Episode 305: 02-26-15
Jim broadcasts live from the 2015 UF Bergstrom Center Real Estate Trends & Strategies Conference at the Hyatt Regency Orlando. He interviews real estate thought leaders from across the USA, including:
Paul Ellis – Principal, Group President – CNL Commercial Real Estate, Orlando, FL. With 23 years in commercial real estate brokerage, development, investment and management, Ellis knows the marketplace. He has completed more than $400 million in transactions and developed and acquired more than two million square feet of commercial space. In addition, Ellis created the largest property management and services company in Florida while at Trammell Crow, with more than 35 million square feet under management and a division of more than 200 people in three cities. Ellis led the consolidation and transition of CNL’s acquisition process into one team. This team has completed over $2 billion in acquisitions since the transition.
Kendall Almerico – CEO, FundHub.biz – discussing crowdfunding in commercial real estate. Almerico is also an attorney with DiMuroGinsberg, PC, in Washington, D.C.
Todd Jones – MBA, MAI, CRE, FRICS – Managing Director – Property Tax Services – SE Practice Leader at Cushman & Wakefield Tampa/St. Petersburg, FL. Since 1985, Jones has been providing ad valorem property tax counseling and representation, complex income-producing commercial property valuation, expert testimony, litigation support, appraisal review, investment advice, marketability analysis, and feasibility analysis, including highest and best use analysis for virtually all types of commercial, industrial, residential, and special purpose real estate, on behalf of financial institutions, REITs, government entities, publicly traded companies, and private concerns.
Robert E. Lee – MBA, CCIM – Silver Portal Capital-Director Capital Markets / Investor Relations. Lee has over 15 years of direct experience in real estate and capital markets and extensive capital raising and real estate investment knowledge. Alongside the leadership of SPC’s senior principals, Lee and the capital markets team provide strategic and financial advice and capital formation services to a focused group of private and public real estate clients who own and operate all types of commercial real estate. As Director of Capital Markets, Lee focuses on raising private equity from institutional investors, ultra high-net-worth family offices, and opportunity funds for private and public real estate operating companies as well as for significant institutional quality projects.
Episode 305: 02-26-15 (To download, right-click and select “Save Link As”.)
Jim Fried: Hello everybody alright everybody alright everybody we are coming to you live from Orlando we’re live from the 2015 University of Florida Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies Trends and Strategies Conference at the Hyatt Regency in Orlando right by the Convention Center I’m going to be interviewing amazing thought leaders from this conference, we’re going to talk about all kinds of interesting stuff, we’re going to talk about how to build you’re real estate business, what’s going on real estate financing?, how can I capitalize my company? All these things and more, today on Fried on Business we’ll be right back after this short break D take as away and then bring us back, our first guest is going to be Paul Ellis President of CNL Commercial Real Estate back after this.
Jim Fried: Now we’re going to speak with PE, Paul is the Group President at CNL; he is in charge of, what do you there Paul?
Paul Ellis: I run the Commercial Real Estate platform.
Jim Fried: You got to talk into the mic.
Paul Ellis: I run the Commercial Real Estate platform.
Jim Fried: And what does that involve, Paul?
Paul Ellis: We do Property Management, Brokerage we also have a Development Investment Business since so today we’re all over the Southeast and we’re all over the markets in Florida and the Carolinas and Texas.
Jim Fried: Okay so then if you’re all over the State of Florida, the Carolinas and Texas and you’re in all the product types and you’re a brokerage services and investment company what is your most profitable line of business right now and I’m going to count to three to give you a chance to think about it, 1, 2, 3.
Paul Ellis: Profitable…
Jim Fried: Okay, well what’s the fastest growing part of your business today?
Paul Ellis: Our Property Management Business has grown, so we started the company in 2007 with 12 former partners at Trammell Crow Company. Today we, literally we started the company in 2007 CNL sponsored as and we started at 0, today 8 years later we’re over 20 million square feet in leasing and management and we have a 175 people.
Jim Fried: Wow so you’re growing, you’re hiring people, the property management people, and their asset managers, there are also brokers, and it sounds to me like what you’re really doing is running a real estate services business.
Paul Ellis: That’s correct.
Jim Fried: He keeps answering before I can stick the mic in front of him, you know you do great real estate but you do horrendous radio Paul, he’s saying “I know, I know, I know” he does, he does. Now Paul you’re based here on Orlando but you said that the firm operates throughout the Southeastern United States what’s the number 1 trend that you’re seeing today in Southeast real estate and you cannot say apartments?
