GLOBAL - TIAA-CREF has acquired a majority stake in one of Berlin's largest shopping centres in a joint venture with Germany's MFI.

MFI, a dedicated retail centre investor, last year all but confirmed that it was buying Gropius Passagen in Berlin for an estimated €340m through one of its closed real estate funds.

The site, acquired from the HFS Immobilienfonds Deutschland 11, was built in 1967 and showed great potential for development, according to MFI chair of the board Matthias Böning.

He cited the soon-to-be completed Berlin Brandenburg Airport - near the site of the existing Schönefeld Airport - as key to its development.

Aymeric Thibord, director of real estate investment at TIAA-CREF Asset Management UK, said Gropius Passagen reflected the scheme's ongoing strategy to develop a diversified real estate portfolio that included dominant shopping centres with large catchment areas.

"Gropius Passagen's robust tenant mix and track record and Germany's strong economic position within the euro-zone, when paired with TIAA-CREF and mfi's active management, will help create value for our clients over the long term," he added.

The deal marks TIAA-CREF's second partnership with MFI, which previously developed a centre in Erlangen with the scheme and follows on from its acquisition of the Pep Shopping Center in Munich.

Böning said further: "The acquisition of Berlin's biggest shopping centre forms a further milestone for the construction of our real estate portfolio, which next to project developments includes buying dominant German sites."

At the end of last year, TIAA-CREF had $18bn (€14bn) invested in real estate, accounting for just under 4% of its total $464bn in assets.