Bridges launches UrbanView, an impact-driven US real estate vehicle
- Bridges UrbanView will seek out U.S. real estate investments that can deliver attractive financial returns alongside positive social and environmental impact – a model proven by Bridges Ventures in the UK
- This debut U.S. vehicle is backed by two major strategic investors
- It has already completed its first deal, investing in a multi-family development in Atlanta, GA
Bridges Ventures (“Bridges”) announces the launch of a $25m real estate vehicle, Bridges UrbanView (“the Fund”). The Fund has already completed its first deal, investing in a mixed-income residential development in Atlanta, Georgia.
Bridges UrbanView will invest in U.S. real estate projects that can deliver superior risk-adjusted financial returns alongside measurable social and environmental impact, following a similar strategy to that employed by Bridges’ four vintages of property funds in the U.K.
Bridges UrbanView will seek out investments in urban areas that need revitalization, with a focus on building healthy neighborhoods and broadening access to economic opportunity. The Fund will typically work in partnership with local best-in-class developers, providing them with access to right-sized, impact-aligned capital. Sectors of interest include:
- Mixed-income and workforce housing
- Fresh food and other essential retail
- Manufacturing and maker space
- Small-medium enterprise office space
- Community and healthcare facilities
- Hotels promoting local hiring and growth
As its first investment, the Fund has committed c. $11m to finance Spoke, a project involving the construction of 224 new units of housing on the east side of Atlanta. The Spoke project will form part of a larger ‘transit-oriented development’ (TOD) that aims to transform an underutilized parking lot adjacent to the Edgewood/Candler Park MARTA train station into a vibrant, sustainable neighborhood – providing affordable and market-rate housing, community green space, and space for a local community organization that serves disadvantaged populations. The Fund is investing alongside joint venture partner Columbia Ventures, whose principals have developed 67 affordable and mixed-income residential, commercial, and mixed-use properties in the southeast since 1991.
Bridges UrbanView will be led by Rachel Diller, Partner & Head of U.S. Real Estate, with support from Bridges Impact+, Bridges’ existing U.S. impact measurement function. Rachel brings 20 years of real estate experience, most recently as Managing Director at Goldman Sachs’ Urban Investment Group, along with strong proprietary relationships and an active off-market deal pipeline.
Rachel Diller, Partner & Head of U.S. Real Estate, commented:
“The Bridges UrbanView fund is founded on the belief that applying built environment solutions can promote economic opportunity and sustainable communities, while filling a market funding gap and providing investors with attractive risk-adjusted returns. We are grateful for the support and expedience of our seed investors, whose faith in us serves as a validation of a model with significant growth potential. We believe the Spoke project in Atlanta will be an excellent illustration of our thesis.”
In order to capitalize on a number of time-sensitive opportunities and prove the investment thesis in a way that allows Bridges to build the business over time, this debut U.S. vehicle has been anchored by two strategic investors: Prudential Financial, Inc. and Ron Moelis.
Ron Moelis, said:
“Rachel and the team have a differentiated strategy, an excellent track record and access to proprietary dealflow – all of which we believe will help Bridges UrbanView achieve both strong returns and transformative community impact.”
Since its founding more than 140 years ago, Prudential has invested more than $471 million in cities across the country creating positive social change including economic, job and housing growth.
Lata Reddy, vice president, corporate social responsibility, Prudential Financial, Inc., said:
“Bridges UrbanView represents an opportunity for Prudential to continue its work as a thought leader and investor in recognizing the potential of cities as engines of change and opportunity. As we move toward our company’s $1 billion impact investment portfolio goal, we look to help the sector grow through innovative managers and investors such as Bridges.”
The launch of the U.S. property fund represents a significant strategic addition to Bridges’ existing business lines, which include the Sustainable Growth Funds, Property Funds, and Social Sector Funds in the U.K., the Sustainable Growth Fund in the U.S., and the global Bridges Impact+ advisory service. Bridges UrbanView aims to build on the success of Bridges’ property strategy in the U.K., where it is currently investing its fourth vintage fund.
Michele Giddens, Co-founder and Partner at Bridges Ventures, added:
“We are hugely excited to launch this new vehicle, which we believe is a perfect complement to our global platform of funds. We have shown in the U.K. that it is possible for real estate investment to deliver powerful social and environmental impact alongside attractive returns, and we look forward to proving this thesis in the U.S. too.”
Spoke photos available on request
NOTES TO EDITORS
About Bridges Ventures
Bridges Ventures LLP (“Bridges”) is a specialist fund manager focused exclusively on sustainable and impact investing – using commercial investment strategies to generate attractive financial returns alongside positive social and environmental impact. In the last 14 years, it has demonstrated that by using impact as a lens to identify and engage with investments, it is possible to deliver outstanding returns for investors and positive societal impact. The firm has now raised over $1bn across its Sustainable Growth, Property and Social Sector funds in the U.K. and the U.S.
About Prudential Financial, Inc.
Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE: PRU), a financial services leader with more than $1 trillion of assets under management as of September 30, 2016, has operations in the United States, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Prudential’s diverse and talented employees are committed to helping individual and institutional customers grow and protect their wealth through a variety of products and services, including life insurance, annuities, retirement-related services, mutual funds and investment management. In the U.S., Prudential’s iconic Rock symbol has stood for strength, stability, expertise and innovation for more than a century. For more information, please visit http://www.news.prudential.com.
 Prudential Financial, Inc. of the United States is not affiliated in any manner with Prudential plc, which is headquartered in the United Kingdom.