Paul Ellis: We really like the office space, I mean the office market right now, we’ve actually acquired about a 100,000 dollars of office assets in South Florida in other markets in Texas and quite frankly we really liked the opportunities that we’re seeing right now.
Jim Fried: Now I want to give a shout out to my friend Pryse Elam what do you think about the retail market and since Pryse is in here I’m going to make you answer and make Pryse grit his teeth.
Paul Ellis: Well we like all product types there’s a difference between what we like and what can we actually buy okay? So and certainly one of the reasons we like offices because it feels like we’re moving into a build cycle you know it certainly feels like we’re starting to see more demands, and we’re starting to see asset appreciation above replacement costs.
Jim Fried: I’d even say that a lot of these office sites have been developed as multifamily which means it will be a limited supply in the future of office and that’s what’s really to me driving office across the country actually as is these urban areas which you might call Manhattanize then a lot of the former office sites are being built for apartments or condos which means that the existing office and future office pads are much more valuable, are you advising tenants to lock up now?
Paul Ellis: I don’t think there’s any doubt that all of the rental rates and all of the markets are increasing and on the office side I mean I don’t think there’s any question right now and in fact and as you know South Florida behaves one way and North Florida and the rest of the Southeast behaves and you know and we’re figured the Southeast is really only two tier 1 markets in the Southeast throughout, you’ve got Atlanta and you’ve got Miami, I think those are most people would say those are the really true tier 1 markets all of the other markets are; they’re great but they’re relatively small and so when you see a rental rate appreciation it jumps, it spikes it doesn’t move up 2-3% a year. All of a sudden it goes down to 2-3 to 4 dollars a square foot and we’re certainly seeing that in Orlando and we’re certainly seeing that in Charlotte and in some of the tier 2 markets.
Jim Fried: Now is that in full occupancy costs or is that in base rate only?
Paul Ellis: Base rate.
Jim Fried: Wow, so that means if somebody’s office could go up, other costs could go up even higher if they’ve got expenses and stuff included?
Paul Ellis: That’s correct.
Jim Fried: He keeps on answering before I could get my microphone over there, you know you’re quick on the trigger; I’m not going to talk about…
Paul Ellis: I have told I have a face fore radio so.
Jim Fried: Everybody is allowed to only say that once on the show; you know its okay Paul.
Paul Ellis: How many times does that happen?
Jim Fried: Every single time I’ve got somebody ugly on like you. Now here in Orlando I just drove up and down on I-4 it was crazy, I remember when I used to live in Orlando, you could actually drive on I-4, today at lunchtime I-4 going on Orlando, stopped for absolutely no reason other than I guess it’s clogged with tourists. How’s the tourist industry up here these days?
Paul Ellis: Well number one it’s only going to get worse on I-4 for the next decade because of the I-4 construction project, the expansion of I-4 is going to take the next decade. So it’s going to be like I-95.
Jim Fried: Wow actually I don’t think that that’s bad if you’re not driving, now if you’re driving you’re absolutely out of your mind, now are they going to expand on I-4 because I-4 is an incredibly valuable arterial roadway for everybody in Central Florida and it connects all kinds of things.
Paul Ellis: Yeah they’ll expand it, I think they’re going to create some HOV lanes, I’m not exactly sure of the exact scope but I think you’re probably going to end up with 16 lanes, you know on I-4.
Jim Fried: So it’s really is turning into I-95 and this is in a tourist area South of Orlando, how about North of Orlando where it seems that the road is a little bit more constrained?
Paul Ellis: Yeah I mean you know Seminole County is much denser if you will from population standpoint and so it will absolutely go actually all the way through the land and those markets as well.
Jim Fried: Wow sounds like I should be buying property up in the land.
Paul Ellis: No you should be buying property in Orlando.
Jim Fried: From you too right?
Paul Ellis: Exactly, from me.
Jim Fried: I love this guy absolutely a shameless huckster the entire way through, now Paul we’ve talked about CNL is growing what type of people are you looking to hire there?
Paul Ellis: You know we’ve, it’s across the whole spectrum I think you know with the firm that we’re building is one that we believe it’s very entrepreneurial, we’re very proud and excited about a culture that we have that’s attractive to people so I mean the people that we tend to attract out of other platforms tend to be a lot more entrepreneurial, they tend to be a little bit more senior their not, and they tend to be more creative but I think that’s probably a good snapshot.
