UNITED STATES - Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund is hoping to tap real estate opportunities as the market improves and made a $60m (€41.6m) allocation to the LaSalle US Property blind pool investment fund.

LaSalle is seen by the pension fund as a strong operator as it has worked with the firm in the past and when it invested in LaSalle Income and Growth Fund IV.  And that investment is now valued at $15.9m.

Ohio Police & Fire officials feel it makes more sense to invest in core funds which are seen as a safer bet in troubled economic times, so have opted to invest in the blind pool designed to grab investment opportunities as they occur in 2010.

The US Property Fund is a open-ended core commingled fund designed to put $1.65bn to work before any additional capital is raised.

LaSalle and its affiliates will invest $25m of its own capital into the commingled fund set to buy existing well-leased US office, industrial, retail properties as well as residential property.

Ohio Police & Fire is in a position to invest in real estate in 2010 as the pension fund valued its real estate portfolio at $662m at the end of November - amounting to 6.46% of its $10.2bn of total plan assets when its targeted real estate allocation is 12%.

That said, it could be several years before the pension fund reaches its targeted allocation as any decisions will be dependent on whether officials at the fund and its consultant, The Townshend Group, find the deals offered compelling.