New York State Common Retirement Fund (NYSCRF) has hired Asana Partners to manage its first-ever retail-focused real estate separate account.

NYSCRF said it has committed $300m (€268m) to Asana Partners Select Retail Fund, which will make core and core-plus investments exclusively for the pension fund.

The $213bn pension fund told IPE Real Assets that the “Asana strategy identified very specific demographic trends that capitalise on the ongoing transformation of the retail industry, spurred on by the growth of e-commerce, into more of an experiential and destination-based dynamic”.

NYSCRF added that Asana’s targets would include “walkable neighbourhood centre and street retail assets”, as opposed to large regional shopping centres that are “becoming obsolete and less amenable” to the e-commerce dynamic.

Asana has full investment discretion, but NYSCRF will be involved in developing the pipline of acquisitions.

NYSCRF expects to generate a gross internal rate of return of 7% to 10, applying leverage of between 45% and 50%.

Asana Partners, which declined a request for comment, was set up in 2015 to invest exclusively in retail real estate in the US.

The company raised $800m for its second fund in April this year.