Former REIT execs launch $400m debut fund

LACERS committed $20m to the value-added, retail-focused vehicle from Asana Partners.

Three former executives at a real estate investment trust are marketing their debut value-added real estate fund, targeting $400 million, PDI sister title Private Equity Real Estate has reported.

Terry Brown, the former chief executive of EDENS, a private core-plus retail REIT, partnered with Jason Tompkins, the firm’s former chief financial officer, and Sam Judd, the former head of northeast US acquisitions, to found Asana Partners in August 2015. The Charlotte, North Carolina-based firm focuses on retail real estate investments in urban and infill neighborhood locations across the eastern and southern US, according to its website.

The Los Angeles City Employees’ Retirement System (LACERS) earmarked $20 million to Asana Partners Fund I through its emerging manager program, according to documents from the pension plan’s board meeting last week.

The firm, which declined to comment, is targeting a net internal rate of return of 11 percent to 13 percent, with a first close on $100 million to $120 million expected to occur on August 31, according to LACERS. Asana is investing up to $5 million in the fund, which has a $500 million hard cap.

The firm’s investment strategy focuses on street-level retail, much of which Asana considers to be undermanaged and not aggregated at scale.

LACERS noted that Asana’s 12-person team is avoiding some of the start-up problems that emerging managers typically face.

“The CEO has experience as a platform builder, the firm is adopting processes of EDENS, and the team has already established business relationships with third party services and lenders over the years at EDENS,” LACERS said in its meeting materials.

Asana’s only publicly disclosed transaction is the June purchase of 2408 South Boulevard in Charlotte (pictured). The firm bought the 20,300 square foot building that currently houses a large shoe store from a local developer for $6.2 million, according to real estate data provider Real Capital Analytics. The firm has about $195 million of equity investments in its pipeline, according to LACERS’ meeting materials.