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Mark Maughnan, Rob Barse, Ben Hidalgo From left: Mark Maughan, Rob Barse, Ben Hidalgo/photo by: Charles Garnar (composite edited by Steve Lubetkin)

NEW YORK CITY—At the RealShare Net Lease Conference on April 5 in New York City, top professionals in the net lease development world openly shared what they look for when taking on projects. Panelist Mark Maughan, director of net lease investments at Sundance Bay, headquartered in Salt Lake City, UT, said his firm works with many developers and they must have a niche, for example, that’s geographic or tenant-based.

“Some developers are known in a specific region and tenants come to them. Some groups are really good at getting their preferred developer relationship with Dollar General or CVS and they’ll chase a specific tenant all over the country,” said Maughan. Developers can excel at doing value add, buying existing buildings and bringing in tenants. Sundance Bay looks at whether the tenants have a niche, a track record and a balance sheet.

Matt Bear Matt Bear, moderator of RealShare Net Lease panel/photo by Charles Garnar

The moderator of the “Increasing the Inventory: 2018 Sector Developments” panel Matt Bear founded Bear Real Estate Advisors, headquartered in Las Vegas, NV. When he said, “The best real estate is covered up with bad buildings,” the audience chuckled. Bear said the first 10 years of his career were in Las Vegas when the population literally doubled. “It was a market where you ‘Build it and they will come.’” He then asked, what are developers doing to increase their deals?

Panelist Ben Hidalgo, principal of Net Lease Development, based in Fort Worth, TX, focuses on franchises and single corporate tenants. He works with many national QSRs (quick service restaurants) including Arby’s, Starbucks, Steak ’n Shake, Taco Bell, to name only a few. Today’s challenge is finding good sites, according to Hidalgo.

“I think the pricing for retail land has doubled in the last three years and so the price makes it challenging to get tenants to pay because the rents have gotten really inflated,” said Hidalgo. “If you deal with franchisees it’s easier to get a deal quicker.”

Maughan said the tenant drives the business because unless you have a signed lease, the investor does not have a deal. The tenant also drives the timing of many deals. Landowners often want to sell their land in 90 days. But for the developer to close, they need to have a signed lease in hand.

Betsy Kim

Betsy Kim is the bureau chief, East Coast, and New York City reporter for Real Estate Forum and GlobeSt.com. As a lawyer and journalist, Betsy has worked as the director of editorial and content for LexisNexis Lawyers.com, a TV/multi-media journalist for NBC and CBS affiliated TV stations in the Midwest, and an associate producer at Court TV.

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