United Commercial Realty
UCR Creates Unit to Focus on Investment Sales
CEO says timing is right, despite recent plunge in sales of shopping centers7.3.2009- Bill Hethcock, Dallas Business Journal
Dallas-based retail real estate firm United Commercial Realty has launched an investment sales division to help shopping center owners and investors navigate an increasingly difficult market.
The new division is being led by industry veterans David Disney and Adam Howells, who joined the company two weeks ago. Disney, who owned his own investment sales company for 13 years before joining UCR, will be president of the new division, and Howells, who has worked at commercial real estate firm Holliday Fenoglio Fowler for the last 11 years, will be managing partner. Disney and Howells have a combined historical transaction volume of $2.7 billion.
UCR has traditionally been known as a retail leasing, management and land brokerage firm.
The goal of the new division is to help clients, particularly those with troubled assets, increase the value of their real estate and achieve the best possible return on their investments, said Mickey Ashmore, UCR’s CEO. The idea is to combine Howell and Disney’s capital markets expertise with UCR’s knowledge of the retail market, he said.
The downturn in retail real estate has created a need for the new division, especially as more lenders and special servicers take over properties, Ashmore said. Special services oversee commercial mortgage loans in which borrowes have missed payments and are in danger of foreclosure.
"This is a critical point in the world of retail real estate," Ashmore said. "We believe that having comprehensive retail knowledge combined with capital markets experience is really going to be imperative, so that's why we felt now was the time to launch this."
Ashmore said he expects the investment sales team to generate 25% to 33% of UCR's gross revenue within three to give years. He declined to release revenue figures.
The biggest challenge the new division will face will be helping local and institutional retail real estate owners navigate am arket in which transaction volume has plunged because of lack of financing availability and other factors, Howells said.
"In today's difficult market, landlords need capital market guidance more than ever," he said.