GLOBAL - Virginia Retirement System has approved a $150m (€113.8m) commitment to the CIM VI Urban REIT Fund. Pension fund officials stated that this commitment will be funded over the next four and a half years.

The CIM Group is the real estate manager CIM VI, a commingled fund that the company is still raising.  It has a private REIT structure.

Virginia has placed its investment in CIM VI into the enhanced core sector of its real estate portfolio. Part of the reason behind the investment is that the pension fund has an established relationship with the real estate manager.  In 2006, it made a $50m allocation to CIM Urban REIT.

The investment strategy for the new commingled fund is to invest in already operating properties.  These assets would be in places like established and/or repositioned urban areas.

CIM has set a limit on the size of the equity put into a single transaction at $450m.

The real estate manager invests in properties in the US.  Much of its activity is located in major markets around the country such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Las Vegas and Dallas. It invests in a variety of property types including office, retail, hotel, residential and mixed-use.

Virginia has a real estate portfolio valued at $3.1bn, as at December 7th, out of a total portfolio of $51.9bn.

Virginia has a unique real estate investment strategy: it's one of the few large pension funds in the US that doesn't have a targeted allocation for real estate. Therefore it can invest in real estate as and when there is a compelling investment opportunity.