REAL ESTATE – The Norwegian ministry of defence is inviting tenders for the valuation of land and buildings across Norway amounting to 1.5m sq m – but investors are wary.
The assets include offices, forest storage facilities, shoreline torpedo batteries and fortresses. Some of the larger assets measure 5,000 to 6,000 sq m.
However, it would appear as though only the boldest and bravest property investors need apply.
Espen Klevmark, chief executive of Aberdeen Property Investors in Norway, said: “We are aware of the sell-off process but the assets don’t fit into any kind of core or even value-added portfolio. I think you would class them as opportunity or development assets and our clients are not currently in the market for such things.”
Klevmark admitted, however, that investors’ shopping lists do change and that he could become more active in the development arena by the end of the year. “I can’t say we’ll be buying any army sites though.”
He said that so far as far as he was aware, no plans had been forthcoming to turn Norwegian fortresses into hotels along the lines of Colditz in Germany.
This latest tranche of assets forms half of a 3m sq m sell-off which began about four years ago. It followed a severe rationalisation of the Norwegian army which decided to base itself at a few main geographical centres and concentrate on becoming a smaller force but with higher skills and greater mobility.
Vidar Alden Olsen works for an Oslo-based property agency reporting to the Norwegian ministry of defence. He said: “Our policy has been to firstly offer these assets to other state institutions, then to local and regional communities and then to private sector investors.
“The smaller assets tend to find local community buyers, the larger ones are attractive to property developers. So far we have not had any Norwegian pension fund customers but in the future who knows?”
Olsen said that the money raised by the sell-off is going directly to the army to invest in new equipment or facilities.