NORTH AMERICA – A new real estate fund by private equity giant KKR already has investor commitments of $500m (€377m), according to the firm's second-quarter financial statements.

KKR has also put up $300m from its own balance sheet into the fund.

Although fundraising is ongoing, KKR has made no secret of its ambitions in the real estate space.

It has been building a team since 2011 in both the US and Europe.

So far, it has completed 11 transactions valued together at around $70m, financed from its own balance sheet.

Nine of these have been in the US, across the spectrum of asset classes, and two are in Europe.

In June, the firm announced its latest European real estate deal: the acquisition of a portfolio of three retail parks in Glasgow, Sunderland and Oxford.

Known as the Tuscany Portfolio, the retail parks were sold by UK group Resolution Property, and KKR paid £112m (€128m).

Previously KKR, jointly with Goldman Sachs, acquired QMH, which operates hotels in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands.

The real estate fund will have a 25% allocation to Europe, according to a person familiar with strategy.

KKR was established in the US 35 years ago and has been in Europe for 15 years, focused on private equity and making two or three investments per year buying large private or public companies.

KKR intends to leverage its own brand in finding compelling deals, according to Ralph Rosenberg, the global head of KKR's real estate platform.

"We will use sourcing channels in KKR and information we have access to," he told IP Real Estate.

"A lot of industry verticals touch real estate, and we also have operating capability, including external relationships."

In its acquisitions, the firm is looking beyond major centres for strategic deals.

"We have looked at opportunities in New York or London, both development and value-add, but we have been priced out," said Rosenberg.