NORTH AMERICA – The State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB) has launched a joint venture with longstanding partner Essex Properties Trust to invest in apartment complexes on the West Coast in the US. 

The venture, WESCO III, received funding of $60m (€44.5m) in equity from both the $83bn SWIB and Essex. 

Each of the partners will own a 50% stake in any properties put into the JV, with the investment leveraged to $240m in total.

WESCO's third iteration will seek to buy apartment complexes in markets where Essex already has a presence – including Northern and Southern California and the metropolitan area of Seattle.

The fund has already acquired the 264-unit Haver Hill Apartments in the Californian city of Fullerton for $45.6m.

WESCO III represents the third joint venture between SWIB and Essex, to which the board has allocated nearly $300m in total.  

The first joint venture was launched in 2011, when the pension fund placed $150m into WESCO I, whose investment strategy was mirrored by WESCO III.

SWIB invested a further $87.5m to WESCO II, launched in 2012 to acquire the 3,221-unit Parkmerced Apartments complex in San Francisco.

In other news, the Teacher Retirement System of Texas has made an $87m commitment into the European Shopping Centre Fund's German-focused vehicle, overseen by CBRE Global Investors.

The real estate manager will use this capital to co-invest with other real estate investment opportunities it pursues, targeting existing retail properties in Germany that have value-added potential.

Texas Teachers has placed the investment within the value-add international developed segment of its real estate portfolio.