Commercial Magazine

International Investments: The Netherlands

By Victor Whitman

Famous for its windmills and canals, The Netherlands is a densely populated, industrialized country with a vibrant economy centered in Amsterdam and The Hague. Also known as Holland, this European nation is traditionally a top choice for U.S. real estate investors going abroad. As for capital flowing the other way, however, the Netherlands has been in the middle of the pack of world players.

According to Real Capital Analytics (RCA), the Netherlands ranked No. 14 in the world for foreign investment in U.S. commercial real estate during the four quarters through June 2020. Dutch companies were full or partial investors in 15 acquisitions totaling $779.2 million during this period, RCA reported.

As with many countries, Dutch activity in the U.S. was already slowing down prior to the COVID-19 outbreak and appeared to have nearly stopped entirely during the first half of 2020. RCA, for example, recorded one sale involving a Dutch investor in the first six months of this year.

Last year, however, several Dutch companies were active in the U.S., particularly in buying up apartment complexes. Last year’s most-active investor was the Hague-based global insurer Aegon. Toward the end of 2019, the company partnered with investors from the U.S. and other countries on multiple apartment acquisition deals totaling $429.7 million, according to RCA.

Aegon teamed with the Canadian company Rise Properties Trust to purchase four apartment complexes in the Seattle area. Three of these deals closed in November 2019, including an $81 million purchase in the Seattle suburb of Kent, an $80.4 million purchase in the nearby city of Everett and a $52.7 million acquisition in Seattle proper. In August 2019, Aegon and Rise also bought a $55.9 million complex in Federal Way, south of Seattle.

In December 2019, Aegon joined with the Chicago-based Providence Real Estate on a $51.6 million acquisition of an apartment complex in Lakeland, Florida. In August 2019, Aegon also partnered with California-based Ideal Capital Group in a $66.2 million purchase of apartments in the Southern California city of Oceanside.

There were two notable retail deals involving Dutch investors. This past June, the Netherlands-based hotel chain citizenM purchased a Wells Fargo building in Miami Beach, Florida, for $9 million, with plans to turn it into a 168-room hotel. In July 2019, Amsterdam-based property-management company Bouwinvest partnered with a Houston-based company to purchase a retail center in Decatur, Georgia, for $52.8 million.

The largest single deal in recent times, however, involved the Dutch pension fund PGGM. In July 2019, the company partnered with two U.S. investment companies to buy a $160 million high-rise apartment in Manhattan. That property was developed in the 1970s by the Spitzer family and sold by former New York governor turned real estate investor Eliot Spitzer, according to The Real Deal. ●


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