[IMGCAP(1)]DALLAS-StarPoint Commercial Properties LLC plans to acquire $150 million to $200 million of retail and office properties in the coming year. To more fully mine the market, the 17-year-old investment group has opened a Texas shop.

“We figure now is a good time to put someone on the ground,” says Evan Farahnik, principal of the Beverly Hills, CA-based StarPoint. Leading the push is John W. McDowell IV, regional acquisitions manager who spent the past two years in the same position at Westmount Realty Capital LLC in Dallas.

StarPoint isn’t new to the state, but its focus has been considerably stepped up. The investment group bought two multifamily properties in Houston about five years ago and sold them about 18 months ago. StarPoint returned in fall 2006 to buy the 144,657-sf Southridge Shopping Center along William Cannon Drive in Austin for $18 million.

[IMGCAP(2)]Farahnik tells GlobeSt.com that StarPoint Commercial is now ready to dig in for the long haul, planning to invest up to $200 million of debt and equity in the coming year for properties in all four Texas metros. He says the door is wide open to a variety of buying scenarios although value-add retail is at the top of the priority list, particularly grocery-anchored centers. StarPoint’s McDowell is scouting for under-performing properties in strong submarkets to hit a sweet spot of $10 million to $50 million. Farahnik says there is no ceiling for its buying power, but the deal has to “to be a good value and make sense for us.”

Although there are proposals out, Farahnik says there’s been no hit on the line. “We hope we’ll get something under contract shortly,” he says, adding McDowell is bearing down on a win in Austin. “We’re hitting on all cylinders now. He’s in the market aggressively.”

Farahnik says the private investment group, seeded by capital from US institutions, will buy value-add and core properties in portfolios and one-offs, with or without loan assumptions. StarPoint’s bet on the market is backed by the relationships that McDowell’s built in the past 10 years and “the reputation that we have,” Farahnik adds. “We have selected Texas markets because we see some value and room for rental growth.”

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