February 22, 2013 / 12:51 PM / 5 years ago

Morgan Stanley fund buys Moscow mall for $1.2 bln

MOSCOW, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing (MSREI) said one of its funds had bought the Metropolis shopping mall in northwest Moscow, in what it called Russia’s biggest commercial real estate deal.

Metropolis, which has a total size of 205,000 square metres, is one of Russia’s biggest shopping centres and was acquired from Capital Partners, a real estate developer, for a price of $1.2 billion, several sources told Reuters.

“The acquisition of the Metropolis shopping centre is the largest-ever transaction in the Russian commercial real estate market,” MSREI said in a statement. It did not disclose terms.

The deal comes as Russia enjoys a spending boom and its economy grows thanks to high commodity prices. MSREI said Metropolis was visited by around 55,000 people per day last year, making it one of the busiest in town.

“The acquisition is consistent with our strategy of investing in high quality assets in Russia, a market that should continue to benefit from strong growth in consumer demand,” Brian Niles, head of MSREI EMEA, said in the statement.

MSREI also owns Galeria Mall in the centre of St Petersburg, Russia’s second city. Last year, the Kommersant daily said that MSREI may buy Metropolis and a land plot near it for $1.9 billion, citing sources.

Moscow and St Petersburg are the most crowded and wealthy cities in Russia, accounting for around 12 percent of the country’s total population of around 143 million people.

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