By Andy Sambidge
Real estate arm of investment authority takes key role in downtown Washington real estate scheme
Qatari Diar was named on Monday as the anchor investor in a $700m retail development in downtown Washington, the first major investment by the Gulf state in US real estate.
Construction has started on the landmark CityCenterDC, which is believed to be the largest downtown development currently underway in any US city.
The anchor investor is Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company (Qatari Diar), the real estate investment arm of the Qatari Investment Authority and the financing was put in place by Barwa Bank's investment banking subsidiary The First Investor (TFI), a statement said.
TFI will co-invest in and manage the dedicated TFI US Real Estate Fund, the statement added.
A joint venture between Clark Construction Group and Smoot Construction of Washington, construction started on March 23 and is expected to be completed by the end of 2013.
CityCenterDC is a 10-acre, mixed-use development, located in the heart of downtown Washington.
The first phase of the project is a pedestrian-friendly neighbourhood with more than 185,000 square feet of retail situated at the base of six buildings that encompass 458 rental apartment units and 216 condominium units; and 520,000 square feet of office space.
A second phase of the project is planned to include a 350-room upscale hotel, along with 110,000 additional square feet of retail.
As principal manager of the CityCenterDC funding programme, Barwa Bank's investment banking arm TFI is responsible for overseeing the project financing and completion alongside its development and investment partner Hines|Archstone and anchor investor Qatari Diar.
Mohammed Al Saad, vice chairman and managing director of Barwa Bank, said: "Its ambition, scale and profile are commensurate with its status as Qatar's first major real estate investment in the US, and one which I believe will mark the beginning of a long and successful US/Qatari partnership in premium real estate investment and development."
Mohammed Al Hedfa, Group CEO of Qatari Diar added: "We are delighted to provide the anchor investment in the TFI US Real Estate Fund. In conjunction with our co-investors and strategic partners, Hines|Archstone, we look forward to the final realisation of this landmark development."