New England is beset with small one-way streets, curvy roads that switch names mid-curve, and traffic jams that put even the worst in Los Angeles to shame. But it’s also full of potential for investors looking to best such challenges with unique retail solutions. Such is the case with Linear Retail Properties. Bill Beckeman, president and CEO, established the company in 2003 with a mission to be an aggregator of smaller, well-located convenience-oriented retail properties in the New England and Greater Boston area. Beckeman said institutional investors typically don’t find great success in buying significant amounts of retail space in New England, mostly because the region doesn’t look like other parts of the country. So he founded Linear Retail Properties with a focus on the region’s distinct profile.
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Thirty days after buying Port America, a mile-long waterfront property along the Potomac River in Prince George’s County, Md., Steven Peterson’s father, Milton, turned to him and said, “Now what do you want to do?” Now the president of The Peterson Companies and in control of the multi-billion-dollar property known as National Harbor, Peterson’s initial response was, “I don’t know.”
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This real estate investment trust takes a slow-and-steady approach to tackling its market to ensure its shareholders see positive returns. In the late 1980s, the board of Connecticut-based Urstadt Biddle Properties put core principles in place to guide the trust’s operations. The first was that the real estate investment trust (REIT) invest in one property type, which is the grocery-anchored shopping center. The second was that the REIT invests in one market, which is the New York suburban area. For the past 20-plus years, Urstadt Biddle has continued to define its portfolio using both of those principles.
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This real estate investment company uses experience, technology, and a hands-on approach to bring success to the properties in its portfolio. What began as an operating company focused on Los Angeles apartment real estate in the 1970s has evolved into a private real estate investment company with 105 retail properties in 23 metropolitan markets across 15 states. Westwood Financial’s evolution, said EVP Randy Banchik, stems from a series of events in Los Angeles that caused the company to shift its portfolio from apartments into smaller, convenience-oriented shopping centers in the early ’80s.
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From retailer to real estate developer to asset manager, this family-owned company continues to grow and succeed due to its colorful history. It’s not often you find a family-owned real estate developer and landlord with a history in retail. But that’s exactly where New Jersey-based Bedrin Organization first planted its seeds. Garret Bedrin’s grandfather, Murray Bedrin, founded the company when he opened a small stationary and office supply company in the Jersey City/Rutherford area of the state. His two sons, Paul and Jerry, joined the business in ’69 and ’72, respectively. Initially called Allied Office Supplies, the company grew into one of the largest privately owned office products companies in the country.
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Attention to detail and a conservative approach to growth have helped this real estate firm steer through rough waters. The real estate industry climate is still a bit challenging for Washington, DC-based real estate firm Combined Properties, but it’s not as bad as it’s been in the past. And although the company sees a light at the end of the tunnel for 2011 as lenders and partners start contacting it to work on new properties, it is still taking a conservative approach when looking at ways to grow.
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Strength in asset management, property management, and leasing is how this real estate investment firm revives struggling retail properties. Even during a time when retail and real estate markets have seen their share of strife, Lamar Companies has demonstrated its propensity for success. A principal investor in retail real estate projects, the company continues to turn around underperforming properties for the benefit of investors, retailers, and local communities.
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Long-term goals and an altruistic set of corporate philosophies have given this real estate development firm decades of success. It might seem odd that realty companies would build something for short-term ownership, but for many in the real estate development industry, the idea is to be what Michael Staenberg calls a hamburger flipper, where a property is built and then promptly sold.
Read more: THF Realty
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