04/06/2012 | by
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Hines Global REIT is moving into Poland with the acquisition of four logistics facilities.

The facilities, located in Warsaw, Wroclaw and Upper Silesia, were purchased from ProLogis European Properties for $130.8 million, and consist of 10 properties totaling nearly 2 million square feet. Hines was attracted to Poland because it has characteristics similar to many emerging markets and "excellent long-term prospects," according to Charles Hazen, president and CEO of Hines Global REIT.

"It outperformed other European economies in the Great Recession and was the only European economy to generate positive GDP growth in 2009," he told REIT.com. Hazen added that Poland has the additional benefit of being a member of the European Union, which provides a common legal system and more transparency for investors.

Poland is also a prime location for the logistics sector due to the country's location in central Europe, according to Hazen. Poland offers low labor costs and rents as well, Hazen said

Entering new markets, especially international and emerging markets, always presents challenges, according to Hazen. However, Hines has had an office in Poland since 1997. Hazen said Hines' experience in the country should help mitigate possible risks.

Looking ahead, the company plans to acquire more projects in well-performing markets and continue expanding globally.

"In addition to Poland, some of the other international markets we are currently considering for Hines Global REIT are France, Germany, Australia and Brazil, as well as additional investments in the United Kingdom and Russia," Hazen said.

The newly acquired facilities, formerly known as ProLogis Parks, will be rebranded as "Distribution Parks." The branding strategy mirrors one that Hines deployed in Brazil when it purchased a portfolio of 13 logistics facilities.

"Hines has had a very successful logistics development and acquisition program in Brazil for many years," explained Hazen. "We plan to expand that marketing and property management program to these projects in Poland."

Houston-based Hines Global REIT is a public, non-listed real estate investment trust sponsored by international real estate firm Hines.