UNITED STATES - Teacher Retirement System of Texas has approved a $250m (€171.2m) commitment with Westbrook Partners' latest commingled fund.

A $150m commitment has been made into the Westbrook VIII commingled fund while a further $100m has been placed in a sidecar investment for co-investment possibilities on select transactions made by the fund, according to Rob Kochis, principal at Texas Teachers' real estate consultant The Townsend Group.

"We first believe in the management of Westbrook and we think that manager Paul Kazilionis and his team have done an excellent job in finding transactions for the company. This includes rolling up their sleeves and seeking deals in a select group of markets," said Kochis.

"We also like the strategy they are pursuing now, to focus on gateway cities around the world.  We believe that real estate in these locations will hold their value better in difficult economic times than assets in secondary markets. This is important with the re-pricing of assets that is going on in some markets around the world," he continued.

Some of the gateway cities are thought to be New York, Los Angeles, London and Tokyo, according to Kochis, who believes these markets are large, rich and deep with capital-seeking

"This is an important fact from an exit strategy perspective, when you are looking at selling assets down the road," he added.

Westbrook Partners has marketed Fund VIII as an opportunity fund with projected gross IRR returns are 20% over the long-term, by investing in non-traditional real estate of developments and re-development plays.

The real estate manager has itself made a $25m co-investment into the commingled fund and the total fundraising is predicted to be in the region of $2.5bn, while other investors in the commingled fund have included Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund and Pennsylvania State Employees Retirement System.