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Multi-Employer Property Trust to fund LO's Wizer Block project

$7.3 billion real estate equity fund's investors include 10 Northwest pension plans


KESSIMulti-Employer Property Trust (MEPT), a $7.3 billion real estate equity fund with assets in 25 major metropolitan markets across the U.S., has entered into a joint venture with PHK Development Inc. to develop the Wizer Block in downtown Lake Oswego, advisors for the trust announced Tuesday.

The $103 million project will be the first mixed-use development to be built in downtown Lake Oswego in more than 13 years. It will include 200 apartments, more than 40,000 square feet of commercial space and 430 parking spaces.

“We are very pleased to partner with PHK, a local firm with expertise in mixed-use developments, for this joint-venture project. For MEPT, this investment will contribute to fund performance and give MEPT exposure to one of the most desirable residential locations in the Portland metropolitan area,” said David Antonelli, executive vice president and MEPT portfolio manager at Bentall Kennedy, an investment management company. “Block 137 is aligned with the fund’s investment strategy, since it’s an investment in an attractive, urban center with a strong employer base, many amenities and a scarcity of rental options.”

PHK Development founder Patrick Kessi called the partnership — now officially known as Evergreen Block 137 Joint Venture LLC — with MEPT “ideal.”

“Our company builds for the long term, both economically and environmentally,” Kessi said. “Together, our team looks forward to a long and ongoing partnership not only with each other, but with the whole community of Lake Oswego.”

Founded in 1982, MEPT is owned by more than 320 institutional investors, including 10 pension plans in the Northwest. The open-end, commingled real estate equity fund invests in office buildings, warehouses, flex/research and development facilities, apartments and retail centers.

MEPT’s properties generally meet LEED green-building and Energy Star standards. (Block 137 is designed to achieve LEED Gold certification.) It also requires that all contractors working on its properties be covered by collective bargaining agreements with trade unions.

For more information about the fund, go to www.mept.com.