Teacher Retirement System of Texas has been revealed as the sole investor behind Equity International’s debut Asia fund.

Equity International, founded by US entrepreneur Sam Zell, announced today it had closed its first Asian-focused real estate fund with $205m (€182m) of commitments.

The Texas Teachers pension fund confirmed to IPE Real Estate that it is the sole third-party investor in ZEI Co-Invest 1 Fund, committing $200m to the vehicle. Equity International will co-invest the remaining $5m.

ZEI Co-Invest 1 Fund will itself co-invest alongside other investors in more than $2bn of Asian logistics assets to be developed by ESR, the company created through the merger of e-Shang and Redwood.

ESR, itself an affiliate of Equity International since the merger in January, is looking to raise $750m of additional third-party capital to be invested alongside ZEI Co-Invest 1 Fund.

A number of large institutional investors backed the creation of ESR, including Dutch pension fund managers APG and PGGM, as well as Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Asian fund manager PAG, and Morgan Stanley.

Earlier this year, PGGM committed $160m to a Chinese logistics strategy to be managed by ESR.

In July, Chinese insurer Ping An entered into a $300m joint venture with ESR to invest in Japanese logistics. 

It is understood that the new fund will also focus on Japanese logistics markets.

Equity International CEO Tom Heneghan said: “This is the first Asian-focused fund in our history. It reflects the opportunities we are seeing in the region’s logistics sector, particularly in Japanese warehouse assets.

“We are pleased to have a sophisticated institutional investor base that invests alongside EI in various vehicles to take advantage of specific marketplace opportunities, and we look forward to continuing to work with ESR to create a leading pan-Asian logistics platform.”

Charles de Portes, president and co-founder of ESR, said: “We are excited to broaden our relationship with Sam Zell and EI, which has been both a very positive one and a material catalyst for growth of our Asian logistics platform since our initial partnership in 2013.”

The commitment by Texas Teachers was part of $400m of new real estate commitments approved by the pension fund in August.

The pension fund also allocated $200m to the CBRE Global Investors’ latest US value-added real estate fund.

CBRE Strategic Partners US Value 8 will invest in office, apartment and hotel assets.

Texas Teachers has a long history of investing with CBRE Global Investors through its Strategic Partners series. The amount of capital invested since 2008 is now $750m, including the most recent commitment.