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DALLAS-Looking to solidify its presence in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Red River Asset Management LLC hired Timothy Ross as a director for the company. With Ross on board, the company is looking for value-add and distressed Texas product to add to its current 675,000-square-foot portfolio.

“Our workload is increasing and we wanted to make the jump to having a full-time presence here,” comments Bruce Stern, principal with the New York City-based Red River Asset Management. He tells GlobeSt.com Red River Asset Management was launched last August to introduce East Coast capital to Texas properties. With Ross on board at 7610 Stemmons Fwy., “for our existing asset management clientele, we now have someone in Dallas, on the ground, every day of the week,” Stern comments, adding that he’ll continue to travel to Dallas from New York once a week.

Before joining Red River Asset Management Ross was director of investments in Dallas for Wrightwood Capital LLC in Chicago. He also had executive positions in the real estate finance divisions of Merrill Lynch Capital and GE Capital/Heller Financial. He earned an MBA from Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

“Tim brings a couple of attributes with him. His background is in structured finance. He’s been looking at properties from both an owner and lender standpoint for 10 years,” Stern comments. This double background is helpful, especially today. Because of the economic situation, “a lot of players in Texas have become real estate owners who didn’t expect to be real estate owners,” Stern remarks. “What we’re doing is introducing ourselves and saying we have the competence to take on a value-add, half-empty office building and turn it around.”

But Red River Asset Management isn’t restricting itself to office. Stern says he and Ross will look at just about anything in the group of four: office, multifamily, industrial and retail. The opportunity target is anywhere between $5 million and $50 million. If a player has to move quickly because of bankruptcy or foreclosure, so much the better.

“We’re focused on those types of problems in places where we’ll make money, not because the market gets better, but because we’re adding capital, creativity and elbow grease to get the deal done,” Stern says. He says Red River Asset Management is currently in discussion with a couple of lenders who had to take properties back, but nothing solid has been signed yet.

Stern and New York-based Meridian Development Partners LLC launched Red River Asset Management in August 2008 with Dallas-area assets Stern had collected during his multi-year stint with Diversified Capital of Lakewood, NJ. Even though the Texas economy has begun to slow down, Stern says it’s still strong. “We’re telling that story to our stable of investors, and looking for off-market, value-added opportunity for those investors to capitalize on,” he comments.

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