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[IMGCAP(1)]GARLAND, TX-Industry leader Ray Wirta and a decade-long friend are using Dallas/Fort Worth as the launch pad for a new proprietary web-based investment vehicle, Nexregen. The program, pointed at 100 US cities, targets retail and multifamily investments in the $10-million bracket for the “next real estate generation of investors.”

Wirta and Harold Hofer, with Newport Beach, CA as their home base, have spent the past two years laying the groundwork for Nexregen’s on-line sales to begin, an offering for shares in commercial assets at $2,500 and $5,000 buy-ins. Wirta, former CEO for CB Richard Ellis and its current vice chair, is replaying his start in the industry when he invested $2,500 into real estate in college and later collected a profit from its sale.

[IMGCAP(2)]After six to eight months of evaluating listings nationwide, the partners’ first and only acquisition to date has been the 148,870-sf Firewheel Village at 3178 Lavon Dr. in Garland, a fully leased, six-tenant shopping center on 14.5 acres bought in May for about $13.48 million or $91 per sf. Now, its shares are for sale.

Wirta says Nexregen’s goal is to make real estate investment as easy as buying an airline ticket or booking a hotel room on the Internet in a secure-site platform that is credit card and user friendly, whether shopping or window shopping. “We’re really breeding real estate investors for the brokerage houses,” he tells GlobeSt.com. “We’re not competing because we’re serving clients they won’t.”

Wirta says Dallas is primed for “four or five” more acquisitions. Nationwide, he’s anticipating Nexregen will accrue a minimum of 10 properties in its first year. Anticipated holds are five to seven years. Each acquisition will be structured as a REIT; each asset will be third-party managed and leased.

All investments will be hand-picked by the street-savvy Wirta and acquired through brokers. “So, they’re going to like this program,” he says.

Despite the price, Wirta says there are no plans to acquire fixer-uppers. “We are delivering current cash flow so people can get a check every quarter from the day they invest,” he stresses. And, another check arrives after it’s sold.

Wirta says Nexregen shares will be sold for the same price as the original acquisition cost, without any hidden fees. The partners will retain a 10% stake and put the remaining 90% on the market.

“We make money participating in future profits and future cash flow. We hope to make some money, but that only comes with volume,” Wirta explains. “People will be intrigued by the concept. The key is will they come to the site.”

All investments will be fully detailed on line so would-be investors have full disclosure to decide if they want a piece of the deal. In Firewheel Village’s disclosure, details include that a $10.4-million loan was used to buy the center, locking in a 5.7% fixed-rate interest through May 2017. Jason Rice with Dallas-based Quantum First Capital arranged financing.

Wirta says there are no additional properties under contract, but it’s not for lack of capital. “It’s not truly unlimited, but we have the capital we need,” he says, adding the focus right now is the test drive with Firewheel Village. If he’s called it right, the investment will sell out within four months.

Wirta’s personal goal is to double investments in five years. Investors get a 100% money-back guarantee if they change their mind within the first year of opting into the play.

Wirta sees Nexregen as a replacement for limited partnerships. It treats investment like a share of stock, with the 40-year veteran likening it to a real estate savings account. Just like stock, investors are subject to capital gains. They also fall under the purview of “passive investor,” a key selling point in Texas under its new margin law. Investor profiles run the gamut from young to elderly, with one commonality: money to invest, but not enough to solo on a real estate buy.

The Nexregen principals’ principle is “individual investors should be empowered to make their own investment choices and have available the same real estate opportunities typically reserved for high net-worth individuals and institutions.” And, Wirta says the web-based approach makes the choice personal and can put a local investor on the asset’s doorstep for a first-hand look before making the final decision.

“It’s a way of delivering a partnership interest at a relatively low cost,” Wirta says. “We wanted to truly create a new opportunity for people to invest in real estate.”

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