Jim Fried: Well sounds like everybody wants to think they are all the things that you just described, now Jim you’re Chairman is speaking at the conference tomorrow I’m not going to ask you what he’s, Tom, oh gosh I’m just off my game today but he’s speaking later today I don’t want you to give away his speech but why does CNL support the Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Florida?
Paul Ellis: So CNL is a 40-year company and it has a long history its core though is Jim Seneff who was a great American so he started the company with a 5,000 dollar loan from his father and at his…
Jim Fried: So there was a Jim involved here?
Paul Ellis: There was a Jim.
Jim Fried: Okay they’re usually is at anything good.
Paul Ellis: There is still a Jim, there is still is a Jim and he is the Executive Chairman, Tom Sittema who will speak tomorrow runs the CNL platform but at its heart and soul is Jim Seneff who was a real estate practitioner who you know once read an article on the Orlando Sentinel a long time ago, it said “Downtown’s dead” “Downtown Orlando is dead” and started buying up land to downtown Orlando. Very contrarian, very classic story so at the end of the day though while CNL is a very diverse business it is a real estate business at its heart. So anything that we can do to support the real estate community and certainly we’re big supporters of the University of Florida System, we’re big supporters of Florida state system as well as the University of Miami.
Jim Fried: So it sounds to me like quality real estate environment and ecosystem only benefits people like CNL.
Paul Ellis: That’s correct, we love, and look I mean at the end of the day we all love the industry, we love what we do, we love the relationships and we love the people in this industry.
Jim Fried: Yeah we’re all nuts but we love each other.
Paul Ellis: That’s right.
Jim Fried: Now just before we go, you’re the chairman of the conference you’ve put this together, you’ve kind of got a vision, and you had a vision, what is the message that you want the attendees to take away from the conference?
Paul Ellis: Just one message?
Jim Fried: Could be two, I’ve got time for two.
Paul Ellis: So I think the overall message is that we have perhaps one of the most attractive programs in the country, that we have a Board that we want people to be a part of, we want the real estate industry to be a part of and I think at the end of the day too from a market standpoint that it is you know it’s a pretty exciting time right now, we’ve been waiting for somewhere like 6-7 years to get back to this point and the markets are back in and they’re heated up again.
Jim Fried: Yeah I had hair when we had a market the last time … yeah, yeah I know, I know but you’ve got a face for radio now, well I said it now we’re both out of it now you were talking about supporting the University of Florida programs I know you are very involved with the other schools as well and you run the CNL commercial real estate platform, what skillset did you develop, that helped you rise to the point of being able to bring the Trammell Crow to heights it had never seen before and then move that over to CNL, what do you think is the one thing that you could give students or young people that are listening that could be one I know there’s a bunch but one of the keys to success that has really helped you build your firm to where it is today one of the top real estate services firms in the country?
Paul Ellis: I think the first thing that comes to mind is in you first choice in your career to find an opportunity where a mentor will pour their life into you and if there’s anything that I, and that I can’t say to you honestly that that was my strategy when I graduated from college, but I was fortunate to have two guys in Woody Coley and Chip Lilley that when I was hired poured their life into me, taught me the industry, taught me the business and they were both honest enough to say there are some things that we’re really, really bad at and you shouldn’t do those things there are just things that we’re really, really good at and you should do those things and if we had done anything well in our organization is we kept that kind of mentor, mentee culture alive and so as people come in to our organization we want 2 or 3 senior guys pouring into it.
Paul Ellis: A huge part of this success of this conference today and tomorrow and a huge part of the success of this program and we appreciate it.
Jim Fried: Usually if you could see me I’m the giving the heads up D I’m getting ready, I’m lifting my hand, I’m pointing the finger we’ll be right back after this short break D, take it away.[COMMERCIAL BREAK]
Jim Fried: Alright we are back and it sounds like our technical problems have been placed behind us and we are cooking like hot grease, thanks D, live from the 2015 Bergstrom Center for Real Estate, Trends and Strategies Conference we are live in Orlando from the Hyatt Regency Orlando and now we’ve got a terrific guest Kendall Almerico, I know I got that wrong.
Kendall Almerico: You nailed it.
