Gulf Islamic Investment buys property in New York state

The latest deal brings the value of GII's real estate portfolio in the US to more than $230 million

The Grand Street Plaza office block in Westchester County acquired by Gulf Islamic Investments for $230m. It has a leasable area of 20,439 sq m. Courtesy of GII
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Gulf Islamic Investments acquired an office building located close to US Federal, Supreme, District and County courthouses in upstate New York.

The latest deal brings the value of GII's real estate portfolio in the US to more than $230 million (Dhs844m).

The UAE-based investment manger is acquiring a 20,349 sq m (220,000 sq ft) building in White Plains, Westchester County, which is in demand from both government-affiliated and law-related tenants.  The building is 90 per cent occupied, with more than 30 tenants, GII said in a statement.

"This New York upstate market acquisition is very much in line with our strategy to acquire income generating core & core-plus real estate assets with high-grade tenants in gateway cities of [the] US, UK & western Europe," GII's co-founder and UAE chief executive said in a statement.

"The global economic situation continues to signal [a] low-interest rate regime for the foreseeable future and hence we continue to hold our belief in having such long income assets capable of delivering high single-digit returns," he said.

He added the company is also looking at opportunities in the Paris real estate market, which is set to benefit from firms relocating from the UK as a result of Brexit.

GII has been focused on Islamic investments in alternative assets such as real estate, venture capital and private equity since 2014. The company also bought an office building in New Jersey in August last year for $120m but sold one million square metres of logistics space leased to Amazon in Dortmund, Germany for $155m in December.

The investment firm is looking to build its assets under management to $2 billion by the end of 2020, according to co-founder and GCC chief executive, Mohammed Al-Hassan.

"GII has great confidence in the US market given the attractive risk spread, strong liquidity and transparent business environment,” Mr Al-Hassan said.

The office market in Westchester County has a vacancy rate of 20.1 per cent, which was a 1 per cent reduction year-on-year and the lowest level since 2014. Vacancy rates in White Plains were lower at 17.2 per cent of space, though, and a county-wide increase in employment helped to push up rents in the area, according to a market report by Newmarket Knight Frank. Rents for Grade A buildings rose 2.4 per cent to $35.66 per square foot.