Sonar Real Estate boosts AUM to EUR 3.3 bn and achieves a transaction volume of EUR 370 million in 2023
Hamburg, 14 February 2024
Sonar Real Estate GmbH (Sonar) succeeded in boosting the volume of its assets under management to EUR 3.3 bn in 2023, a 10% increase on the previous year. The firm also facilitated transactions with a total volume of EUR 370 million for its joint-venture partners and clients in 2023. These included around EUR 352 million of acquisitions and EUR 18 million of sales. The largest single transaction was advising an Anglo-Saxon client on the purchase of a logistics portfolio with properties in 18 German locations, including Frankfurt, München, Stuttgart, Köln, Duisburg, Dresden, and Troisdorf. Reflecting this positive trend, Sonar’s staff numbers across the company’s five offices grew from 44 to 51 in the same period.
The purchase of an existing office campus at Zielstattstrasse 42, 44 and 48 in Munich is an example of one major acquisition in 2023. The property consists of three buildings, constructed between 2001 and 2004, on a site of around 7,900 sq m. It provides a total lettable area of approximately 21,000 sq m. The anchor tenant is the Japanese pharmaceutical group Daiichi Sankyo. This was one of the year’s largest transactions in the Munich office investment market.
A mixed-use project in Stuttgart-Vaihingen, for the real estate special fund (SIS) of the Stuttgart Insurance Group, was completed by the vendor and freehold ownership was transferred. The property is fully let on a long-term lease and, with the acquisition of "the niu Kettle" hotel operated by NOVUM Hospitality, it represents the fund's first investment in the hotel sector. Sonar Development also began construction of a hotel, to be operated under Deutsche Hospitality’s "Zleep" brand. The building was topped-out in November 2023, with completion slated for the end of 2024.
Sonar took over the asset management team and the client instructions of the Berlin-based CILIX Asset Management GmbH during last year. This also involved the integration of a property management unit. Since then, Sonar is able to offer commercial property management services for selected asset management instructions.
Sonar was instructed by a number of different investors to let five properties, with a total lettable area of around 115,000 square metres and including some 31,300 square metres of vacant space. The company also concluded or agreed extensions to leases on approximately 95,300 square metres of accommodation. The largest new letting was on 21,250 square metres in a logistics property in Fritzlar, Hesse, to a Volkswagen subsidiary. Sonar acted in its capacity as asset manager of the property, which belongs to the portfolio of a fund managed by Tristan Capital Partners (Tristan). During 2023, investments totalling EUR 55.5 million were made for a variety of works in the areas of revitalisation, tenant improvements and maintenance.
Sonar also acquired a stake in Substnz Real Estate Debt (Substnz), which has offices in Hamburg, Frankfurt and London. The company is actively supporting Substnz in sourcing and underwriting loan transactions. In the current phase, this service is primarily focused on Anglo-Saxon investors wanting to invest in the real estate debt segment in the German market and therefore requiring an experienced local partner.
Sonar, with partners, launched the RE.START initiative and is bundling its activities in the areas of non-performing loans and workout. In collaboration with companies in other disciplines, lenders are supported in the necessary restructuring of financing and assets/projects as well as in the identification of new investors.
Christoph Wittkop, Managing Partner and CEO of Sonar, comments: “Although 2023 was dogged by a high degree of uncertainty in pricing and a paucity of transactions, it nevertheless threw up some early opportunities, of which we cautiously took advantage. From an organisational perspective, for example, we have used the past few months to further progress the digitalisation of our workflows and our property-specific ESG strategies. We have also developed a robust sustainability strategy that will serve as a guide for future corporate decisions.
“Taken as a whole, we consider ourselves well positioned to identify and realise opportunities in the event of an expected market recovery or in 'special situations'. This applies in particular to the value-add segment, in which there will be significant demand for our technical asset management and development skills. What's more, we are convinced that German and international investors will switch their investment and asset managers, so we see further potential for ourselves here."
Sonar Development and Four Points celebrate topping-out the "Zleep" hotel in Kelsterbach, near Frankfurt am Main
Frankfurt, 24 November 2023
After only six months of construction work, Sonar Development (sonar) and Four Points Development have held the topping-out ceremony of their new hotel in Kelsterbach. Sixty guests attended the festive occasion, including Manfred Ockel, the Mayor of Kelsterbach, Sonar Managing Director Christoph Wittkop representing the developer and owner Four Points Development. Sabrina Lode, Director Openings & Integrations at Deutsche Hospitality, the future lessee of the "Zleep" brand hotel, also attended. The architecture was designed by the Hamburg-based office PSP. In autumnal temperatures, Matthias Beier from the general contractor Kassecker gave the ceremonial topping-out speech, to applause from all present.
The hotel in Fujiallee, Kelsterbach, on the south-western outskirts of Frankfurt am Main, is slated for completion by the end of 2024. When finished it will have 175 rooms. In its central location in the Frankfurt-Rhine-Main metropolitan region and with its modern concept, the hotel is targeted at trade fair guests as well as business and leisure travellers.
"We are delighted with the rapid progress of construction and the excellent collaboration with our general contractor Kassecker. The corona phase led to an unavoidable delay in starting the project but we are now very pleased that we began the development with the initiator, Four Points Development, rather than giving up. We took advantage of the additional time to optimise the plans, in close cooperation with the lessee, comments Christoph Wittkop
Dennis Spitra from Sonar Development adds: "Our objective is to hand over the new hotel to the future operator, Deutsche Hospitality, in accordance with the contract and in compliance with the highest quality standards, thereby contributing to the expansion of the new 'Zleep' brand in Germany."
So far, the shell and core of the ground and building services floors, plus the first five floors of hotel rooms, have been completed. This involved pouring around 3,500 cubic metres of concrete and fabricating some 460 tonnes of steel. The windows are currently being installed. Roofing work will shortly begin, ensuring that the building is weatherproof before the winter. Interior fit-out is scheduled to begin in December.
"Zleep" is Deutsche Hospitality’s budget brand. Alongside their Danish design and efficient digital services, they feature high-quality, ecological materials and practical comfort. So far, the brand also operates in Denmark, Sweden and Spain.
Sonar acquires Munich office building from Global Gate Capital as part of a joint venture
Frankfurt/London, 2nd November 2023
Sonar Real Estate (“Sonar”) has secured an office property in Munich in a joint venture with a global institutional investor. The seller, Global Gate Capital (“GGC”), is an international investment firm that invests across alternative asset classes and public markets. The purchase price remains confidential.
The contemporary property, comprising three buildings constructed between 2001 and 2004, is located at Zielstattstraße 42, 44, and 48 in the burgeoning district of Obersendling in the Bavarian capital. It has a total floor area of c. 21,000 sq m.
The anchor tenant is Daiichi Sankyo, a Japanese pharmaceutical group, with the current occupancy rate at around 90 percent. The property, situated on a plot of c. 7,900 square meters, includes 258 car parking spaces and is connected to Munich's city center via suburban train (S-Bahn) and subway.
Rudy Sayegh, CEO of GGC, commented: “Our strategy focuses on creating long-term value for our international client base. The successful sale of our Munich office building is a superb validation of our ability to locate attractive office properties and implement our business plans, even under challenging market conditions. Germany has been central to our real estate investment strategy and will remain so for the foreseeable future.”
Christoph Wittkop, CEO and Managing Partner of Sonar, continued: “Especially in this environment and despite the uncertainties, we see increasingly good opportunities for attractive acquisitions on the German office market. The general situation is challenging - but the deals are getting more interesting from our point of view. We have the experience and capacity to leverage value even in this environment. The transaction also shows that we have established ourselves as a local partner for national and international investors in Germany due to our know-how and our close network.”
Maximilian Link, Head of Germany Real Estate at GGC, added: “Following the sale of the ‘Westend Carree’ office building in Frankfurt in 2020, this is the second successful exit from our office portfolio in Germany, evidencing the transactional strength of our teams and our robust local network. We are delighted with the sale to Sonar Real Estate, one of the leading institutional partners in Germany. We remain confident in the German market and will continue to invest capital across various sectors, actively pursuing value.”
Holger Hosang, Managing Partner and Co-Head Transaction & Asset Management at Sonar, says: “The acquisition of this prime property in Munich aligns perfectly with our strategy of investing in high-quality real estate with strong anchor tenants and value increase potential.”