Jim Fried: I did, oh I nailed it, oh my God I got a 10-0 alright he is the preeminent guy on crowd funding, I’m going to let him tell his credentials and how he kind of meandered into it but today he is at the epicenter of crowd funding, we’re going to talk all about crowd funding and I got to tell you, my wake up moment on crowd funding was when I was in my office, we had met some group they wanted us to equity invest with them, we said we’re going to think about it they said “We’re going to go to Brickell Avenue” and then we’re going to, and then 2 days later I got an offering from one of this crowd funding sources, it’s the real deal, the banks accepted his equity, there’s all kinds of things happening if you thought crowd funding was just some crackpot idea that they did on the internet well think again, am I right Kendall?
Kendall Almerico: Jim it’s a 7 billion dollar worldwide business already, 7 billion dollars going through the crowd funding world it’s not crackpot anymore, 5 years ago, total crackpot, I mean it was you know and even if you go online and get their breast enhancement done or find some way to get their new grill for their teeth on Kickstarter or what have you, now we see people actually funding businesses, funding real estate deals, doing real business and it’s just going to keep growing.
Jim Fried: You know the first guy that I ever heard at a conference I was moderating the conference talk and the guy who was doing the crowd funding thing trundled up with his Bermuda shorts, his straw hat, his bad shaved beard and his stuff behind him, not even a PDF the guy didn’t have and he said “Oh yeah and if you want to talk more we can meet up at my apartment and I’ll put you, we can go through the whole thing” and this guy was talking doing big real estate deals but today its much different, it’s much, much different.
Kendall Almerico: right and those guys were around there are still some of them around I write for Entrepreneur.com I just did a column last week that was all…
Jim Fried: Alright were back it’s unfortunate that the Hyatt is having a problem with its gerbil in the…you know, so Kendall you were telling us something very, very important and then the gerbil stopped rolling.
Kendall Almerico: You know that’s what happens when this placed used to be wonderful it was the Peabody now the wonderful people at Hyatt have taken over and well you know electricity is one of those things that’s like a premium here for Orlando it’s like a third world country.
Jim Fried: No, no, no…so let’s go back, you write a column for Entreprenuer.com and you’ve been observing what’s been going on in the crowd funding market and its exploding and the main thing is to get aligned with quality consultants when you’re doing it, how do you find those people?
Kendall Almerico: We just look at their track record it’s like anything else, find out what they’ve done in the past, find out what they can do for you but ask them “Hey what do you charge?” “Let me talk to your last five people you did campaigns for” “Let me see, I don’t want to know the people that you didn’t do well with, let’s talk, let’s see the last 10 people that hired you, give me their names or I’m not going to hire you.” Bottom line is there’s really only about two or three people out there that, and I’m not a crowd funding consultant, I’m an attorney who does the legal stuff behind things but the guys have actually helped run campaigns to raise money, there’s only two or three people in this entire country that actually know what they’re doing.
Jim Fried: Well that’s really interesting; can you give that opinion on the show?
Kendall Almerico: Absolutely listen, I’m never shy about giving any opinions about anything.
Jim Fried: I love this guy.
Kendall Almerico: Oh no, no I will tell you flat out I speak all over the country talking about crowd funding, I’m usually sitting next to one of these idiots who says “Oh I can help you raise a 100,000 dollars on Kickstarter and it turns out that they’re going to send out a press release on PR Web and they’re going to charge you 15,000 dollars to sit there and say ”Well you know what, here I set out a press release, look it’s on the internet” that has nothing to do with crowd funding, you know crowd funding is getting the crowd to your site to give you money and that’s an art and a science to that, it’s not sending out a press release.
Jim Fried: Well I’ve met the folks on Brickell Avenue early shares they seem to be well capitalized and have somewhat of a very high level of intellectual capital.
Kendall Almerico: Yeah I will tell you this, I think the people, there are plenty of platforms out there that do a very, very good job of it and there’s a difference between the platform like an early shares or circle op or seed invest that are out there giving you an opportunity to raise money and then private people you hire who then come in and say “I’m going to help you raise your money on seed invest or on circle up“ those are the people that are scary and they take money from people all the time if you know look at the track record of all this places, see who’s behind what’s going on, that’s the key.
Jim Fried: You know I’ve seen the change in due diligence material that’s available and also increased incredibly from something that’s like page of PDF to reams and reams in a Dropbox, when is the government going to start looking at this?
