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DALLAS-Briar Capital, an asset-based lender that provides capital, machinery and equipment financing, is launching its first real estate-specific fund, Briar Real Estate Opportunity Investors I. The Houston-based company is pursuing a capital raise of $50 million to acquire non-performing commercial real estate loans starting at $1 million from financial institutions.

Briar Capital has also opened shop in Dallas, with CFO and executive vice president Jeff Noland overseeing the operations and business development. Noland, along with Briar Capital’s chairman and CEO Frank Goldberg and principal Robert Chidgey, who operate out of the Houston office, are responsible for managing the fund. Before joining Briar Capital, Noland was vice president with Newport Coast Capital Management in Palm Springs, CA and senior associate with Charles River Associates.

Noland tells GlobeSt.com that there are very good reasons for both opening a Dallas office and launching a non-performing notes acquisitions fund. In terms of the first activity, Briar Capital is already active in Dallas and has staff that telecommutes. Setting up an office at 5952 Royal Lane just made sense, Noland adds.

Furthermore the fund was launched to take advantage of the market for non-performing loans. “We’re at a point in history where these types of products are more available and continue to be more available than ever before,” Noland comments, adding that the fund will target loans covering the four groups of real estate assets in Texas right now. “There is a tremendous amount of real estate and mortgage debt out there.” Though the fund is still acquiring capital, Noland says Briar Capital is receiving requests to examine potential investments topping out at $10 million and higher.

Noland explains that Briar Capital decided to start with a smaller raise to launch because this is the company’s first real-estate specific fund. “The sooner we can get to market, we can develop a track record,” he adds. “Then we can go back and get a larger raise.”

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