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PLANO, TX-A local company that has spent more than a decade providing a variety of real estate services for national and international clients is bringing its expertise to the area of distressed real estate assets. Jones Hill, McFarland & Ellis which has advised buyers, sellers and lending institutions on everything from asset portfolio management, to financial trends, to environmental issues, has launched its Distressed Advisory Restructuring Practices Group.

The new group has hit the ground running, and is already working with federal government agencies as those agencies build take-back programs to help banks and other lenders move troubled real estate assets off their books.

On the other side of the coin, the group is consulting with clients “to help ready them for the time when transactions start moving again,” says Scott Hill, Jones, Hill, McFarland & Ellis managing partner. “A number of our clients will be pursuing distressed debt and equity purchase opportunities. They’ve been coming to us for help in trying to understand the market.”

Hill tells GlobeSt.com that he elected to move the 12-year-old company toward distressed asset advisory services beginning in late 2007, when the capital markets began falling apart. As the economy stumbled through 2008 and into 2009, Hill says he and his associates queried clients, pension funds, institutions, government agencies, along with loan sale companies and distressed advisory firms in attempt to find out what was needed in this troubled times.

“The broader overview we got is that people are waiting for a lot more clarity and are trying to get a better sense of how to get transactions moving again,” Hill comments. “Right now, with wide bid-ask gaps, financing not so prevalent and lenders being selective, our clients are looking for three things. Clear visibility, more attractive pricing and a return of a bit more conservative debt in capital markets.”

While everyone is trying to figure out the market, Jones Hill, McFarland & Ellis is working both sides of the real estate fence. While consulting with agencies working with troubled assets, the company is also putting itself in a position to help its clients obtain those assets when the credit markets unfreeze.

The goal, Hill says, is to get ahead of the market and be prepared once transactions move once again. “If our client companies can get ahead in terms of timing and direction, we’re confident that we, and our clients, can outperform the market,” he adds.

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