Sonar's transaction was advised by Ashurst on legal matters, and DK Real Estate on technical issues. CBRE and Agradblue assisted in commercial and ESG due diligence, respectively. Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP acted legally for GGC, while Altavis handled the transaction's tax aspects and Drees & Sommer were involved in technical matters. Cushman & Wakefield served as the brokerage firm.
Sonar Real Estate partners with MeteoViva to decarbonise "THE SQUAIRE" in Frankfurt
Frankfurt/Jülich, 5 September 2023
Sonar Real Estate, the asset manager of "THE SQUAIRE", situated directly on Frankfurt Airport, is now working closely with MeteoViva Deutschland, a provider of smart data solutions. The aim of the partnership is to further reduce the CO2 emissions and energy consumption of Germany's largest mixed-use commercial property.
MeteoViva had previously carried out a detailed feasibility study to examine the operation of the building services technology for potential savings. Based on its conclusions, at least 400 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually, i.e. 14% of the current emissions, can be averted. What's more, improved energy use could save around 20% of energy costs.
In order to put this into practice, "MeteoViva Climate" technology is now in operation. Based on smart data and the use of a thermodynamic model, heating, air-conditioning and ventilation performance is being coordinated, in order to create the required indoor climate in each individual area of the building. This means that "THE SQUAIRE" is predictively controlled. MeteoViva Climate is manufacturer-independent and can be connected to the existing automation system via a data interface. It works across technologies, can be implemented while the building is in operation and adapts to changes in the building and technical developments.
Holger Hosang, Managing Partner and Co-Head Transaction and Asset Management at Sonar, explains: "Through environmentally conscious asset management of the properties we manage, we are making an important contribution to advancing the transformation of the real estate industry towards more sustainability. Naturally this also applies to 'THE SQUAIRE'. To this end, we are always on the lookout for suitable partners who can successfully implement our ambitious decarbonisation strategy. The feasibility study shows that, with its proposed solutions, MeteoViva can support us efficiently".
"THE SQUAIRE", with its total lettable area of around 140,000 square metres, ranks as the largest commercial property in Germany. It houses offices, shops, hotels and event venues, all areas with different functions and spatial-climatic requirements. The 660-metre-long, up to 65-metre-wide and 45-metre-high building is almost completely enclosed by glazed façades that create additional energy challenges.
"The MeteoViva Climate model is ideally suited to properties with such a high degree of complexity," explains Uwe Grossmann, Managing Director of MeteoViva. "This fully-automated solution for optimising building operations is already being used in over 250 properties worldwide, including large office buildings, shopping centres and airports. Its implementation in 'THE SQUAIRE' once again underlines our role as a market-leading provider of intelligent data in building control", continues Grossmann.
Sonar Real Estate Leases 21,250 square meters of space to Volkswagen OTL
Frankfurt, 22 August 2023
Sonar Real Estate has agreed a long-term lease to Volkswagen Original Teile Logistik GmbH & Co. KG Development GmbH of a logistics property, totalling approximately 21,250 sq m, in Fritzlar, Hesse. Sonar acted as the asset manager for the property, which is part of the portfolio of the EPISO 5 fund managed by Tristan Capital Partners.
The property located at Giessener Straße 81 and is well connected to the German national road network through its proximity to the B 450 federal highway and the A 49 motorway. Approximately 95 percent of the 21,250 sq m property is allocated to storage and logistics space, and 5 percent to offices. The facility was built in 1976 and sits on a spacious plot of approximately 43,000 sq m. The property has undergone multiple modernisations and renovations, most recently this year, in line with the requirements of the new tenant.
Holger Hosang, one of the managing directors at Sonar, commented, "This deal confirms that through active asset management, even in a challenging market environment, large-scale leases are possible. It requires understanding the tenants' needs and the expertise to revitalise existing properties and reintroduce them to the market, as we have done in Fritzlar. Additionally regional networking is crucial to stay in tune with market dynamics. It is through this approach that we have been able to attract a renowned tenant like Volkswagen Original Teile Logistik and achieve success for the fund and its investors."
The EPSIO 5 fund advised by Tristan received legal advice from Ashurst LLP and technical guidance from Theil Concept during the contract negotiations. Logivest acted as the brokerage firm representing the property owners.
Sonar acquires office and hotel property in Stuttgart for SIS special fund
Frankfurt, 17 August 2023
Sonar Real Estate GmbH, in its capacity as asset manager of the Stuttgarter Immobilien-Spezialfonds (SIS) of the Stuttgarter Versicherungsgruppe, has acquired a mixed-use property in Stuttgart-Vaihingenfrom a project company of Weisenburger Projekt GmbH. The property is fully let on a long-term basis. The parties have agreed not to disclose the purchase price.
Matthias Gerloff, Managing Partner Fund Management & Investment Solutions at Sonar Real Estate, said: "With this property, we are strengthening the diversification of the portfolio through the SIS Fund's first investment in the hotel segment. In addition, by securing this project in Vaihingen at an early stage in the purchase agreement, the fund will able to benefit from the significant upgrading of this booming and fast-growing district of Stuttgart.”
The acquisition of the completed property at Kupferstrasse 1-11 was made as a project development under a forward deal. The lettable space is approximately 12,000 sq m, of which approximately 4,000 sq m is in the office part of the property. This space is occupied by the accountancy and tax consultancy firm HWS.
The second part of the building complex is a 198 bedrooms hotel "the niu Kettle" by NOVUM Hospitality. An underground car park provides parking for 85 cars.
GSK Stockmann and Masterplan advised the buyer on legal and technical matters. The seller was advised by VOELKER & Partner.
The SIS Fund, launched by Institutional Investment Partners for the Stuttgarter Insurance Group, invests primarily in office and retail properties throughout Europe. Sonar is exclusively responsible for the acquisition and management of German properties.
Sonar achieves full letting of the "Hedderich Quartier" in Frankfurt
Frankfurt, 18 July 2023
Sonar Real Estate has completed the letting of the Hedderich Quartier in Frankfurt am Main. The property, situated at Hedderichstrasse 51-61, is part of the portfolio of the Stuttgart Insurance Group’s Stuttgart Real Estate Special Fund (SIS). Sonar is the asset manager of the property.
Sozietät Peterschik & Kollegen and Gunzelmann & Coll. Sachsenhäuser Steuerkanzlei have taken the last remaining vacant space in the complex. The legal and tax firms have taken a joint long-term lease on approximately 280 square metres of offices. JLL provided advisory services to the property owner during the leasing process.
The "Hedderich Quartier", built during the Wilhelminian period, was extended in 2000. The original sections dating from 1884 (street numbers 55-57 and 61/61a), are listed buildings. The complex provides a total lettable area of some 4,900 square metres, principally office and surgery space. Other tenants include Capitell Vermögens-Management, Heim Honermeier Beratungsgesellschaft, Oberberg Tagesklinik und Brand International. The complex also incorporates three residential units and a kindergarten.
The SIS fund, launched by Institutional Investment Partners for the Stuttgarter Insurance Group, primarily invests in office, logistics, retail and hotel properties throughout Europe. Sonar Real Estate is exclusively responsible for acquisition and management of the properties in Germany. JLL advised the owner on the letting.
Sonar Development building "Zleep" brand hotel in Kelsterbach near Frankfurt am Main for Deutsche Hospitality
Frankfurt, 10 May 2023
Sonar Development GmbH, an affiliated company of Sonar Real Estate GmbH, has been appointed to construct a new hotel in Kelsterbach with Deutsche Hospitality as long-term tenant by Four Points Development.
The new 175-room hotel on Fujiallee, in the south-western outskirts of Frankfurt am Main, will include 90 parking spaces. On completion, slated for the beginning of 2025, it will operate under Deutsche Hospitality's budget "Zleep Hotels" brand. Zleep Hotels highlight Danish design and efficient digital services, coupled with the use of high-quality, ecological materials and practical comfort. “We are delighted to be bringing Zleep Hotels to the Frankfurt-Rhine-Main metropolitan region,” comments Frida Hansen, Vice President Development of Deutsche Hospitality. "We have two reliable companies, Four Points Development GmbH and their partner Sonar Development, working with us to realise this project and to drive the rollout of the 'Zleep' brand in Germany."
"We will do whatever it takes to ensure that the project is completed on schedule, while maintaining highest quality standards. We are very grateful to Deutsche Hospitality for the confidence they have placed in us and we are optimistic about our first collaboration," continues Dennis Spitra, Director Development at Sonar Development and responsible for managing the project.
