Moorfield exceeds target on first close of new value-add real estate fund

Moorfield Group, the UK real estate private equity fund manager, has successfully and materially surpassed the £100 million target on the first close of its new Moorfield Real Estate Fund IV (MREFIV).

MREFIV is Moorfield’s fourth value-add fund which is expected to have an investment focus on Build to Rent (BTR), Student Accommodation and Logistics, alongside opportunistic mixed-use and infrastructure led real estate opportunities. The fund will be seeded with a BTR scheme in Manchester’s Media City (Erie Basin) and an office building in Newcastle’s Cobalt Park.

The fund, which has a final target of £350 million, has attracted a strong global investor base from a number of blue-chip European and US pension, endowment and foundation funds.

Marc Gilbard, Moorfield Group CEO, said: “We are very pleased with the response we have had from the investors that we have met as part of raising this new fund. Our investors place a great deal of trust in our ability to invest their capital wisely and we will look to be patient and disciplined over the three year investment period.

Moorfield has a broad range of skills and experiences, established over almost 22 years of investment and across most real estate sectors throughout the UK, which enables us to be flexible and dynamic in our search for opportunities with the appropriate risk/reward profile. In particular, we have been pioneers in a number of alternative real estate sectors where we continue to see opportunity today.”

Charles Ferguson-Davie, Moorfield Group CIO said: “We have an exciting pipeline of opportunities in the themes that the Fund is looking to invest in. The ‘beds and sheds’ themes, comprising BTR, student accommodation and last mile logistics have compelling demographic, structural and societal drivers that are creating strong demand in markets where there is also limited supply through lack of development in recent years. We expect these three themes to make up 75 per cent of the Fund, as they have done for MREFIII, with the remainder targeted at mixed-use opportunities and infrastructure-led real estate where we can reposition assets and create vibrant communities.”

The two schemes that will seed the fund are in Manchester and Newcastle. Erie Basin in Salford Quays, Manchester is a 220,000 sq ft 16-storey BTR development, designed by award winning architects Shepherd Robson, consisting of 270 one, two and three-bedroom residential apartments with gardens, amenity space and car parking. Cobalt 23 is a 128,500 sq ft vacant high quality office building on the Cobalt Business Park in Newcastle.

Moorfield became a private equity real estate investor in 1996 and has a history and track record of investing across a broad range of established and emerging real estate sectors. It currently has c.£1.2bn under management and has raised c.£1.5bn since 2005 via its value–add MREF funds and its dedicated special purpose fund (MAREF) that owns the senior housing platform Audley.

Two of the MREF funds have now been fully realised, and MREFIII is materially invested and recently made its first realisation. MAREF acquired Audley, the leading UK retirement village developer and operator in December 2015, and recently raised a further £85 million from existing investors, to take the total raised to £285 million, so as to provide Audley with further capital to grow.