ECE Real Estate Partners, the fund management company of ECE, has raised €500m in a first close for its European prime shopping centre fund.

The Hamburg-based firm said its Fund II had been committed to by European, Asian and North American pension funds and sovereign wealth funds, alongside the Otto family and ECE employees.

Existing Fund I investors also committed, ECE said, as well as a number of “new strategic partners”.

Total target volume for the Luxembourg-registered fund is €750m, which will give the fund a gross asset value of around €2bn.

The fund will focus on existing European shopping centres with value-add potential.

A final closing for the fund is planned for next year, with an investment period until 2018.

A first asset, the Zielone Arkady in the Polish city of Bydgoszcz, currently under development by ECE, has been secured for the fund.

The centre will enter the fund upon opening next year.

Ruediger Cornehl, managing director of ECE Real Estate Partners, said it continues to see excellent investment opportunities in its target markets including Germany, Austria, Poland and the Czech Republic, Scandinavia, Italy, Spain and Turkey.

The countries, he said, “offer a wide array of attractive value-add opportunities and can be realised through refurbishments, extensions or the optimisation of the branch and tenant mix”.