TIAA-CREF has taken a 50% stake in a Spanish outlet mall scheme.

TH Real Estate bought the stake in Barcelona scheme, Viladecans The Style Outlets, for TIAA-CREF.

The holding was sold by Neinver, with which the US investor entered a joint venture in January.

TIAA-CREF and Neinver are targeting European outlet malls in the former’s first move into the outlet retail sub-sector. 

The partnership has this year acquired a 50% stake in The Style Outlets in Roppenheim, France, in addition to buying the Factory Outlet Annopol in Warsaw and a similar asset in Futura Park, Krakow.

Phase 1 of the Barcelona scheme is scheduled for completion next year.

Jamie Acheson, investment manager for European outlet malls at TH Real Estate, said Spain had undergone “considerable economic reforms” that put it in a good position to continue outperforming the euro-zone over the medium term.

“Madrid and Barcelona are leading the national recovery,” he said.

“This has been reflected in soaring liquidity levels in the retail investment market. Combined with a tight planning regime for retail space and highly favourable catchment income demographics, this scheme will deliver attractive returns.”

TIAA-CREF and Sweden’s AP1 and AP2 last month pooled their European real estate portfolios to create a €4bn joint venture.

The Swedish buffer funds are seeding the new entity with six properties managed by Cityhold Property, a wholly owned subsidiary of the two funds, while the US financial services provider will contribute nine properties currently part of its general account.

The €2.2bn portfolio, consisting of offices in London, Paris, Munich and Hamburg, will be renamed Cityhold Office Partnership and managed by TIAA-CREF subsidiary TH Real Estate. 

TIAA-CREF is taking a 50% stake in the portfolio, while the buffer funds will hold 25% each.