Allianz Real Estate has cemented its move into third-party investment management with the acquisition of ‘smart office’ development in Berlin on behalf of a joint venture involving Bayerische Versorgungskammer (BVK).

The company, which had exclusively managed the real estate investments of Allianz group companies, will forward-fund the EDGE East Side Berlin and manage the investment.

Germany’s largest pension fund BVK, which is investing through Universal-Investment, will own 50% of the joint venture.

Annette Kroeger, CEO for northern and central Europe, said it was the “second leg” of Allianz Real Estate’s move into third-party investment management, having opened up its debt platform to external investors last year.

The Berlin acquisition is the first time Allianz Real Estate will manage an equity investment on behalf of a third-party.

Kroeger said it was a logical “next step in the evolution” of what is the world’s largest real estate investor, according to IPE Real Assets’ top 100 ranking of capital owners.

“We are looking for institutional investors who will come in alongside us on joint venture opportunities – where they have the benefit of us committing capital and therefore being very much aligned with them.”

Asked whether Allianz Real Estate would look to launch commingled real estate funds, Kroeger said: “For the time being the focus is on doing individual joint ventures with partners. But clearly we will be open to further ideas over time.”

Allianz is seeking to team up with institutional investors across the globe.

“BVK is exactly the sort of institutional investor with a very much aligned mindset to what we do at Allianz,” Kroeger said. “Therefore, we think that is a very strong partner for us and would hope to develop that relationship further.”

Allianz Real Estate recently announced another deal with EDGE Technologies: the acquisition of the HafenCity development in Hamburg.

Kroeger said the latest deal involved a “prime asset in a dynamic location of Berlin”, the Mediaspree sub-market of the German city.

EDGE Technologies specialises in technologically smart and sustainable buildings. “For us it is also strategically important to work with a developer that has a strong focus on this,” Kroeger said.

An earlier version of this article incorrectly spelt Annette Kroeger’s name