"We are confident that the 'Zleep' brand will be successful in this location, not least because we are convinced that the hotel market will continue to gain momentum during the construction of the new hotel near Frankfurt," adds Steffen Wittwer, Managing Director at Sonar Development.
In a central location in the Frankfurt-Rhine-Main metropolitan region and with its contemporary concept, the hotel will cater for business travellers and trade fair attendees as well as tourists. What’s more, Kelsterbach is an important location for logistics service providers and chemical production.
So far, Deutsche Hospitality's "Zleep Hotels" brand has been operating in Denmark, Sweden and Spain. Further hotel openings are to follow, this year in Prague and next year in Lausanne, Berlin and Zurich.
Sonar Real Estate gains letting instructions for five office assets in Düsseldorf and Ratingen
Hamburg, 13 March 2023
Sonar Real Estate (Sonar), the investment and asset manager active across Germany, has received instructions for the letting management of five high-profile office properties in and around Düsseldorf. The clients are three different owners. One of Sonar's key tasks is to identify potential tenants and to find occupiers for the space still available in each property.
The largest individual instruction, in Medienhafen Düsseldorf, concerns the new office buildings "ALTO Medienhafen" and "LARGO Medienhafen", together with the neighbouring "FLOAT" property designed by the internationally famous architect Renzo Piano. The three properties, completed between 2019 and 2021, are part of the IMMOFINANZ portfolio. They provide a combined total lettable area of 88,000 sq m of exceptionally high quality accommodation.
Sonar has also been appointed to handle letting management of the "Seasar Office", in the Seestern office submarket. This recently refurbished property, originally dating from 1985, is part of a fund advised by an internationally-active investment manager. 7,000 sq m of the total 13,000 sq m of space is currently still available.
The third instruction, for the "Square" building, completed in 2022 in the "Schwarzbach Quartier" office district of Ratingen-Ost, comes from ARA Europe Private Markets. According to plans by HPP Architekten, during the next few years a total gross floor area of 99,500 sq m is to be constructed in this new development area. 17,700 sq m of the total floor area of 19,000 sq m in the "Square" is currently occupied, and, in 2023, Sonar has already secured a new major tenant, NGK, for 5,600 sq m of the property.
Sonar Real Estate takes over Berlin asset management team
Hamburg, 9 March 2023
In a planned corporate succession, Sonar Real Estate GmbH (Sonar) has taken over the asset management team and the instructions managed by the Berlin-based CILIX Asset Management GmbH (CILIX). The company was founded by managing partner Dr Alan Cadmus in 2016 after ending his 18-year service on the board of the formerly listed Polis AG.
Dr Cadmus will continue to be available as a consultant to the Sonar Group and will oversee the integration of the team and the implementation of the new instructions by Sonar. He will be a member of the planned advisory board for Sonar Real Estate & Sonar Development. Holger Schwarz, co-managing director and partner of CILIX, is also joining the Sonar team.
As a consequence, the volume of Sonar's assets under management rises to over EUR 3.3 billion, while the number of properties under management increases to 142, and Sonar's Berlin office, headed by Nick Puschkasch, expands to include CILIX's five-strong team. The team will manage the integration of the instructions into the Sonar Group, ensuring the smooth continuation of the asset management. CILIX's clients are an Austrian foundation and a German family office and the portfolio includes office properties in Frankfurt, Hamburg and Berlin, plus a portfolio of apartment buildings.
In addition to investment consulting, CILIX's range of services include traditional asset management and property management services. Sonar will continue these services and, in the future, will offer property management services for selected instructions.
Nick Puschkasch, Managing Director of Sonar Real Estate and Co-Head Transaction and Asset Management, comments: "Our new colleagues will further strengthen Sonar’s presence in the German capital. Developing additional long-term instructions and broadening our range of services are important for Sonar's growth, particularly in an uncertain market environment."
Christoph Wittkop, Managing Director and CEO of Sonar Real Estate adds: "The opportunity to acquire CILIX's asset management business is a good example of focused growth in our assets under management and of gaining a complementary client base, while strengthening the staff structure. A small, well-established property management unit expands our capabilities for offering asset and property management from a single source in suitable instances."
Dr Alan Cadmus adds: "I am pleased to have found, in Sonar, a capable partner for the successful continuation of the CILIX business, to ensure the high quality of service and personal support for our long-standing clients. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our former staff members for their lengthy and loyal commitment. I am confident that they will maintain their successful activities in the new organisation with undiminished enthusiasm. I am very happy to continue to advise the Sonar Group."
Sonar was advised on the contract negotiations by the Frankfurt branch of FPS Fritze Wicke Seelig Partnerschaftsgesellschaft von Rechtsanwälte mbB. HauckSchuchardt Partnerschaft von Steuerberatern und Rechtsanwälten mbB provided advice on tax matters.
Sonar Real Estate increases assets under management by 20% in 2022
Hamburg, 23 February 2023
Sonar Real Estate GmbH (Sonar) succeeded in expanding the volume of its assets under management to EUR 3.0 bn in 2022, an increase of 20%. In response to this positive trend, staff numbers in the company’s five offices grew from 34 to a total of 44 in the same period.
During 2022, Sonar facilitated seven major transactions, with a total volume of EUR 444 million, for its joint-venture partners and clients. These included around EUR 176 million of acquisitions and EUR 268 million of sales. The largest single deal was the sale of parts of a logistics portfolio from the holding of a private equity client.
Another major transaction was the acquisition of “PRISMA” in Frankfurt in a joint venture, with a vehicle advised by Patron Capital Advisers. The planning phase for the repositioning of the property has now been largely completed and work on the ESG-compliant modernisation of the 42,450 square metre lettable area is to start soon.
Sonar also received new asset management instructions for five office properties, with a total lettable area of around 150,000 square metres, from different investors. Some of the properties are in major need of re-reletting and repositioning.
During 2022, Sonar concluded leases on around 76,600 square metres of letteable area (2021: 55,300 square metres). and a total of EUR 26.9 million was invested into revitalisation, tenant improvements and maintenance.
2022 was marked by Further strategic decisions made by Sonar in 2022 included founding its affiliated company, Sonar Development GmbH, headed by Steffen Wittwer. As well as its own projects, the new company is entering into joint ventures with German and foreign institutional investors and family offices. Projects include undertaking new developments, revitalisation projects and, increasingly important, redensification of existing buildings.
One of the first projects implemented by Sonar Development involves extensions to "LAN 131", in Landsberger Allee, Berlin. Sonar acquired the property, which provided 13,000 square metres of lettable area, in iia joint venture with Angelo Gordon at the beginning of 2022. It plans to construct a new six-storey building, with a gross floor area of around 3,200 square metres, on the 5,900 square metre site. In addition, in Spring 2023, work is to begin on the construction of a new 175-room hotel building in the Rhine-Main region.
In order to further optimise and digitalise processes, both in the managed properties and internally, 2022 saw Sonar finalise cooperation agreements with various PropTech companies, including assetbird and Evana.
Last year also saw energy-saving and CO₂-emission-avoiding solutions, from Westbridge Advisory and DABBEL - Automation Intelligence, being integrated into Sonar’s workflow. A further innovation in 2022was the installation of MeteoViva's smart data building control system in “THE SQUAIRE”, Frankfurt, while in a Düsseldorf property, aedifion's cloud platform is helping to reduce energy consumption and CO₂ emissions.
During past year, Sonar joined the German Corporate Energy Efficiency Initiative "DENEFF" and its practice forum "Immo2.Zero" which has the objective of reducing CO₂ emissions in the building sector.
"2022 was marked by geopolitical events that have not been without impact on the real estate industry. It was clear to us that the low interest rates and low inflation were not going to persist. But we did not anticipate the momentum that has now been triggered. Although the resulting adjustment phase is painful, it still presents opportunities. In this respect, we were not too unsettled by the situation. Rather, we are motivated to focus even more intensively on the existing portfolio and to take the initiative, in order to position ourselves appropriately for this new era in transaction and asset management. Particularly in the areas of ESG and digitalisation, we took decisive steps to position and future-proof ourselves as a company and the properties we manage, including THE SQUAIRE on Frankfurt Airport, last year. The focus of the asset classes is still on the office sector, although investments in the logistics and light industrial sectors are being significantly expanded. We also want to make the most of selected opportunities in the retail and hotel sectors," comments Christoph Wittkop, Managing Director and CEO of Sonar.
