Virginia Retirement System and LaSalle Investment Management have launched a $575m joint venture to build US industrial properties.

The pension fund told IP Real Estate it was committing $200m in equity to the LaSalle VA Industrial JV.

The partnership will develop industrial warehouses in select US markets. Virginia would not comment on which markets the venture would focus on.

LaSalle said it would focus on opportunities to develop and lease large, modern distribution buildings in major population centres with strong transportation infrastructure.

LaSalle recently announced it had been awarded a mandate from a large US public pension fund, an existing client.

Jason Kern, chief executive of Americas at LaSalle, said end-user demand for industrial real estate is “very strong”, driven by growing GDP and global trade, as well as the need for “modern buildings part of an efficient supply chain”.

According to the firm’s research and strategy team, the availability rate for industrial supply has dropped 2.2% since the end of 2012 and 4.2% since 2010. LaSalle is forecasting annual rental growth of 3%. Internet retailing and larger multinational retailers’ focus on improving supply-chain efficiencies are also improving demand.

Virginia has existing exposure to industrial real estate, with 15.6% of its private real estate portfolio invested in the sector at June this year.

Real assets are now valued at $6.5bn or 10.5% of the pension fund’s $65bn total investment portfolio.