Kendall Almerico: Well that’s the thing under the Jobs Act, the law that regulates all of this equity crowd funding I mean the Kickstarters’ of the world, the Indiegogos’ of the world, that’s not regulated by anything, it’s the wild, wild west I mean literally anyone who wants to raise money for something they’re not selling securities so the government really doesn’t care, it’s a private transaction between two people, I’m going to give you some money, you give me something. Now with the equity crowd funding that’s coming its regulated by the government, you’ve got to do things the right way, there’s going to be reams of paperwork but if you do it wrong you can go to jail.
Jim Fried: Now people want you to help them do some due diligence on which they should choose, how did they find you?
Kendall Almerico: If you google a name Kendall Almerico, I’m the only one in the entire world but my email is like, Kendall Almerico but it’s basically if you’ve got a fundhub.biz is my compliance business and you email at email@example.com I’m very easy to get to.
Jim Fried: Alright Kendall maybe you could stick around since the gerbil ate up some of your time well see if we could give some more later on, D if you can hear me and if you’re up and running it’s time to go to break were going to do some traffic and then we’re going to come back here to Orlando we’re going to talk to my good friend Todd Jones who’s the Chairman of the Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies as well as the head of Tax Appeal nationally for Cushman and Wakefield will be back after this.[COMMERCIAL BREAK]
Jim Fried: Alright, alright we are back, we are back and we are better than ever, alright D if you could hear me he’s turning down the music and we’re here with Todd Jones, Todd is an MAI CRE FRCS I don’t know what, Todd is the head of the tax management practice, the property tax management practice in Cushman & Wakefield Worldwide, he’s based on Central Florida, he’s also the Chairman of the Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies, Todd welcome to the show.
Todd Jones: Thanks Jim, great to be here.
Jim Fried: Now Todd, tax appeals I know that there are big news and markets like South Florida where prices go up and down all the time but is this really something that’s done on a nationwide level?
Todd Jones: Globally it’s a billion dollar business.
Jim Fried: Revenue-wise?
Todd Jones: Revenue-wise and the fact of the matter is local government is funded by property taxes its typically an owner operators largest above the line operating expense, if you’re not actively managing it, you’re leaving money on the table.
Jim Fried: So people that manage their energy, manage their painting, manage their you know all their other utilities but they’re ignoring their property tax bills, they’re leaving money on the table.
Todd Jones: If they are not actively managing it yes, the fact of the matter is that most operators are prudent recognize this is a critical operational cost containment issue and most operators hire outside professionals like myself to actively manage this expense liability annually.
Jim Fried: Now property taxes, that’s in your blood, what’s your background, tell a little bit about why I say that.
Todd Jones: Well my dad was an assessor and I graduated with an MBA in Finance and got into the appraisal field and the next thing I know I’m being dragged of board hearings here in Florida and here it is 30 years later and I have a bit of a profile in the industry. I’m not the global leader for Cushman, I run the Southeast practice.
Jim Fried: Okay it’s a good thing that you clarified that because to me you’re the global leader on whatever you touch because you’re one smart dude and you’re my personal sensei on this stuff. Now Todd you’re also the Chairman for the Center for Real Estate Studies up here sat the University of Florida, what are some of the things that we could look forward to in the coming year end…Alright the music went up, the music went down so now it seems like we’re back you know I think that there needs to be checks on phone lines across the world to make sure they can give consistent service. So Todd you were talking, you continue.
Todd Jones: We have friends and alumni of the Real Estate program of the University who are involved in the real estate industry who get involved in this councils, get involved in the advisory board the whole purpose is to make the program her at the University of Florida the best of all programs anywhere.
Jim Fried: You know the thing that’s special to me is the fact that the students get to interact with extraordinarily high level people and those people are their mentors and I know that the kids that come down to South Florida they look for jobs, I help them, I make them take a survey of the industry, tell me who they want to work for and why they want to work there and then I kind of help them get a warm call I don’t think that this happens at other Universities certainly here in the State of Florida and I got to believe that that’s an incredible benefit to the students.
Todd Jones: As I understand it, we are unique in that regard and Jim it’s appropriate that I give a shout out to you because you are a people broker. You probably helped more students get jobs than any other single individual in the program.
Jim Fried: Thanks I wasn’t really fishing for that but I did put a list together the other day and it was well over a dozen and I love all those people, they reached out to me various times and it’s just a wonderful thing I go to these events and I see the people that go from being students to being young leaders in the industry to being true leaders in the industry and it’s really a heart-warming thing it really is one of the legacies that I look forward to leading in my life I know my wife and I we gave a scholarships to a number of students in the past and we look forward to doing that in the future and that’s what this event is about. It’s about raising scholarship money isn’t it?