Holger Hosang, Managing Director and Co-Head Transaction and Asset Management, adds: "As difficult as the current situation might be, due to inflation, persistently high energy costs and uncertainty in pricing, it also offers numerous opportunities for active investors - primarily in the value-add sector. I'm sure we will be able to identify and take advantage of interesting opportunities in the coming months. We also expect to see an increase in the interchange of investment and asset managers between German and international investors, which also creates potential for us."
Sonar Real Estate is appointed asset manager for the "GRIDD" in Düsseldorf
Hamburg, 16 February 2023
Sonar Real Estate (“Sonar”) has been appointed by an international investor to carry out the asset management of the "GRIDD" office building in Düsseldorf. The instruction includes letting management and Sonar has already notched up its first success with the extension of Helaba’s lease on around 8,000 square metres within the property.
Originally built in 1997 as the headquarters of IKB Deutsche Industriebank, "GRIDD" is situated at Uerdinger Str. 88-92, in a prime location in Düsseldorf, directly adjacent to Kennedydamm. The six-storey building, standing on a site of around 25,000 square metres and provides a lettable area of about 58,000 square metres of office space. As well as IKB Deutsche Industriebank and Helaba, occupiers include LKA and Colt.
Julian Kaup, Managing Director and Co-Head Transaction & Asset Management at Sonar, comments on the plans: “We intend to continue the existing multi-tenant strategy. In the coming months, we will create new impetus and increase the attractiveness and sustainability of 'GRIDD' in the long term through targeted investments that take ESG criteria into account. For example, to further increase its attractiveness and accessibility, it is planned to create a new forecourt to the building . Ecologically sound works that have a positive influence on ancillary costs will also be implemented. I am confident that this will increase the value of the property and attract new tenants."
Sonar Real Estate lets space in the Giesing Business Center, Munich, to Mediadesign Academy for Continuing Education and Training
Hamburg, 31 January 2023
Sonar Real Estate, acting as the asset manager of a Luxembourg-based fund, has let around 830 square metres of office and training space in the "Giesing Business Center", Munich. The property, at Pilgersheimer Strasse 38 / Kühbachstrasse 11, is now almost fully let.
The new occupier of around 830 square metres in the property is the Mediadesign Akademie für Fort- und Weiterbildung gGmbH, a private technical college that is a subsidiary of the Mediadesign Hochschule für Design und Informatik GmbH. Students benefit from the close ties the Mediadesign University has with the media market, with 25 years of experience and more than 40,000 graduates.
Holger Hosang, managing director of Sonar Real Estate, comments: "We are delighted to welcome the Mediadesign Akademie für Fort- und Weiterbildung as a new long-term tenant, further enhancing the already high quality of the tenant mix in the property. The proximity to Munich city centre and good transport links via the nearby 'Kolumbusplatz' and 'Candidplatz' underground stations were particularly important considerations for the letting. I anticipate that the property will be fully let by the end of Q1, providing an optimal cash flow for the fund investors."
The Giesing Business Center was built in 1957, extended in 1990 and extensively refurbished in 2010/11. It provides a total lettable area of around 5,700 square metres, about 70% of which is office space, with 20% retail and around 10% of surgery accommodation. The tenants include Aldi, a dm-market, Socotec and Heinrich Bossert Immobilien. Currently, only 830 square metres of training space on the first floor of the four-storey building is available.
PPR & PARTNER Pape Rauh Rechtsanwälte PartG mbB advised Sonar Real Estate on the letting. Cushman & Wakefield brokered the deal.
Sonar Real Estate attracts Fitseveneleven gym and others to "THE SQUAIRE" Frankfurt and lets around 5,600 square metres of space
Hamburg/Frankfurt, 18 January 2023
Sonar Real Estate (Sonar) is continuing its strategy of consistent expansion of the tenant mix in “THE SQUAIRE”, the landmark property on Frankfurt Airport, with the latest letting to Fitseveneleven, currently the most successful fitness brand in the Rhine-Main region. On completion of the necessary reconfiguration work, fitness enthusiasts will be able to enjoy the ultramodern 7/11 gym, of around 530 square metres, offering cardio, strength and personal training, in.
Sonar was advised on the deal by FPS Partnerschaftsgesellschaft von Rechtsanwälten mbB and Fitseveneleven by BNP Paribas Real Estate.
The letting is one of a series of that Sonar has concluded since taking over the operational asset management of THE SQUAIRE in mid-2021. They also include the lease of around 550 square metres of office space to the YES-EU Group, through PROKS Real Estate and Schier Real Estate. The future-oriented company is involved in green transport solutions, including high-performance electric buses, charging devices and energy storage systems.
To further improve the services in Germany's largest commercial property, Sonar has introduced a new concierge service for occupiers, guests and the travelling public has been set up in Atrium West, to address requests, concerns and handle minor problems. The staff of the RAS Service Group are at hand from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday to Friday to organise business travel, receive mail and parcels, coordinate the delivery of goods, arrange for a taxi or to find an appropriate craftsman. The services can be accessed and reserved via an app, which also enables all those working in "THE SQUAIRE" to network with each other and exchange the latest company news.
Also new to "THE SQUAIRE" and dedicated to customer service is the FraAlliance. The new joint venture, founded by Lufthansa and Fraport, is committed to further advancing business development, customer experience, infrastructure, intermodality and sustainability at Frankfurt Airport. Travellers are already benefiting from this, as with the help of the Lufthansa app, they can receive real-time information about the current waiting times at the aviation security checkpoints, enabling them to optimise their journey planning. PROKS Real Estate and Schier Real Estate advised Sonar on the letting of around 350 square metres of office space to the company.
In addition to the new leases, Sonar has also negotiated an extension of the lease to Atos Germany. The company will continue to occupy around 4,100 square metres of office space in the landmark property on Frankfurt Airport on a long-term basis.
Holger Hosang, managing director of Sonar, said: "The successes show that our proactive, hands-on asset management is bearing fruit. Alongside our service and rental teams, this has been facilitated by the creation and maintenance of our social media presence by Targa Communications and new branding, including a new logo and accompanying strapline 'Where the world connects', by Saentys. This reflects the internationality of the location, bringing together businesses, people travelling, Frankfurt residents and guests. We will certainly build on this in the coming months. The objective is to establish 'THE SQUAIRE' even more strongly as a conference and meeting venue and, with the support of the Jazzunique agency, as a Frankfurt event location,".
Sonar is also planning to remodel the spacious atrium areas, to further improve the ambience in "THE SQUAIRE". The integration of further services and an increase in the number of e-charging points in the car park are also planned.
The 660-metre-long, up to 65-metre-wide and 45-metre-high property, built in 2011, constitutes a micro-city on the airport. Alongside offices, restaurants, cafés, leisure areas and food shops, it also integrates upmarket retail facilities. The tenants include Hilton Hotels, KPMG, Michelin, Rewe, Artur D. Little and Porsche Consulting.
The property is connected by a walkway to Terminal 1 of Frankfurt Airport and is situated directly above an ICE high-speed train station. What's more, it is located between the A3 motorway and the parallel B43 federal road, near to the Frankfurter Kreuz interchange.
Sonar Real Estate lets office space in "Giesing Business Center", Munich
Hamburg, 20 September 2022
Sonar Real Estate, acting in its capacity as asset manager of a Luxembourg-based fund, has let around 1,520 sq m of office space in the Giesing Business Center in Munich.
The new occupier of the property, situated at Pilgersheimer 38 / Kühbachstr.11, is SOCOTEC Deutschland Holding GmbH. Through its companies CANZLER, SCHOLLENBERGER Kampfmittelbergung and ZPP INGENIEURE, the German SOCOTEC Group provides a comprehensive range of architectural, engineering and technical services that optimise the value chain in the field of construction.
The Giesing Business Center was built in 1958, extended in 1990 and extensively refurbished in 2010/11. It has a total lettable area of around 5,700 sq m. About 70% of this is office space, with 20% retail and around 10% of surgery accommodation. Other occupiers of the building include Aldi, a dm drugstore and Heinrich Bossert Immobilien, an additional user from the real estate environment. Traditionally, the tenant mix is supplemented by companies from the education sector. The property is currently approx. 90% let.
Holger Hosang, Managing Director of Sonar Real Estate, comments: "The long-term lease to SOCOTEC Germany even further improves the quality of the tenant mix in the Giesing Business Center. The property benefits from its proximity to Munich city centre and the good transport links via the 'Kolumbusplatz' and 'Candidplatz' underground stations, both of which are only a few minutes away. In the neighbourhood itself and in the immediate vicinity there is also a range of retail and café/restaurant facilities. This is why I am convinced that there will very soon be new occupiers for the remaining space in the Kühbachstrasse 1 section of the building."
