Solving problems with ‘social harmony’ (copy)

Greystar's new Asia-Pacific rental housing venture will focus initially on deals in Shanghai (above). File/AP

A Charleston-based apartment industry giant has lined up commitments of $450 million to finance rental housing deals in China.

In its latest international foray, Greystar Real Estate Partners said it is teaming up on the Asia-Pacific venture with Australia's Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets and two newly announced equity backers from the Netherlands: APG Asset Management and Bouwinvest Real Estate Investors.

The fund will target “high-quality assets in top-tier Chinese markets with an initial focus on Shanghai, owing to the city’s attractive rental housing supply and demand fundamentals,” the company said in a written statement Monday.

Greystar established its Asia-Pacific fund with Macquarie last year to buy, develop and manage rental housing in the region.

“China is an extraordinarily compelling growth market for rental housing investment today and is notably lacking in quality housing for the wave of renter demand driven by the rapid growth of urban market populations and incomes,” said Wes Fuller, who heads up Greystar’s global investment management business. “Establishing this fund gives us an early mover advantage to implement our unique investment strategy by assembling and operating an unrivaled rental housing portfolio at scale.”

Charles Ma, managing director for Greystar's China operations, said the firm it is recruiting specialists in development, investment and operations who know the real estate market in the world's most-populous nation.

“The team will be locally managed but supported by Greystar’s global team, network and capital,” Ma said in a statement.

The fund’s first planned investment is the purchase of an undisclosed property “in the inner ring of Shanghai,” that Greystar said it will convert into "a rental building highly attractive for executives.”

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Founded by former South Carolina commerce secretary Bob Faith, Greystar is the largest manager of rental housing units in the U.S. It also operates in Europe and Latin America.

Last year, the firm raised $100 million for a Chile-focused fund and extended its reach into the U.S. student housing business by acquiring Education Realty Trust Inc. for $4.6 billion.

Greystar recently relocated its corporate headquarters from Broad Street to Courier Square at Meeting and Columbus streets. It developed the mixed-use project under a partnership that includes The Post and Courier's parent company.

Contact John McDermott at 843-937-5572 or follow him on Twitter at @byjohnmcdermott