EUROPE - Helical Bar and Thameling Group have joined forces to develop pre-let warehouse and distribution properties in central Europe.

The joint venture will focus on strategic sites in Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, with an initial spending capacity of approximately €50m and a view to selling completed assets to the open market.

Thameling Group will source and develop sites close to major road infrastructure hubs and airports, while Helical Bar will provide development finance alongside senior bank finance.

The announcement comes a week after Pramerica and Panattoni revealed plans for another joint venture targeting developments in the same markets, and suggests the region is again looking attractive for cross-border investors.

The latest joint venture will aim to take advantage of opportunities presented by the decline of land and construction costs in central Europe.

It will provide build-to-suit small and medium-sized units up to 10,000 square metres within park environments, together with larger standalone facilities.

Thameling Group was co-founded by Hans van Luijken and Piotr Michalski, former joint managing directors of Parkridge CE Developments and Prologis.

Over the past decade, they have developed, leased and delivered more than 1.3m square metres of warehouse and industrial accommodation and built a land bank of 680 hectares with a development potential of 2.7m square metres.

Van Luijken said: "Our track record of developing and investing in core industrial locations through Europe will be particularly valuable as the economy begins to improve.

"Helical Bar will play a decisive role in the growth of the joint venture, and we are confident we will be able to procure significant and value-creating development deals over the coming years."

London-based listed real estate company Helical Bar has invested in developments in Poland in the past through its retail joint venture Helical Poland.

Mike Slade, chief executive, said: "In a market starved of quality institutional product, now is the time to be working up major development opportunities that will deliver strong risk-adjusted returns to our shareholders."