PPR & PARTNER Pape Rauh Rechtsanwälte PartG mbB advised Sonar Real Estate on the letting. The technical consultants were Probst Architekten.
Alexander Brüning joins Sonar Real Estate as Director Institutional Sales & Business Development
Hamburg, 12 September 2022
Sonar Real Estate GmbH (Sonar) is expanding its team with the recruitment of Alexander Brüning (48) as Director Institutional Sales & Business Development. Based in Hamburg, Brüning is to reinforce the area of investment solutions for institutional investors, with immediate effect. Together with Matthias Gerloff, the Managing Partner responsible for Sonar’s Fund Management & Investment Solutions division, he will further expand this area of business.
In his newly-created position, Alexander Brüning will be accountable for advising and supporting, and growing,the existing network of German institutional investors. The focus is on raising equity capital for a variety of real estate investment vehicles, including pooled funds, individual instructions and ‘club’ deals. Additionally, Brüning will help shape future product innovations and develop the associated marketing strategies. Sonar currently manages various individual client instructions in special fund structures, with over EUR 800 million of assets under management. Expansion of the pooled fund offer is also planned.
Alexander Brüning has more than ten years’ experience in the field of institutional investors, as well as in transaction and fund management. He joins Sonar from Catella Residential Investment Management, where he was responsible for the fund management of pan-European special funds and for the acquisition of institutional investors
Mathias Gerloff, Managing Partner of Sonar, comments: "I am delighted that we have gained Alexander Brüning, a proven specialist in handling real estate instructions for German institutional investors from the insurance, superannuation scheme and pension fund sectors. This will further strengthen our company and drive forward our plans for the development of new investment products. His robust investor network and expertise in launching and placing funds - and approaching investors - will particularly aid us in this.
Christoph Wittkop, Managing Partner and CEO, adds: "As a team, we have been serving our German institutional investor clients for more than ten years. Nevertheless, the majority of our assets under management are instructions from Anglo-Saxon investors pursuing core-plus, value-add and opportunistic strategies. Aided by Alexander Brüning, we want to increase our focus on attracting more German investors."
Sonar Real Estate agrees lease extension on 4,100 square metre unit in "THE SQUAIRE", Frankfurt
Hamburg/Frankfurt, 29 June 2022
Sonar Real Estate GmbH, an owner-managed real estate company in the areas of investment, asset management and development, acting as asset manager, has successfully negotiated a long-term extension of a lease in ‘THE SQUAIRE’.
The tenant, Atos Information Technology GmbH has extended its lease on a long-term basis. It will continue to occupy around 4,100 square metres of office space in the landmark property on Frankfurt Airport. Other tenants of the 660-metre-long, up to 65-metre-wide and 45-metre-high property include Hilton Hotels, KPMG, Michelin, Rewe, Artur D. Little and Porsche Consulting. The property is currently 85% let.
FPS Attorneys at Law provided legal support to the lessor in the negotiations. JLL advised the tenant on the lease extension.
Holger Hosang, Managing Partner at Sonar, comments: " ‘THE SQUAIRE’ is one of the best-known commercial properties in Germany, providing a total lettable area of around 143,000 square metres, arranged over eleven floors. The transaction with Atos Information Technology to continue as a tenant underlines not only the high quality working environment provided by 'THE SQUAIRE’ but also the value of such a prestige property for the businesses that are based in the magnificent building.
“We are currently undertaking an intensive process of optimising the tenant mix of the property that will expand the existing spectrum of cafes and restaurants, leisure facilities, retail space and offices. This will further increase the attractiveness of 'THE SQUAIRE' as a destination for business and leisure, and some related lease negotiations with potential tenants are already at an advanced stage."
As part of the planned improvements, Sonar is looking to remodel the spacious atrium areas within "THE SQUAIRE", in order to improve the ambience for occupiers and visitors. There are also plans to integrate new services for the companies occupying the property and to increase the number of e-charging points on the site.
"Our aim is to establish 'THE SQUAIRE' as a premier conference and seminar venue. The range of cultural events for Frankfurt residents and visitors will also increase significantly," promises Holger Hosang.
Sonar Real Estate has been instructed by the owner, an internationally active investor, to carry out the operational asset management of "THE SQUAIRE". The property is a very sophisticated micro-city within Frankfurt, integrating not just offices but also restaurants, cafés and food stores, as well as high-end shops. The property, connected by a walkway to Terminal 1 of Frankfurt Airport, is situated directly above an ICE high-speed train station and is located between the A3 motorway and the parallel B43 federal road, near to the Frankfurter Kreuz motorway intersection.
Sonar Real Estate lets 2,450 square metres of office space in ‘Upper Sendling’, Munich
Hamburg, 17 May 2022
Sonar Real Estate, in its function as asset manager of the SIS Stuttgart real estate special fund, has concluded a long-term letting of around 2,450 square metres in the "Upper Sendling" office building in Munich. The new occupier is a health insurance company.
The property, which was built in 2001, is situated at Aidenbachstrasse 54-56 in the south of Munich, the Bavarian capital. The latest letting brings the occupancy rate up to 96%. Knight Frank acted as brokerage consultant.
Holger Hosang, Managing Director of Sonar Real Estate, comments: "The Sendling submarket continues to increase in importance. By attracting a statutory health insurance company, we are contributing to the enhancement of the attractiveness of the district. The customer centre and its services that are planned here will further improve the quality of life of the local residents. This is consistent with our integrated ESG strategy, which of course includes taking into account the social impact of our actions."
‘Upper Sendling’ stands on an around 4,400 square metre site and provides a total lettable area of around 10,850 square metres. The property has a two-level underground car park with 153 spaces. It benefits from good public transport connections via a stop on U-Bahn Line 3, directly in front of the building. There is easy access to the A95 motorway via the adjoining Boschetsrieder Strasse.
Sonar Real Estate founds development company
Hamburg, 12 May 2022
Sonar Real Estate GmbH, the owner-managed real estate company in the areas of investment, asset management and development, has strengthened its development division with the founding of Sonar Development GmbH, a new company under the leadership of Daniel Jäde and Steffen Wittwer.
In addition to undertaking its own projects and acting as an internal development partner for Sonar Real Estate, the company will primarily participate in joint ventures with German and foreign investors and Family Offices, to realise new development and revitalisation projects.
Explaining the objectives of the new business. Christoph Wittkop, managing director of Sonar Real Estate said: “From the outset, having the competence to realise even major construction projects in-house has been one of the cornerstones of our business model. By founding a separate company for these activities, we are accentuating the importance of this area to us, as well as responding to the already mounting demand for this type of service.
“The need for refurbishment and compliance with ESG standards is becoming increasingly apparent in more than a few existing properties. What's more, for our clients pursuing a value-add or opportunistic approach, we can offer concerted expertise and dependable quality in the implementation of their projects," he added.
Advances in digitalisation, new expectations in terms of work-life balance and sustainability, as well as changing user needs, particularly in terms of housing and shopping, mean that many classic property concepts will have to be rethought, while new asset classes will gain in importance in the future. Sonar Development is seeking out new trends and opportunities, taking advantage of the organisational structure already in existence at Sonar Real Estate for the implementation of the projects. This also ensures that development projects across Germany can be managed directly, by local staff.
One of the first projects that Sonar Development will be facilitating as the development partner of Sonar Real Estate is the revitalisation of "Prisma", the currently-vacant landmark office building in Frankfurt. Sonar Real Estate has recently acquired the property, at Hahnstrasse 55, in a joint venture with a fund advised by Patron Capital Advisers. The objective is to modernise the building, which has a lettable area of 42,450 square metres, with a focus on sustainability.
Sonar Development will also construct the extensions to "LAN 131", in Berlin’s Landsberger Allee, which has a has a lettable area of around 13,000 square metres. In addition to the existing buildings, Sonar Real Estate and its joint venture partner Angelo Gordon plan to construct a new six-storey building, with a gross floor area of around 3,200 square metres, on the 5,900 square metre site. Planning consent has been granted and completion is scheduled for the third quarter of 2023.
Also in Berlin, Sonar Development will take on the work of extensive reconfiguration and addition of extra storeys to the former Vattenfall energy company headquarters, at Chausseestrasse 23. Sonar Real Estate, on behalf of an international real estate fund it manages Credit Suisse Asset Management, has concluded the lease of 21,500 square metres of office space in the building to the Institute for Federal Real Estate (BImA). A Federal Ministry is set to move into the building in the first half of 2024.