Todd Jones: Well that’s part of it, as you said it’s about getting the students jobs as one of the primary objectives of the board we have a 160 board members, top executives from all the biggest companies that you could imagine in the industry who are regularly hiring graduates out of this program because they know they’re getting superior caliber talent.
Jim Fried: Well I’ll tell you who else are superior talent that’s the guys back in the studio who fixed the Marlins sport so high five well are hearing that later sand I can’t wait to go to the Marlins game. Now Todd, you’ve been an adjunct professor here in appraisal for these students, for a number of years now with your job I guess you kind of really can’t commit that kind of time what’s the number 1 thing that you’ve gotten out of being a member of the Bergstrom Center board?
Todd Jones: Well I’ll tell you it sounds cliché but you get more than you give by being part of this board. The interaction with the young professionals who are altruistic and looking to make a difference, make a game-changing move in their career. We hear this kind of testimonials all the time, when I have students come back been graduated several years they went through my class, they hated it at that time because it was intense.
Jim Fried: You’re a pain in the butt Todd.
Todd Jones: Well it’s well known but when they come back and they say “Hey what you taught me has been invaluable in achieving professional and personal success it’s very gratifying, you don’t get that just anywhere.
Jim Fried: You know it is something that means a lot to me, I find it to be my personal fraternity I get a whole lot of continuity out of it, yeah we come up within the fall and when we go to a football game yeah we come here and we have a conference with 400, 500,600 people yeah we raise a bunch of scholarship money and help people change their lives, wait a minute, we raised a lot of scholarship money and we help people change their lives for me that’s what’s it’s all about.
Todd Jones: That’s truly giving back because we’re improving our communities, we’re improving our society we are showing people how to be successful so that they can pass it on when it comes to their time.
Jim Fried: Now there’s a lot schools that have real estate program here in the State of Florida, what are some of the things that you and the board are looking to do in the upcoming couple of years to help set the University of Florida’s program apart?
Todd Jones: The University of Florida arguably has no competition in the Southeast we are the only top 10 program that has an advisory board dedicated to helping the students not only get jobs but get the student and then later on professional mentoring throughout their career. We have a quarterly survey that the center produces which explains in great detail and in provides meaningful key performance indicators for the industry not just on a statewide basis but on a local market basis throughout the state there is no survey produced by anyone that is superior much less there is nothing out there that matches.
Jim Fried: Now Todd if somebody wants to find you at Cushman, they want you to come in and help them save money on their tax bill, how do they do that?
Todd Jones: My email address is…
Jim Fried: Well be right back after this short break we’re going to be on again with Rob Lee from Silver Portal Capital, D take it away.[COMMERCIAL BREAK]
Jim Fried: Alright we are coming back, we are broadcasting live from the University of Florida Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies Trends and Strategies Conference here at the Hyatt Regency Orlando, we’ve been having fluctuating phone but I think we’ll get through this last segment because we’ve got a terrific guest Rob Lee he’s with Silver Portal Capital, he’s the Director of Capital Markets Investor Relations, Rob welcome to the show.
Rob Lee: Thanks Jim, good to be here.
Jim Fried: Now Rob you came all the way from San Diego to meet all the folks here and give your message to everybody now what it is exactly that Silver Portal does? We had some crowd funding talk before and I know you do some crowd funding but it’s a different type of crowd funding than most people might think.
Rob Lee: Yeah there’s, since 2012 the Jobs Act, it allowed real estate operators and developers to go out and raise money basically from the general public specifically those are credited investors and we launched our own platforms Silver Portal Direct.com and we basically put an institutional we are taking an institutional platform which were known for and opened it up to the general investor world so individual investors can come in and invest like the big guys do.
Jim Fried: Now you have to an accredited investor?
Rob Lee: Yes I mean there’s different platforms that are allowing non accredited investors but our platform we are a FINRA-licensed broker dealer and RIA so we have chosen the route of only accredited investors and what that means is basically as an investor you have to have a couple of years of 200,000 dollars plus on income or 300,000 with the spouse and/or your assets have to be 1,000000 dollars net worth not including your primary residence overall and you know everybody can look that up or if they just google accredited investor.
Jim Fried: Now how many broker dealers and FINRA firms are in the crowd funding space today?
