Industry veteran Richard Figueroa recently joined Minnetonka, Minn.-based The Opus Group as its director of capital markets.
Figueroa joins Opus after having worked at Mansur & Company, a Chicago-based real estate investment firm. At Mansur, Figueroa served as director of acquisitions.
Before joining Mansur & Company, Figueroa served as vice president of acquisitions at Orix Real Estate Capital, Inc. He has also served in capital markets roles at Cohen Financial and Jones Lang LaSalle.
Minnesota Real Estate Journal recently spoke with Figueroa about his new position, the future of Opus and the health of the Twin Cities commercial real estate market. Here is some of what he had to say.
Looking at the big picture: The goal for me in this new position is to look at the big picture. We have to manage and enhance all of our equity capital relationships. That involves working hand-in-hand with our current equity partners and identifying new equity partners with whom we can do transactions and development deals. We definitely want to add opportunities for our company going forward. We want a stable of equity partners that we can have long-term relationships with, partners on whom we can rely and call on to do deals as we find them in the marketplace.
A two-pronged strategy: Let’s get the stuff we have in our pipeline done and, at the same time, form new relationships that can help ensure our longer-term success. What Opus has done in the past is very exciting. There have been a lot of really exciting projects that the company has recently completed. My job is to help guide, at least from a capital markets standpoint, us to the point where we can focus on both our existing pipeline and on our longer-term goals. Having the opportunity to work on such an important goal was unique. It was an offer I could not pass up.
A recovering market: We are in the beginning stages now of a recovery. It is a slow and maybe uneven recovery, but it is a recovery. We are trending in the right direction. In light of what we have gone through in the past few years, the market today is showing some real positive signs.
Overbuilding not a problem: The reality is, not much has been built in the past few years. There is an appetite and a need for products today in all forms and product types. Look at multi-family across the country; Institutional capital is willing to commit to multi-family on a development basis. We are very active in that space. We are trending in the right direction, be it build-to-suit or sec building for multi-family. We’re also seeing strong movement in industrial, student housing and medical office.
The student-housing boom: Student housing is a nice product type that has done well during the good times and during the bad times. There is a great demand for student housing in good infill locations. If you can find the student-housing product that fits a campus in the right way, you will be rewarded handsomely.
A long commercial career: I’ve been in commercial real estate, in one form or another, since 1994. That’s going back quite a bit. I’ve been involved on the capital side, the equity and debt-servicing side. I’ve also been involved in it from the acquisitions side, too. One of the things I can do is look at a deal from an equity standpoint, an investor’s standpoint and an owner’s standpoint. I think I now have a unique opportunity to use this experience at Opus.
The plus side of commercial real estate: What I love about commercial real estate is that it is so tangible. It is very real. It’s either building something from scratch or creating value by repositioning an asset or leasing an asset. You get to kick the tires. You get to touch it and feel it. It is very tangible. That is one of the most exciting aspects of it. It’s one of the biggest draws for me.