In addition to Daniel Jäde and Steffen Wittwer, Sonar Development’s team also includes staff from Sonar Real Estate. While Daniel Jäde is a managing partner and co-founder of Sonar Real Estate, Steffen Wittwer has joined from ECE Work & Live GmbH & Co. KG, where, for many years, he served as project director in the development division.
"As well as the projects already underway and new development opportunities, the assets managed by Sonar Real Estate feature a number of larger property developments that we would like to manage and implement in the framework of portfolio instructions. Our objective is to be a partner that can cover the entire value-added chain of a development or revitalisation project. I am looking forward to the task of building up Sonar Development GmbH in this business area together with the extended team.," said Daniel Jäde.
"We are also anticipating a great deal of future activity in the field of ESG-compliant rehabilitation of so-called ‘stranded assets’. Here, too, I would like to contribute my many years of experience in the project development sector and am looking forward to the new challenges that await me in my role.," added Steffen Wittwer, explaining his motivation for assuming a leading role in the expansion of development at Sonar Real Estate from Hamburg.
Patron and Sonar Real Estate acquire Prisma office building in Frankfurt from Commerz Real
London/Hamburg, 4 April 2022
Patron Capital, the pan-European investor focused on property-backed investments, and its joint-venture partner Sonar Real Estate have acquired Prisma, a landmark office building at Hahnstrasse 55 in Frankfurt, Germany, for an undisclosed sum. The vendor is the closed-end fund CFB 134 of Commerz Real, asset and investment manager of German Commerzbank.
Sonar will be responsible for the asset management and proposed repositioning of the building, which was built in 2001 and is currently vacant. Following design and planning phases, the 457,000 sq ft (42,450 sq m) space will be comprehensively renovated with a focus on sustainability and air quality through technical upgrades, including a new HVAC system. Incorporating the latest technology, the scheme will provide future tenants with state-of-the-art office space to meet and exceed their increasingly stringent requirements.
The ground-floor areas, including an impressive lobby with glazed atrium, will become public spaces, incorporating F&B and fitness amenities to reflect the ongoing transformation of Frankfurt’s Lyoner Quartier district from an area that was once purely an office location into a vibrant mixed-use destination.
Christoph Ignaczak, Senior Partner at Patron Capital, said: “This project represents an exciting opportunity to create a state-of-the-art, attractive office property as well as a vibrant destination within a part of Frankfurt that has seen significant development and diversification in recent years. We are pleased to be working with Sonar to implement an ESG-focused management strategy from day one, and are confident that our concept will be well received by future tenants.”
Holger Hosang, Managing Partner of Sonar Real Estate, said: “Observing and implementing ESG criteria in development and refurbishment projects has become part of our corporate philosophy. Through our in-house expertise, we focus not only on environmental aspects, but also on the social impact of our projects. Given its striking architecture and significant size, Prisma is a particularly exciting project in an excellent micro-location within the Lyoner Quartier. Our aim will be to preserve the property’s landmark status for future tenants, while developing it into a modern and ESG-compliant building.”
Patron Capital and Sonar received legal advice from Ashurst LLP, tax advice from Noerr and technical advice from Witte Projektmanagement. The vendor was represented by Colliers as exclusive sell-side advisor and received legal advice from Taylor Wessing.
HSBC provided debt financing for the purchase; Patron received debt advice from Laurus Property Partners and a valuation report for this purpose was carried out by BNP Paribas Real Estate.
Christina Diehl becomes Director Asset Management at Sonar Real Estate
Hamburg, 1 March 2022
Sonar Real Estate GmbH has reinforced its Frankfurt team with the appointment of Christina Diehl as Director Asset Management.
Reporting directly to Managing Director Holger Hosang, head of Sonar Real Estate's Central-South Region, she primarily assumes responsibility for "THE SQUAIRE" at Frankfurt Airport, which is managed by the company.
Diehl has been active in the real estate business for over 20 years and joins Sonar Real Estate from Curzon Advisers GmbH, where she was Director Asset Management Germany, Sweden, Netherlands, Luxembourg. Earlier in her career she worked for GE Capital Real Estate, Imoplan Immobilien- Verwaltungsgesellschaft mbH and CRE Resolution.
Holger Hosang, Managing Director of Sonar Real Estate, comments: "We are delighted to have gained Christina Diehl as an experienced member of staff with international expertise. This is particularly valuable for us: our company has clients from all parts of Europe. With her expertise, she will certainly be able to provide our - now six-strong - Frankfurt team with excellent support.”
Sonar Real Estate and Angelo Gordon buy multi-tenant property in Berlin-Lichtenberg from WALTER Beteiligungen und Immobilien AG
Hamburg, 2 February 2022
Sonar Real Estate and Angelo Gordon have acquired a multi-tenant property in Berlin-Lichtenberg as their first joint venture project. The vendor is WALTER Beteiligungen und Immobilien AG, which refurbished the asset between 2018 and 2021 for circa 7 million euros and optimised the tenant structure. The parties have agreed not to disclose the purchase price.
The asset with the name "LAN 131" is situated at Oderbruchstrasse 10,12,14 / Landsberger Allee 131 A–C and is characterized by outstanding public transport connections, with tram and bus in front of the asset as well as ‘Landsberger Allee’ S-Bahn station in only four minutes walking distance, providing access to Berlin’s S-Bahn ring. The property offers a total of 13,000 square metres lettable area, 200 parking, 125 bicycle spaces and is 96% let with a weighted average unexpired lease term (WALT) of approx. 5.4 years. Office tenants benefit from a mix of F&B, retail as well as a gym on the ground floor.
In addition to the existing buildings, the joint venture partners plan to construct a new six-storey building, for which a building permit is in-place, providing around 3,200 square metres of gross floor area, which shall complete in Q3-2023. The partners plan to create a new internal courtyard as a significant benefit to tenants.
Marcel Hertig, Director at Angelo Gordon: “We are pleased to welcome Sonar Real Estate as a partner of Angelo Gordon as we continue to accelerate our ambitions in the German real estate market with our latest acquisition in Berlin. Sonar has an excellent reputation in the market, and we are grateful to have established what we expect will be a successful relationship with another operating partner active across Germany. Together with Sonar, we look forward to unlocking the value of this property’s existing and new buildings, with a focus on elements that will positively impact the local environment and the well-being of its’ tenants.”
Nick Puschkasch, Managing Partner at Sonar Real Estate: “We are delighted to be collaborating with Angelo Gordon as a well-respected partner for this investment. Together, we will leverage the value-add potential of the property, which is in one of Berlin's up-and-coming commercial submarkets. The opportunity to increase the density of the site fits particularly well with Sonar Real Estate’s strategy, with its strong focus on development activities.”
Jürgen Kolper, board member of WALTER Beteiligungen und Immobilien AG: “With Sonar Real Estate and Angelo Gordon, we have found experienced experts who will continue to successfully implement our value add strategy. After extensively refurbishing the property, optimising the tenant structure and obtaining planning permission for an extension to the office complex, we have laid the foundations for further optimisation of the property.”
REIUS. - Partners for Real Estate, E&Y, emproc Bauprojektmanagement, GuD Geotechnik und Dynamik Consult GmbH, Witte Projektmanagement GmbH and Graft Gesellschaft von Architekten acted as consultants to Sonar Real Estate and Angelo Gordon. JLL facilitated the transaction for the vendor and GrothmannGeiser Rechtsanwälte and the Sonntag law firm provided legal and tax advice.
Sonar Real Estate doubles assets under management to EUR 2.5 bn in 2021
Hamburg, 27 January 2022
Sonar Real Estate GmbH (Sonar), an owner-managed real estate company for investment and asset management as well as development, has increased its assets under management by 108%, from EUR 1.2 bn to EUR 2.5 bn in the first twelve months since its spin-off from Barings. Factors behind the increase included receiving instructions for the asset management of the “SQUAIRE” in Frankfurt, Germany’s largest office property.
Over the last year, Sonar facilitated three major transactions, with a total transaction volume of EUR 1.1 bn, for its partners and clients. They included around EUR 927 mn of acquisitions and EUR 200 mn of sales.
In July 2021, this resulted in the firm taking over the asset management of the Summit portfolio for the "EPISO 5" fund, advised by Tristan Capital. For this purpose, Sonar founded a joint venture with Rockspire GmbH and DW Real Estate GmbH, to manage the properties that provide a total of around 630,000 square metres of lettable commercial space.
