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What do El Paso, Albuquerque and Little Rock, AR., have in common? They are the next stops in the nation’s largest retail-only service provider’s bid to secure one real estate partnership in every major city and most secondary ones in the US.

Troy Peple, president of ChainLinks Retail Advisors Inc., hopes to seal the deals in the near future in a sweeping strategy to complete the company’s transition from a non-profit association into a for-profit operation by the end of second quarter 2001. In September, ChainLinks will finalize a partnership with MyShopping.com, the first deal that’s not a traditional bricks-and- mortar retailer. In recent weeks, ChainLinks has signed Anchor Associates in Cincinnati, Corporate Realty in New Orleans, Pace Properties Inc. in St. Louis and Ripco Real Estate in Conshohocken, PA.

By the end of this year, ChainLinks will have 400 brokers on board – 100 more than the present roster – Peple told Globe.St.com during a break in his one-day visit to Dallas, where he was interviewing management applicants and plotting strategies with the Gallier and Wittenberg public relations agency. Peple was brought on board last year to build – not expand – ChainLinks into a national real estate company from its 20-year non-profit association status. Brokers are buying into ChainLinks and securing stock in the operation in exchange for the for-profit networking potential.

ChainLinks, based in Washington DC, has gotten its most significant boost from a recently announced joint venture with DJM Realty Services, a division of Gordon Brothers Group that specializes in retail real estate disposition and mitigation of lease exposure and retail real estate consulting. DJM, based in Melville, NY, brings to the table an unlimited funding pool for lease and property buyouts for ChainLinks’ real estate clients, says Peple, a veteran hostile negotiator and workout consultant.

It is DJM’s bailout parachute for outright purchases, in some cases even renovations, that Peple has been needing to round out his strategy for ChainLinks. “It isn’t about just bad locations or retailers who are having trouble,” he says. “It’s not uncommon for growing, healthy retailers to want to dispose of properties.”

Peple says the DJM alliance is the second phase in ChainLinks’ development. The first step has been to establish ChainLinks as a single point of contact for retailers in the tenant representation field. With two of three goals behind the two-year transition into a for-profit company, ChainLinks will start focusing on landlord strategies, including heightened emphasis on leasing and property management. Its 50 offices in 48 states presently hold 150 million sf in leasing and property management contracts and are averaging 400 completed retail transactions per month, according to Peple. He estimates 5% to 8% of those transactions are by Texas partners, UCR/ChainLinks, which has offices in Dallas, San Antonio and Austin, and Houston-based Boyd Page/ChainLinks.

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