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SAN DIEGO-Industry veterans Ron Lack and Mark Wayne have formed Cypress Realty Advisors to pursue acquisitions of office properties with an emphasis on distressed assets in fundamentally strong submarkets. The two San Diego commercial real estate execs, who have more than 40 years of combined experience, will be looking in markets throughout California and Arizona, with an initial focus in San Diego. The company, which is based at 4660 La Jolla Village Dr., will also provide owners and lenders with advisory services including strategic planning and asset management.

Like others who have formed advisory groups or funds to invest in distressed assets, the new Cypress team sees “tremendous opportunity as the continued decline in values wipes out equity positions, increased vacancy deteriorates cash flow and near term debt maturities force disposition and ownership restructuring,” according to Lack. Wayne adds that the Cypress approach will involve implementing management, leasing and capital improvement strategies to reposition properties as-cash flowing investments.”

Wayne points out that the strategy is designed to maximize returns for the new company’s equity partners, adding that, “It will take more time for pricing to fully correct though, and the recovery period will likely be slow.”A key emphasis of the Cypress strategy will be to improve the sustainability of office assets through LEED certification. “Most new buildings are developed with some level of LEED certification, making it harder for existing buildings to compete in the market and to attract tenants who increasingly demand environmentally-conscious work places,” Lack says. Through improvements and implementation of LEED standards, he says, “We will ensure that our office portfolio meets some level of LEED certification.” The result will be buildings that are environmentally responsible and that produce cost savings which translate to increased asset value, according to Lack.

Lack has 20 years of institutional experience in real estate acquisitions, asset management, development, and dispositions in office, R&D, flex and retail product types. He has held senior management positions with several real estate investment companies working in most major markets in the West and Southwest overseeing investment portfolios ranging from one million square feet to five million square feet.

Wayne also brings 20 years of experience in the advising, marketing, leasing, sales and repositioning of more than six million square feet of office properties throughout the San Diego County region. During his 20-year career with Burnham Real Estate (recently acquired by Cushman & Wakefield), he guided local and institutional owners on existing product as well as ground-up development with transactions totaling more than $1.5 billion.

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