Sonar also concluded leases on around 55,300 square metres of space within the properties it manages. New lettings accounted for 37,000 square metres of this total, with lease extensions making up 18,300 square metres. The largest single letting was the lease of 21,500 square metres of office space in Berlin Mitte to BImA Institute for Federal Real Estate.
Sonar has also implemented CapEx, T.I. and refurbishment works with a volume of EUR 14.8 mn in the properties it has under management.
The extraordinarily rapid growth of the company is reflected in its increased number of staff. By the end of 2021, 34 people, exactly twice as many as twelve months earlier, were employed in Sonar’s five offices across Germany.
Christoph Wittkop, Managing Director/CEO of Sonar, comments: "Our first year was extraordinarily successful. The spirit and the trustful cohesion of our dynamic team are excellent. This is an important success factor in accomplishing growth in our day-to-day work. This year, we expect a continued upward trend in the number of instructions managed, notwithstanding that the market situation for opportunity-oriented investments with value creation potential remains challenging. We will further strengthen our position in the area of development/revitalisation. We aim to grow further in this area. In addition, we are considering expanding the asset classes in which we are active."
Credit Suisse and Sonar let office space to the Institute for Federal Real Estate in Berlin
Hamburg, 16 December 2021
Credit Suisse Asset Management, with the support of Sonar Real Estate, has signed an exclusive agreement with the Institute for Federal Real Estate (BImA) on the letting of 21,500 sq m of office space in Berlin-Mitte. The Federal Ministry will occupy the building, at Chausseestrasse 23 once extensive works, including an additional storey, have been undertaken. Earlier, the property served as the headquarters of the Vattenfall energy group.
The owner of the office building at Chausseestrasse 23 in Berlin-Mitte is an international real estate fund managed by Credit Suisse Asset Management. Centrally situated near the Naturkundemuseum U-Bahn station, it has good public transport connections by tram and bus, together with mainline services at the nearby central railway station. The Sonar Real Estate team has managed the property as local asset manager for multiple years, with several changes of ownership. Until recently, the seven-storey building served as the headquarters of the Vattenfall energy group in Berlin.
The lease, agreed by the BImA on behalf of a Federal Ministry, runs for a 15-year term. The Ministry will take occupation of the building, as sole tenant, in the first half of 2024. As soon as planning permission has been granted, Credit Suisse Asset Management, supported by Sonar Real Estate, is planning extensive reconfiguration works, including adding an additional storey. This will significantly increase the value of the property and adapt it to the needs of the new tenant.
Jean Pascal Grevsmühl, Head Real Estate Asset Management EMEA at Credit Suisse: "We are delighted to have secured BImA as a long-term tenant of this unique property in a prime location in Berlin-Mitte. This transaction endorses our strategy of mainly investing in high-quality and centrally located office properties in the major cities in Germany, in addition to logistics properties.″
Nick Puschkasch, Managing Partner of Sonar Real Estate: "The successful re-letting of the building demonstrates that, even in a more difficult market environment, charismatic properties in strategically interesting locations are an excellent investment, particularly in the federal capital. The prerequisites for this are a team with an excellent market network, like ours at Sonar, creativity and, of course, a property with modern fit-out.″
BNP Paribas Real Estate brokered the letting and CMS provided legal advice to the landlord.
Sonar Real Estate lets around 2,000 square metres in ‘Upper Sendling’, Munich
Hamburg, 3 November 2021
Sonar Real Estate GmbH, an owner-managed real estate company for investment & asset management and development projects, has let 1,920 square metres of space in the "Upper Sendling" office building in Munich, acting in its function as asset manager for an institutional investor.
The new tenant at the property, at Aidenbachstrasse 54-56 in the south of the Bavarian capital, is a modern mobility service provider. Savills acted as brokerage consultant.
Constructed in 2001, the Upper Sendling property stands on an around 4,400 square metre site and provides a total lettable area of around 10,850 square metres. The property has a two-level underground car park, with 153 car spaces.
The property has excellent public transport connections provided by the Aidenbachstrasse station, on the U3 underground line, directly outside the building. There is also easy access to the A95 motorway via the adjoining Boschetsrieder Strasse.
Sonar and Savills advise Artmax with market entry in Germany and acquisition of an office property near Kurfürstendamm
Berlin, 5 October 2021
Sonar Real Estate GmbH (“Sonar”), an owner-managed real estate company for investment and asset management, as well as development, acting in its function as investment manager has advised Artmax AB (Artmax) in the acquisition of an office property in Berlin. Artmax property is part of a privately owned investment company and is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden. This acquisition also marks the entry into the German market of company. Sonar is to take over the asset management of the property for Artmax.
The vendor is Nicolas Berggruen Holdings GmbH. The purchase price is in the mid double-digit million Euro bracket.
The property is the former Löbbecke bank, at Fasanenstrasse 77, just around the corner from Kurfürstendamm. The building provides a lettable area of c. 5,400 square metres that is fully let, mainly to lawyers, notaries and tax consultants, as well as an eye clinic.
"By acquiring Fasanenstrasse 77 we have succeeded in laying the foundation for our activities in one of Europe’s most promising office markets. The proximity to Kurfürstendamm provides a prestigious location for the tenants and, for us as investors, a wide range of potential for adding value," comments Kristoffer Ultenius, Managing Director of Artmax.
“The acquisition of this high-quality property in a prime location as well as the cooperation with Artmax is another important step in the development of Sonar and therefore we are pleased about the successful closing", adds Nick Puschkasch, Managing Partner of Sonar.
JLL, Pöllath + Partners and gfp Enders Projektmanagement exclusively advised the vendor side. Savills, Herbert Smith Freehills, and Drees & Sommer acted as consultants to the purchaser.
Sonar Real Estate, DW Real Estate, and Rockspire found an asset management joint venture for the Summit portfolio
Hamburg, Munich, Berlin, 16 August 2021
A joint venture, newly founded by Sonar Real Estate GmbH, DW Real Estate GmbH and Rockspire GmbH, has been mandated by Tristan Capital Partners (Tristan) to manage the Summit portfolio. The companies involved had already worked together with the "EPISO 5" fund, which was advised by Tristan, during the due diligence and the purchase of the total of 69 commercial properties, and were involved as co-investors.
The diversified portfolio, which is spread throughout Germany, comprises a total lettable area of around 631,000 square metres. Around 60% of this is office space, with 30% of warehouse and industrial usage. The remaining 10% is made up of retail centres and mixed-use properties.
The properties are located in attractive locations in and around Germany's top seven cities, as well as in ‘B’ locations or submarkets featuring low vacancy rates and stable demand from highly liquid German and international investors.
The properties, which have a diversified and robust use profile, are let to over 300 tenants from commercially stable sectors. The portfolio provides significant value-add opportunities, including the potential to develop residential, office and industrial properties in markets where Tristan Capital Partners and the three partners already have a successful track record.
Christoph Wittkop from Sonar Real Estate comments on behalf of the joint venture: “This was a rare opportunity to acquire a diverse mixture of attractive assets in the main regions in Germany which require local asset management. Given the number of assets the idea of setting up an asset management joint venture of experienced local partner to advise the Tristan opportunity fund was born already during acquisition and due diligence phase. The joint venture of DW, Rockspire and Sonar will take over the asset management and sales activities with their local teams. We are looking forward to the implementation of the business plan, and to the well-rehearsed cooperation with the Tristan team, especially with newest addition Oliver Kunze, who will be responsible for this portfolio.”
Sonar Real Estate takes over asset management for "The Squaire" at Frankfurt Airport
Hamburg/Frankfurt, 20 May 2021
Sonar Real Estate GmbH, an owner-managed real estate company for investment and asset management as well as project developments, has been entrusted with the operational management of Frankfurt's landmark property "The Squaire" at Frankfurt Airport.
Christoph Wittkop, CEO of Sonar Real Estate, comments: "‘The Squaire’ is one of the most iconic commercial properties in Germany. To be entrusted with the operational management of this unique complex is a particularly important task - especially now that the Corona pandemic is presenting the real estate industry with special challenges."
“The Squaire” is a 660 meters long architectural masterpiece, up to 65 meters wide and 45 meters high, that was built between 2007 and 2011 according to the plans of JSK International Architekten. The total leasable area of “The SQUAIRE” is of around 143,000 square meters spread over eleven floors, which includes around 93,400 square meters of office space and approximately 5,900 square meters of retail and restaurant space. “The Squaire” is an extremely well-connected micro-city within Frankfurt, where customers can find many restaurants, coffee shops, grocery stores, as well as other high-end retail options.
