DALLAS-Dalfen America Corp. has Dallas at the top of the buy list after sizing up the opportunities for off-market acquisitions of class A office buildings with plenty of empty space. Part of the “buy and fill” strategy is to give 100% of the commission to the tenant reps.

The Montreal-headquartered Dalfen marked its first buy in 2.5 years just last week with the 318,695-sf Dominion Plaza at 17304 Preston Rd. in Dallas. But make no mistake, the deep-pocketed buyer is in town to stay for the long term, Murray Dalfen tells GlobeSt.com. Four trips to town in six months, 10 offers and one closing sum up the fast-paced, hard focus on the city with the spotlight pointed north of LBJ Freeway and all the way to Frisco.

Dalfen’s first US inroad was Florida, then he made a move on Atlanta. He scored some wins and then decided the well was dry. “We don’t have a problem getting capital, we have a problem getting product. There are no more bargains in Florida. They don’t exist. There are no bargains in Atlanta even though they have a vacancy factor,” Dalfen says. “But when we went to Dallas, we found all kinds of opportunities there.”

Dalfen’s portfolio is a two-million-sf mix of office buildings, business parks and shopping centers. But, it’s definitely office product that he’s after in Dallas, specifically 100,000-sf-plus, class A buildings with high vacancies and off-market deals. “It’s not that we necessarily pay less, but we like to get into direct negotiations…and get down to business,” he explains. “They can tell really quickly we are closers.” For previous story, click here.

What happens after a deal closes? The two-building Dominion Plaza will show the market the extent of Dalfen’s commitment. He intends to sink $2 million into making a class A office building “into a trophy class A” by implementing a wide gamut of high-end changes to all common areas and reconfiguring floors into “plug ‘n play” suites of 1,000 sf to 10,000 sf, which can be readily changed out by moving just one 4-ft wall. And, of course, beefed up amenities from a concierge service to free personal trainers for the retooled health club.

Dalfen’s not relying on just cosmetic changes or a sweetened amenity package to fill the 30% vacancy at Dominion Plaza. He plans to turn over his share of the commission to tenant reps who add new names to the directory. Dalfen, who does his own bargaining, says the tact often adds 50% to 60% to tenant rep commissions. The going rate is $17.50 per sf to $21 per sf plus electric, but that too, Dalfen says, “is a function of the deal.”

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