United Commercial Realty
MOODY RAMBIN, UCR MERGER HEATS UP HOUSTON RETAIL7.22.2011- Jennifer Dawson, Houston Business Journal
Competition is heating up in Houston’s retail real estate market.
Houston-based UCR moodyrambin plans to double from six to 12 people in the next one to two years. The company wants to hire two to four leasing brokers and one investment sales producer, said Lance Gilliam, managing partner of UCR moodyrambin.
The company got its start July 1 when Houston-based Moody Rambin Retail Properties and United Commercial Realty of Dallas combined some assets. Moody Rambin Retail, which was formed in 1993 by Gilliam and Ed James, contributed its retail relationships and people to the new company. UCR contributed an undisclosed amount of money and service platforms for asset management and investment sales.
Gilliam and James own half the company. The 10 UCR partners in Dallas own the other half.
“It was good for us financially,” said Gilliam, who remains a partner in Moody Rambin Interests, a separate entity.
Investment sales and third-party property management will be growth areas for Gilliam and James, whose team has focused on tenant representation and project leasing in the past.
Jerry Goldstein with Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Brokerage Co. , who specializes in retail investment sales, said he’s not worried about UCR moodyrambin’s impact.
“It’s not going to create that much more competition,” said Goldstein. “There’s always a lot of competition in the marketplace for business.”
Another growth area for UCR moodyrambin comes from handling deals that originate in UCR’s Dallas office but involve retail sites in Houston.
As an affiliate of Atlanta-based ChainLinks Retail Advisors, UCR previously funnelled those leads to Page Partners , the Houston participant in the national network of retail real estate companies.
Page Partners will continue to be the local ChainLinks provider that receives business from those in the network, just not from Dallas, Gilliam said.
Before joining UCR, Gilliam said he had been approached by a number of people about creating a new partnership or selling the firm. But he and James went with UCR, he said, because their two firms do business the same way.
UCR executives were motivated to create UCR moodyrambin as a way to enter the Houston market without having to start from scratch.
“UCR has wanted to be in Houston for a long time,” said Mickey Ashmore, president and CEO of UCR, which has offices in Austin and San Antonio.
One reason UCR chose to partner with Moody Rambin Retail executives, said Ashmore, was he was impressed with their pitch earlier this year to win the Aldi grocery store account in Houston.