REAL ESTATE – The Tyne & Wear pension fund has tendered valuation services for its €450m commercial property portfolio.

The portfolio, currently managed by Arlington Property Investors, comprises 33 properties located across the UK.

The incumbent, Lambert Smith Hampton, declined to comment on whether it would pitch for renewal of its contract.

South Tyneside local authority, based in the northeast of England, has not yet decided on the criteria for selection, although Ian Bainbridge of South Tyneside Council said bidding firms would need to demonstrate that they can provide valuation services nationwide.

Tyneside will shortlist up to five candidates in around six months’ time. It is at this point that Tyneside will determine the criteria for selection, said Bainbridge.

“It’s a best-practice exercise – a routine part of managing the property portfolio,” he added.

Elsewhere, Crownstone European Properties, the Guernsey-listed closed-end property firm, has raised €425m with a private placement targeting institutional investors.

The proceeds will part-fund the acquisition of a €1.28bn initial portfolio comprising 22 commercial properties in France, Germany, Italy, Finland and the Netherlands. Crownstone’s strategy is to target “prime or near-prime” properties with investment-grade tenants in major European cities.

The firm also announced it has applied for listing on Euronext, the European exchange.

A spokeswoman for the firm said the choice of the Parisian bourse reflected the pan-European investor base.

And in other news Credit Suisse said Friday that its Real Estate Property Plus fund had exceeded its CHF230m (€147m) target.

The fund, created just over a year ago, is the first to invest primarily in projects that have gained planning permission but before construction begins.

“We’re looking at clearly defined, well situated projects in towns – but not necessarily in one sector,” said fund manager Jean-Claude Maissen.

Under Swiss law, real estate funds can only hold 20% in buildings under construction. Maissen said its current projects in progress – which make up 10%-15% of the portfolio – would be completed before a planned flotation of the fund within the next four years.

Three projects – a hotel and residential complex, an office block, and a retail and office complex – are scheduled for completion this year.