HOUSTON—UTF (United Trust Fund) is ready to mess with Texas in a big way. The long-time sale-leaseback and built-to-suit company will be buying $340 million in the state in those types of investments by April 2015. They are seeking local brokers, developers, consultants and leasing agents to assist in its endeavor.
“We think we’re underinvested in Texas,” Fred Berliner, senior vice president and director of acquisitions at the firm, told GlobeSt.com. “It’s one of the biggest growth states and we want to invest there in a much bigger way.”
UTF is no stranger to national investments. In its 40-plus year history, the firm has executed sale leasebacks and built-to-suit projects on more than 1,200 properties in 44 states. Though UTF has done business in Texas in the past, management has decided that the time is right to ramp up its investments there.
UTF has no preference in what commercial real estate sector in which it will purchase and is interested in everything from office to medical to industrial to retail and beyond. The important thing is that UTF buys and leases back to quality single tenant companies.
UTF is not picky about what markets it enters within the state, either. Though it will initially target Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, Berliner pointed out that there are more than 20 cities with a population of over 100,000 people but the firm is willing to look at locales such as El Paso, Odessa, Lubbock and others and doesn’t want to be “precluded from any geographic area.”
Berliner admitted that UTF, which has its headquarters in Miami, isn’t the first firm to acknowledge the strength of the Texas commercial real estate market. After all, it is known as one of the hottest regions in the country right now. “We have had competition for 42 years said Berliner. For us to make the acquisitions and to fulfill our requirements in Texas we realize and are prepared to offer the lowest cost of capital compared to any of our competitors.”
Over the years UTF has become synonymous with providing companies with certainty of closure. Berliner concluded “If I were a Texas company, broker, developer or involved in sale leasebacks I would call us and hold us to the highest standard we have been fortunate enough to have earned from our clients and friends.”