“The Squaire” also accommodates two award-winning Hilton hotels, offering 583 rooms, 3 restaurants and prestigious conference rooms with capacity of up to 200 people. Integrated into the complex is "The Squaire Parking," which offers tenants and visitors 3,125 parking spaces on a total of nine levels. It was the first parking garage in Europe to be awarded LEED Gold certification.
Sonar Real Estate will work with Fraport's real estate management team, which has successfully managed the property as property manager since its inception.
"We have set out to increase the synergy effects between the various users and tenants as quickly as possible. Measures for this include the development and implementation of new space concepts, a further improvement of the tenant mix and of the services offering", says Holger Hosang, Managing Director of Sonar Real Estate and responsible for the Transaction and Asset Management divisions, explaining the upcoming plans.
In addition to the Hilton hotels, anchor tenants include KPMG, Michelin, Atos and Porsche Consulting. Other tenants include renowned companies such as Nemak, Arthur D. Little, REWE, Rossmann, Plug and Work.
“The Squaire” is the best-connected property in Germany: it is directly connected to Frankfurt airport's Terminal 1 via a convenient walkway, and it is situated atop of an ICE long-distance high-speed train station. In addition, it is located directly between the A3 freeway and the parallel B43 federal highway near the Frankfurt interchange.
“German Commercial Property for The Anglosphere” with Christoph Wittkop, CEO of Sonar Real Estate
29. March 2021
Christoph Wittkop, CEO of Sonar Real Estate, talked to Paul Norman from CoStar as part of Realla’s “Commercial Property Pioneers” podcast series. Among other things, he explains why he saw more opportunities than risks in the founding of Sonar, even during the Corona pandemic, what his personal real estate Bible is and which coalition he expects after the elections in Germany in autumn 2021.
Sonar Real Estate nominated for immobilienmanager Award with "Roxy Palast Berlin"
20 January 2021
Sonar Real Estate is among the top five nominees for this year's "immobilienmanager Award" in the "Management" category for its involvement with the "Roxy Palast Berlin".
The listed Roxy Palast, designed by architect Martin Punitzer in Berlin-Friedenau, was extensively renovated and successfully repositioned by the end of last year. The focus was on the substantial restoration of the building's original appearance from 1930.
Approximately 4,800 square metres of usable space in the property was fully let over the duration of the renovation project. The largest occupier is the BBA - Akademie der Immobilienwirtschaft e.V. (Academy of the Real Estate Industry). On the ground floor of the property, in the former cinema hall, the lease with the existing tenant LPG Bio Markt was also successfully extended on a long-term basis. The coworking operator St. Oberholz, which uses large parts of the ground floor and the newly created studio in the former stage tower, rounds off the range of users. The result is a tenant mix of a training centre, coworking space and local amenities that further enhance the Friedenau submarket around Breslauer Platz and returns an important historic building to the Berlin real estate market.
On 11 March, the winners of the im-Award 2021 will be announced in a freely accessible online stream.
Holger Hosang to be director of Sonar Real Estate
Hamburg, 18 November 2020
Holger Hosang, 49, a fully qualified lawyer, will join Sonar Real Estate GmbH as a managing director on 1 January 2021. Sonar, the real estate company for investment, asset management and development, was founded in October 2020. Following a strategic repositioning, Barings transitioned their non-core German third party asset management and advisory business to Sonar.
Jointly with Nick Puschkasch, Holger Hosang will lead the Transaction & Asset Management division at Sonar Real Estate. The other directors are Christoph Wittkop (CEO), Matthias Gerloff (fund management & investment solutions) and Daniel Jäde (development & project management). Like Nick Puschkasch, they have joined the new company from Barings Deutschland.
Holger Hosang joins Sonar from Allianz Real Estate, where he has worked since 2015, most recently as Director Germany and Head of Asset Management North & Central Europe, leading the asset management team in central, eastern and northern Europe.
Until 2015, Holger Hosang worked for PAMERA Asset Management GmbH, which was co-founded by Christoph Wittkop. The company was taken over by Barings in 2014. Previously, Hosang was Director Asset Management at SVP Global, where he was in charge of the company’s real estate portfolio.
At Sonar Real Estate, in addition to his position as Director and Head of the Central/Southern region, based in Frankfurt, he will develop and manage the Sonar offices in Frankfurt and Munich.
Christoph Wittkop, CEO of Sonar Real Estate, comments: "I have great respect for Holger Hosang as a person and as an experienced professional in the asset and transaction management of commercial real estate, particularly office and retail properties. I am therefore delighted that he is coming on board with us. Due to his excellent network in the market he will be a great support in establishing Sonar Real Estate as a partner for domestic and international investors in Germany.”
Holger Hosang explains: “I am looking forward to the challenge managing the newly-founded company, in association with the other directors. I will apply my expertise to support the team, who I have known and worked with for years, in establishing Sonar Real Estate in the market. Innovations, particularly the freedom and flexibility to implement new ideas, have been one of the main drivers of my career and I am looking forward to this even more in the future. I am confident that there will be good opportunities for successful real estate investments - and that we will take advantage of them.”
Sonar Real Estate is set up for German and foreign investors seeking an entrepreneurial local partner in Germany and, if required, a co-investor, with a primary focus on Value-Add and opportunistic investments. In addition, Sonar is looking to expand its business in the areas of development, club deals and individual client instructions in regulated vehicles with German institutional investors.
Team around Christoph Wittkop founds Sonar Real Estate, anticipates initial EUR 1.2 bn of assets under management
Hamburg, 12 October 2020
Sonar Real Estate GmbH is a new company for real estate investment, asset management and development that is expected to commence operations from its head office in Hamburg in December 2020. Christoph Wittkop (48), formerly Managing Director and Real Estate Country Head Germany at Barings, one of the world's largest real estate investment managers, will be the Chairman of the Management Board.
In an agreed deal with Barings, Barings will transition their German non-core third party asset management and advisory mandates that will no longer be part of the company's core business to Sonar Real Estate, whilst retaining their investment management assets, which Barings Germany will continue to manage.
Sonar Real Estate will focus on commercial property in the office, retail and logistics sector in Germany. The risk profile of the properties managed ranges from Core/Core+ through Value-Add to Opportunistic. Special attention with also be paid to in-house or partnership development projects in these segments.
The target clients will be German and foreign investors seeking an entrepreneurial local partner in Germany and, if required, a co-investor, with a primary focus on Value-Add and Opportunistic investments. The existing business of club deals and separate accounts from German institutional investors in regulated vehicles will also be further expanded. For this, Sonar Real Estate will take over the mandates previously awarded to Barings by investors via the investor-KVG Institutional Investment Partners (2IP) and will continue the successful cooperation since 2012. Some EUR 750 million of the assets under management are already administered by 2ip.
In addition to Christoph Wittkop and Matthias Gerloff (Head of German Institutional Investors and Fund Management), the other founding members of Sonar Real Estate are Nick Puschkasch (Head of the Eastern Region and Head of Asset Management) and Daniel Jäde (Head of Development and Project Management), all of whom transition from Barings Germany.
Sonar Real Estate begins its operation with offices in Hamburg, Berlin and Dusseldorf, and 17 employees. A new office in Frankfurt will shortly be established, which will be managed by a further managing partner from January 2021.
Christoph Wittkop, Managing Director/CEO of Sonar Real Estate, comments: “Following our success at Barings, my co-founders and I are looking forward to the challenge of once again leading and expanding an owner-managed company at Sonar Real Estate. Our competent and experienced team, who have successfully worked together for many years, have an excellent network in the industry.
“We know what makes the market tick and how to manage, with success, challenges that are off the beaten track. For this reason, and in view of our impressive track record in recent years, we are firmly convinced that Sonar Real Estate will quickly become established as a competent partner for domestic and international investors in Germany.”
Christoph Wittkop, a qualified business economist and real estate economist, has been active in the real estate sector since 1997. In the past he has successfully managed a number of asset management companies. Prior to joining Barings, he was a co-founder and managing director of PAMERA Asset Management GmbH, until the company was acquired by Barings in 2014. Between 2005 and 2010, as partner and CEO of Asset Manager Resolution GmbH, he headed the management of a real estate portfolio for well-known investors, focussing on Value-Add and Opportunistic properties. Other positions held during his long career include those at UBS Global Asset Management, Deutsche Bank and Eurohypo.