Tony Thompson Launches Value-Add Investment Firm
Tony Thompson moves fast. Late last year, There will be a shortfall, and that gap is where the opportunity is
NNN Realty Advisors—and its subsidiary, for people with cash and expertise.
Triple Net Properties, the firm he founded a Amateur hour is over. It was easy to make money in commer-decade ago—merged with Grubb & Ellis. In cial real estate from 2003 to 2006, and now with the economy
short order, Thompson, who was chairman of slowing and with the debt crisis, you really have to understand
the merged entity, exited, only to emerge how to operate real estate. We’re building a team of people expe-recently branding a new standard, Thompson rienced in doing so, and the opportunities will avail themselves
THOMPSON National Properties, with the stated mission because of the relationships we have built. Cash and finance are to “provide value-added real estate invest- important, but off-market transactions happen because of those
ment opportunities and asset management to relationships.
high net-worth domestic, foreign and institutional investors.” Q: Define value-add and give me a sense of the geographies
Based in Irvine, CA, the new firm plans to acquire commercial you’re targeting.
properties, real estate loans and operating companies in a variety A: We’re targeting the top 25 MSAs, where jobs and populations
of geographic markets, generally holding the assets for one to five are still growing. Value-add, or opportunistic or vulture investing,
years. And already he’s beefing up his staff in order to take the plat- all fall into the same category, where there’s vacancy created by
form national: Jack Maurer, co-founder of Triple Net Properties, has subprime lenders who have gone out of business or the downsiz-come aboard as a partner, vice chairman and founding member. ing of the financial services industry or hedge funds that were on
Thompson recently spoke with John Salustri, national editor of the wrong side of commodity or debt plays.
GlobeSt.com, where this interview originally appeared, to reflect a Q: Why didn’t you stay on with Triple Net/Grubb post-merger?
bit on his past and talk about his future plans. A: The opportunities were so compelling to me in areas we
Q: It’s been an interesting year, no? weren’t focused on and didn’t have the mission statement for.
A: It’s been interesting and will be more so. Even though the stock All our products were very stable, income-producing assets,
market is reflecting some buoyancy and earnings aren’t as bad as and there was no mechanism as chairman of Grubb to do any
everyone thought, we still have a ways to go in the debt market to investing that wasn’t within our focus. To sit on the sidelines,
de-leverage some of the significant run-up in values. There’s a and miss out on what I thought was a once-in-a-lifetime oppor-shortage of commercial debt right now, and it will be interesting to tunity to invest in troubled real estate was like being a sprinter
see what kind of bumps in the road occur when a significant waiting at the starting block. So I finally grabbed the starter’s
amount of debt has to be refinanced, particularly throughout ’09. gun and shot it off myself.
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