UI Kasukabe Logistics Center

Unified Industrial’s existing portfolio includes the UI Kasukabe Logistics Center near Tokyo

Six months after closing on $850 million for its latest Asia Pacific opportunistic real estate fund, Macquarie Asset Management is returning to Asia’s logistics market through a partnership with Tokyo-based developer Unified Industrial, according to a statement this week by the Australian fund manager.

In revealing the investment with Unified, which has invested in and developed more than 1.2 million square metres (12.9 million square feet) of logistics asset across Japan and China, Macquarie’s leadership pointed to its new partner’s skills in creating opportunities in one of the industry’s most competitive sectors.

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“UI’s significant real estate experience as an established fund manager, combined with Macquarie Asset Management’s expertise in assisting the growth of real estate operating platforms, positions this as an exciting opportunity to accelerate the development of UI’s business,” said James Kemp, head of real estate investments in Asia Pacific for the firm.

The deal involves Macquarie Asset Management both buying a stake in Unified and providing initial capital to fund development of the builder’s pipeline of projects in Japan and China.

Tokyo Seed Asset

The announcement of Macquarie’s investment coincides with the closing of the partnership’s first acquisition, which is an asset in Tokyo’s Koto ward. The new partners said that the property, which is located just outside the Japanese capital’s urban core, has potential for redevelopment as a last-mile logistics centre.

UIH_Josh and Ross_business portrait

Ross Antoci (L) and Josh Olsan are United Industrial’s principals

Representatives of Macquarie and Unified had not replied to Mingtiandi requests for financial details of the partnership or the asset acquisition by the time of publication.

In June of last year, Unified assembled a group of individual buyers to purchase JPY 140.4 billion (then $1.31 billion) in Japanese logistics assets from a CBRE Global Investors (now CBRE Investment Management) fund through a series of individual deals, as revealed by Mingtiandi at the time.

The company’s website features projects across Japan, as well as in the mainland China hubs of Wuhan and Suzhou.

Next Stage of Growth

Founded by ProLogis, AMB Black Pine and New City veteran Joshua Olsan in 2008, Unified now manages more than $1 billion in assets.

Joining Olsan to expand the company in 2012 was former JP Morgan and Bear Stearns investment specialist Ross Antoci, with the two veterans both serving as principals with the firm. The company added China capabilities in 2015 when former New City and Colliers International executive Jeremy Chapman came on board as managing director of Unified Industrial China.

Macquarie’s Kemp made clear that the experience of Unified’s team is central to the new venture.

“We are pleased to partner with UI and look forward to working closely with the founders in the next stage of growth for the business,” Kemp said. “This investment aligns with our strategy of partnering with high quality specialist real estate operators in sectors supported by structural tailwinds.”

Looking for Another Logos

Macquarie’s announcement of the deal with Unified comes more than a year and a half after it exited its investment in Logos Property by selling its stake in the platform to ARA Asset Management for an undisclosed sum.

The Aussie fund manager had been among the first institutional backers in Logos after the pan-APAC logistics developer and fund manager was founded in 2010 and cited the investment as one of its success stories when it announced its opportunistic fund closing this year.

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In addition to its backing of Unified Industrial, the asset manager’s Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets division in 2018 became a major investor in mainland China cold chain logistics developer Metcold, which received a commitment in May this year from BlackRock to invest in a portfolio of its facilities.

During 2021 Macquarie has also been chasing warehouse opportunities in Europe, including announcing the acquisition of a portfolio of last-mile logistics assets in Poland for €63 million ($71 million) less than one month ago.

That deal brought the asset manager’s investments in European logistics to at least €320 million this year, after it racked up more than €300 million such transactions in 2020.

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