White Star Real Estate has completed the acquisition of Liberty Technology Park Cluj from Fribourg Development, the real estate division of Fribourg Capital. Liberty Technology Park (LTP) includes 18,000 square meters of former industrial buildings, transformed in the last six years by Fribourg into a modern technology park.
The five class A office buildings are BREEAM certified due to their innovative, environmentally friendly and energy efficient technologies. To these are added another three hectares of land for future development.
Cluj-Napoca, the largest city in Transylvania and one of the main cities in Romania, has a population of about 500,000 people, including the metropolitan area, 10 universities and over 80,000 students. The city is a key center for the growth of the fields of Technology, Research-Development and Services in Romania.
Located in the north of the city, LTP enjoys the presence of internationally renowned IT&C and R&D tenants, such as Siemens, IBM, Majorel and Altran. Spherik Accelerator has also been launched here, which aims to improve the local community of start-ups and helps it to develop rapidly internationally.
White Star Real Estate and its partner, an investment fund of a major US university, have developed a joint venture for the acquisition of Liberty Technology Park and the further development of this project. White Star Real Estate will manage both the existing property and the development of the following phases.
The acquisition consultants for White Star Real Estate were Albota Law, Dentons, Colliers International Romania (financing) and EY, and for Fribourg Development – Colliers and Reff & Associates.
“We are delighted with the opportunity offered by Liberty Technology Park to benefit from Romania’s favorable economic and demographic trends and to continue to build one of the most important technology parks in Central and Eastern Europe. According to the information we have, the acquisition of Liberty Technology Park represents a premiere: the first time an investment fund of an American university invests directly in the real estate market in Romania. This demonstrates our confidence in the development of the city as a whole and in the innovative potential of the residents of Liberty Technology Park, ”said Brian Patterson, founder of White Star Real Estate.
“In recent years, we have worked hard to create a unique IT ecosystem, which is now the perfect place for corporations, small and medium-sized companies and start-ups alike. Liberty contributed to shaping the technology industry in Cluj and, at the same time, marked the beginning of the redefinition of this former industrial district. We are proud of the agreement with White Star Real Estate, which shares our vision for the future of the region, and we will continue to support them in the further development of Liberty Technology Park, ”said Ion Sturza, founder and president of Fribourg Capital.
Colliers International advised on the sale of Liberty Technology Park office complex and also acted as advisor in obtaining financing for the acquisition for the buyer was White Star Real Estate and its joint venture partner, the endowment fund of a top private university in the USA. Dentons was also an advisor for White Star Real Estate.
The partnership between a real estate player and an educational institution is common practice in other Western countries, but the acquisition of the offices in Cluj represents a unique transaction for the Romanian market, as it brings a change in the pattern of present investors, laying out a pioneering investment case.
“To see an investor backed up by the endowment fund of an educational institution in acquiring a flourishing office project like Liberty Technology Park is far from the typical Romanian investment scenario. Many real estate players expect big transactions to happen on the Romanian market, but, in this case, the value this investment deal holds goes beyond cash and liquidity. Given the nature of the equity partner and the usual risk profile such investor takes into consideration, it will go on having a significant impact on the investment market. We see this as a true disruption in the Romanian real estate, strong enough to reinforce hope about the many opportunities that the future holds for both Cluj-Napoca and the whole country”, said Anca Merdescu (Svoronos), Senior Associate Investment & Debt Advisory at Colliers International Romania.
White Star Real Estate is an international real estate company with a history of highest standing. His team has been active in Central and Eastern Europe since 1997 and has led the completion of over 50 development projects throughout the region. The company offers clients premium real estate services and property management; it also identifies and develops real estate opportunities in the markets of Central and Eastern Europe and it has been present in Romania since 2006, where his best known project is the Lakeview office building in Bucharest.