For billionaire real-estate investor Sam Zell, Colombia is the "next star" of Latin America. And while he is divesting from the US real estate markets, he plans within the next two weeks to increase his holdings in the South American country, as well as in India -- where he is hoping to build a hotel chain, like Residence Inn at Marriot.

Zell made those comments to Bloomberg Television as his company, the Chicago-based Equity International, announced on Tuesday its first venture in Colombia: a $75m investment in Bogotá-based Terranum Development, a closely held real estate company, according to a statement. Terranum is developing a 190,000-square-meter (2m square-foot) mixed-use complex near Bogotá's El Dorado International airport.

Sam Zell - Bloomberg

Sam Zell. Source: Bloomberg

Zell has other real-estate investments in the region, mainly in Mexico and Brazil, where earlier this month he sold his remaining stake in São Paulo-based homebuilder Gafisa. Equity International still maintains five portfolio investments in the country.

During the interview with Bloomberg, Zell said that even after a 21 per cent loss year-to-date, Brazil's stocks markets is "still terrific."

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- FT Tilt