accounts, and securities mandates across the full spectrum of investment strategies.
In Europe, AEW has over 400 employees based in 12 locations, including in Warsaw, and has a long track record of successfully implementing core, value-added, and opportunistic investment strategies on behalf of its clients. In the last five years, AEW has invested and divested a total volume of over EUR 21 billion of real estate across European markets
CEEIHM: Your company recently acquired a logistics project near Warsaw. Why was this particular project interesting for your company?
Xavier: We already have a significant presence in the Polish market on the big box logistics segment and have been scouting for “last-mile” opportunities in the key logistics hubs for over a year. We managed to leverage our strong relationship with Panattoni to identify this asset, which is located in direct proximity to the city center, at the junction between two key road axis, in a land-constrained environment. We see a lot of growth coming in these publications, which are due to gain traction as both Warsaw grows and e-commerce picks up. Furthermore, in these uncertain times, we were also attracted by the tenancy mix, which is Covid-proof, as well as the asset layout allowing for flexibility of use in the medium-term.
CEEIHM: What are the near-future plans for this project – what are the next steps?
Xavier: The project was acquired just before the second building was completed. The next steps now are to complete the development and lease-up the outstanding space.
On a broader scale, our intention is to acquire further assets in the urban logistics space in Warsaw and other significant Polish submarkets.
CEEIHM: It was reported that Greenberg Traurig assisted you with the acquisition. Could you share some of the intricacies of the transaction and how the firm helped you with them?
Xavier: That is correct. GT assisted us from carrying out the due diligence to the completion of the transaction. Their help was extremely valuable when it came down to assessing the risks or blind spots in our due diligence and proposed pragmatic solutions to overcome potential blocking points. One key part of their input was the actual structuring of the transaction documents in order to protect our interests up to the end of the development phase and delivery of the overall project.
CEEIHM: What made you choose Greenberg Traurig as your advisor on this project?
Xavier: We have known Greenberg Traurig in Warsaw for a long time and have a very close relationship with them on a broader European level. Demonstrated abilities, trust, and availability have been the three main points that made us select GT on this project. We will keep on working with GT on this transaction and future needs.
Originally reported by CEE In-House Matters.