Rob Lee: Well there was a few when it first launched now I bet you there’s probably 50 companies now that’s kind of the gold rush a mad rush to the business for a lot of people, a lot of those companies are tech companies trying to real estate people a very few including us are actual real estate institutional guys that are unfortunately have to start a tech company in order to offer this to the public but we’re happy to do it and it has been a great experience so far and I think we’re actually the only company that is a licensed broker dealer NRA in this biz.
Jim Fried: Okay so that sounds like you got a pretty good sector of the market now what are the type of transactions that people will see if they look on Silver Portal .com or what’s it’s called again? Silver Portal?
Rob Lee: Direct.com
Jim Fried: Okay and what are the types of transactions they’ll see if I google, if I went on that right now what would I see?
Rob Lee: You would see a webpage that would, multiple webpages but basically it’s education-based when you first get there so it talks to you about the different types of ways to invest in real estate, strategies kinds of risk reward type of strategies you know it’s all, Jim it’s all about the individual investor and what their goals are. You know some people are all about immediate income right away with a lower upside and some people want the combination of a good income plus upside and you learn all that sat the website and then once you sign up and become a “member” that basically starts the process so you can see deals that we have on the platform and those deals right now are all institutional quality deals. So you can invest, the minimum investment is 25,000 dollars at this point you could write a check for 25,000 dollars and invest it to a 100, 000,000 dollar shopping center portfolio where you could write a 1,000,000 dollar check and be a larger owner as in part of a Walgreens or CBS or some type of triple net portfolio or a grocery and shopping center really the sky is the limit and our main filters making sure everything is institutional quality.
Jim Fried: So it seems to me then that somebody could let say, say they want to be a real estate investor they really don’t want to gear up and create their own real estate operating company, they really don’t want to hire their own accountant they really don’t want to hire your own director of investments, this sounds like a good way where somebody could get a nice overview, invest whatever amount of money is in their sphere of desire and then broaden their product type and geographic face which is almost unheard of for a small real estate investor.
Rob Lee: Yeah I know it’s really exciting actually and I’ve been in the business for a little over 15 years I was an investor broker and helped a lot of guys sell apartment buildings and office buildings and retail shopping centers and a lot of those investors would sell the stuff and then they would have nowhere to go for money or they would go into another deal whether buying up at the top of the market and like you said its expensive to have a platform and hire the people and deal with what we call the 3 T’s; tenants, termites, and trashcans and a lot of investors just don’t want to deal with that, they want kind of a passive income opportunity with the ability to be allocated to portion their portfolio to direct real estate which is not correlated with stocks and bonds like rates are and yeah we’re pretty excited about it.
Jim Fried: So you’re based on San Diego, you have one office but you cover the country with your teams, are there a specific property type that you have more of within your portal or is it kind of a variety.
Rob Lee: Yeah well we actually we are, our headquarters is based in San Diego, California our team is across United States we have over 30 guys on the platform and guys and gals are on the platform and we’re nationwide so we like all product types as long as it is the right time for that product type and the right operator behind the strategy so well choose of breed operator meaning if you’re the best guy in the medical office space or of you’re developing DaVita Dialysis Centers or if our building apartments or buying apartments in Texas or South Carolina wherever you’re at if you’re the best in what you do and you’re call at the top 1% of 2% in that market we’ll take a look at you and if we like what we see and we think you’re institutional quality and investors can make some money with you them we’ll bring on the platform and go from there.
Jim Fried: Well you hit the DaVita Dialysis Centers that something’s that close to my heart we’ve got a, well my wife is in dialysis at the DaVita, they do a heck of a job so it sounds to me like you focus on credit tenants, if people want to get more information on your stuff how do they go about doing that?
Rob Lee: Yeah I think the best to do is go to Silver Portal Direct .com you can learn all about the company Silver Portal Capital.com is our main website and they can reach out to me personally, shoot us an email and I’ll be happy to tell you all about it and help if we can
Jim Fried: Alright well thanks Rob I really do appreciate that we’ve only got about a minute and half left and I really want to give my thoughts on being up here with the conference, I come every year I’ve been a board member for many, many years and I have to say is I asked a lot of leading questions from Tom but it all comes right down to what this means to me in my heart and what it really means to me in my heart is that I get to chance to pay forward to my friends by bringing speakers like Rob to meet with them and we had Tom Handler, you’ve heard Tom on the show we brought him up here to meet with everybody, Nathan Rachels from Inland Securities, the crowd funding folks we’ve just have had a great…