EUROPE - AXA Real Estate Investment Managers has secured more capital commitments for its European development fund, taking total capital raised to €377.5m.

The commitments have been secured from a number of pension funds, insurance companies and third-party funds from European countries, including the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Finland and France.

But AXA Real Estate is still less than two-thirds of its target of €600m, which it originally expected to raised by September 2010, despite raising €147.5m in its second closing.

That said, the capital raised so far is still likely be seen as an achievement for AXA Real Estate given the difficult fundraising environment and the fact that most investors are concentrating on strategies to invest in existing core assets.

Development strategies have fallen by the wayside since the credit crunch and it has been more six years since AXA Real Estate launched a similar fund - Development Venture III follows two antecedent funds launched in 2001 and 2004, respectively.

Dennis Lopez, global chief investment officer at AXA Real Estate, said: "The support from investors for Development Venture III continues our strong fundraising progress so far this year, which has included the €350m first close of our CRE1 debt fund.

"This new equity allows investors to benefit from the experience of our in-house development team, who have an established track record of creating value through our previous development ventures."

Antoine Jozan, global head of investor relations and marketing at AXA Real Estate, said the firm expected to make its third and final closing in April 2011.

"We continue to see strong interest in the venture from a number of potential investors across the globe, notably overseas, with several at advanced stages of due diligence," he said.

The new fund will invest opportunistically in green and brown field sites, as well as existing assets that require extensive redevelopment.

The fund has already deployed most of the initial equity raised to a number of transactions in London and Paris, including an office building project in the City of London and a development site in the Paris region that has planning permission for an office complex.

The fund is advised at all stages through the entire development process by AXA Real Estate's dedicated local teams, from sourcing to deal execution.

While the fund will primarily continue to target acquisitions in Paris and London, it will also consider opportunities in other major European capital cities.