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DALLAS-Locally based Weitzman Group/Cencor Realty Services has launched Cencor Solutions to work with lenders and other owners of distressed real estate assets. Real estate veteran Tom Terkel is leading the new division, which is focusing on Texas-based properties.

“We’re working with all key Weitzman executives in each of our markets to reach out to the lending community,” says Terkel, who is executive vice president of the company’s Austin, TX office. Weitzman/Cencor also has offices in Houston and San Antonio. “We want to reach out to the lending community, to offer it an outlet for disposal of problem assets, whether it be through a joint venture, outright sales, or another device that allows them to move troubled assets off their books and out of their inventory,” Terkel adds.

Though the idea to form the division occurred to Weitzman/Cencor executives in late 2008, Terkel tells GlobeSt.com the experience that will propel the new service dates back to 1989, when Weitzman Group opened shop in the midst of one of the more memorable real estate downturns in recent history.

“All the executives working with Cencor Solutions now were in real estate in 1986 when that downturn began,” Terkel comments. Because of that experience, Weitzman/Cencor is in a good position to help troubled asset owners, he says.

“For example, in the 1980s and early 1990s, we partnered with a number of different financial institutions to rehabilitate, reposition or redevelop underutilized real estate assets, or to convert assets that were planned for something else into retail properties,” Terkel says. “Lenders who see themselves as unexpected owners of real estate are seeking to recover their investment in an economic environment that makes it challenging.”In other words, having been through a serious downturn before, Cencor Solutions personnel can bring that knowledge to help the lenders extract value from their real estate holdings. There is, however, a difference between the late-1980s real estate recession that Texas led, and the one today.

“This time, it’s the other way around,” Terkel explains. “The broad, national economy has been in a recession for some time, with commercial real estate following it. But we were the last to be hit in our state because of our aggressive job growth and economic development.”

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