MARK, formerly known as Meyer Bergman, has raised €550m of equity for its new pan-European last-mile logistics platform Crossbay.

Investors represented by The Townsend Group, CBRE Global Investment Partners, Nuveen, Credit Suisse Asset Management and QInvest are funding the expansion of the platform which is led by former Logicor professional Marco Riva and has a focus on single-tenant distribution centres.

MARK, which was traditionally known for focusing exclusively on retail real estate, has in recent years been expanding into other sectors.

Crossbay is the latest platform to be launched to target a specific opportunity within a certain sector or geography. Previous examples include high-end retail platform VIA Outlets and residential development platform Meyer Homes.

MARK said the latest capital raising would enable Crossbay to expand in key geographies in France, Germany and the Benelux region.

The platform is targeting up to €1.5bn in gross asset value, having already secured over €500m in assets under management.

Crossbay’s current tenant base includes a mix of third-party logistics providers, including FedEx and DHL, and e-commerce brands such as Amazon.

Marcus Meijer, CEO of MARK, said: “By investing in creating a branded platform, and focusing on a specific niche within the increasingly competitive last-mile logistics sector, we have managed to secure interest from leading investors across the globe despite the pandemic.

“Our focus going forward will be to maintain the current pace of acquisitions to build a portfolio of sufficient size and scale.

“Looking ahead, we see further opportunities within logistics real estate and will be looking to grow our exposure to this asset class, which has clear long-term growth drivers that are underpinned by the mega-trends of urbanisation and technological change.”

Riva, head of Crossbay and logistics at MARK, said: “Urban logistics was already attracting the interest of institutional investors before COVID-19, with consumers increasingly shopping online thanks to improvements to smartphone and mobile internet technology.

“However, small lot sizes had made the urban logistics sector difficult to access for institutional investors, who typically want scale, which is why we created Crossbay. Our strategy has been vindicated by the successful capital raise from a geographically diverse, high profile investor base that will support our growth in key target geographies.”

The Townsend Group is the anchor investor in the new capital raising, committing capital on behalf of its ‘special situations’ business which focuses on co-investments, joint ventures, recapitalisations and secondary-market investments.

CBRE Global Investment Partners, the multi-manager arm of CBRE Global Investors, is also investing on behalf of a special situations strategy.

It was not disclosed how the other parties were funding their commitments. Nuveen is the asset management arm of US financial services group TIAA, Credit Suisse Asset Management runs direct and indirect real estate businesses and QInvest is a subsidiary of Qatar Islamic Bank.

Jan van Bakel, head of transactions for continental Europe at CBRE Global Investment Partners, said: “Last-mile logistics is one of our preferred investment themes, based on increased e-commerce demand, which is further fuelled by the COVID-19 impact, and restricted supply due to land scarcity in the largest European urban areas.

“To access this strategy in scale, with like-minded investors and a significant seed portfolio already in place, provides for a special investment opportunity. We look forward to collaborating with MARK and our partners to build out the Crossbay platform.”

Sven Schaltegger, head of the multi-manager real estate platform at Credit Suisse Asset Management, said: “The investment in Crossbay allows us to add another strategic partnership to our platform and is an unique fit for our urban logistics strategy that we are pursuing across a range of products and accounts.

”This investment also highlights our conviction in the structural shift towards e-commerce, that has been further accelerated by COVID-19, and the strong growth prospects for granular last mile assets.”