It’s hard to believe we are already halfway through 2022 but adapting to the challenges posed by the post-pandemic world surely causes time to fly! At Mohr Capital, we started off the year in a big way, by expanding our investment strategy with the acquisition of the 350-room DoubleTree by Hilton Austin, our first entry into the hospitality sector.
We’ve had an interest in this vertical for quite a while and feel this is the perfect time to execute that strategy. Hospitality provides an excellent hedge against rising inflation, thanks to the ability to increase rents daily and grow revenue on par with expenses. We will still need to diligently manage operating expenses as inflation will also put upward pressure on many product and service costs. We are in a challenging labor market for hospitality, but this is a highly successful hotel, so we are optimistic we can achieve substantial returns.
In addition to this new vertical, we continue to ramp up our industrial development. We have 7 million square feet of industrial construction underway and plan to build more than $1.1 billion worth of speculative industrial properties across the country. Our goal is to have all of our current industrial development out of the ground in the next two years.
We have a deep understanding of the industrial market and NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association (the leading organization for developers and owners) recently recognized our development work with the publication of an article by our Chief Development Officer Gary Horn.
NAIOP (with more than 20,000 members) advocates for responsible commercial real estate development and effective public policy. They outlined how Mohr Capital worked with the town of Whiteland, Indiana, by partnering with clients and city leaders to find innovative ways to overcome challenges and create an outcome that benefitted everyone. Our client, Cooper Tire and Rubber Co., needed a larger facility but wanted to stay in the area and keep its employee base. That’s where our team used outside-the-box strategies to find a great location that exceeded their needs while also creating an employment hub that will boost the local economy. We made a positive contribution to the community while building out our top-notch Mohr Logistics Park, the largest industrial park built in Indianapolis over the last 10 years, which will contain more than 6.7 million square feet at build-out.
With the macro conditions we’re seeing in the market now, I anticipate property operating expenses will continue to go up, especially on industrial properties. Tenant rent escalations in some of the top industrial markets have already reached 4% annually and in New Jersey they are talking about increasing another half-point to 4.5%. For tenants seeing their annual bumps go from 3% to 4%, that extra 1% annually on a 300,000-square-foot building at $5 NNN over 10-years adds another $813,000 of rental expense. Now imagine that on a portfolio of 15 buildings! Obviously, it compounds quickly. In advising users, we remind them to keep a close eye on real estate-related operating expenses and pass-throughs.
The industrial market got so competitive at one point that tenants and prospective buyers were approaching us to purchase our buildings before construction was even completed and before we had a tenant. We sold one property before the roof went on. Transactions like these, known as “forwards,” won’t be seen again for a while. However, it is more important than ever for tenants to evaluate their total industrial network or U.S. footprint as industrial vacancy rates remain at all-time low levels. This can make expansion or future property acquisitions more difficult.
In California, New York and New Jersey, industrial rents are running up to $14 NNN and higher. It wasn’t long ago that rents in these same markets were averaging $8 per square foot.
Industrial and multifamily have obviously been the hottest real estate sectors so far in 2022. As we look at where to invest, Mohr Capital is focusing a good deal of energy out west because of the high barriers to entry.
Our firm has gone through substantial growth and Mohr Capital’s latest move into the hospitality industry is very exciting for us. We anticipate more hospitality opportunities in high-growth markets like our acquisition in Austin while exploring the possibility of bifurcating some of these assets.
Rising prices and mounting interest rates may dominate the headlines, but investment opportunities are still out there. In today’s environment, you just have to work harder to find them.
Founder & Chairman
Bob Mohr, founder and chairman, Mohr Capital: “For investment teams buying or selling right now, the recent volatility in the debt markets has affected the ability of some lenders to maintain their pricing on current transactions, which in turn has put pressure on investors' yield.
Mohr Capital currently has over $300 million of transactions trading now, so we are moving very quickly.
Spring 2022 Issue
By Gary Horn
The new Cooper Tire and Rubber Co. warehouse and distribution center in Whiteland, Indiana, along with the 475-plus-acre Mohr Logistics Park, is bringing new employment opportunities and economic growth to this small town of 4,400 people 20 minutes south of Indianapolis.
Dallas-based Mohr Capital focuses on the development of large-scale projects across the nation and has extensive experience working with municipalities and townships. Despite its familiarity working with town managers and city planners, as well as its understanding of the intricacies of comprehensive plans, bringing the Cooper Tire project and Mohr Logistics Park to fruition required creativity, patience and cooperation.
Findlay, Ohio-based Cooper Tire and Rubber Co. is a long-term client of Mohr Capital. The firm built the tire manufacturer’s former 807,042-square-foot facility in Franklin, Indiana. At the time of construction 12 years ago, it was the largest LEED-certified building in the United States.
Even though Mohr and Cooper Tire designed and developed the facility to be operational for several decades, the company outgrew the space. Additionally, changes in the supply chain market made operations at the facility challenging, especially as it related to trailer storage capacity. The existing site could not accommodate Cooper’s growth. As the lease expiration approached, Mohr began searching for a replacement property that better suited Cooper Tire’s long-term needs and could provide better economics.
To meet Cooper Tire’s growth expectations and operational needs, it required a minimum of 60 acres to build a facility with more square footage and more trailer parking. Moreover, the company wanted to remain in the county or the immediate vicinity because of its existing workforce, which boasts a labor pool of 30,550 potential workers within a 30-minute commute.
Cooper Tire’s site selection team, led by Mohr Capital, searched for two years to find the right location and available land for the new facility. The site Mohr identified was located in Whiteland, a small town of about 4,400 residents. It is situated five miles south of I-465 off I-65.
The site of the new location is also close to I-70 — only 19 miles away — and other logistics hubs: 25 miles to Indianapolis International Airport’s FedEx hub and 102 miles to the UPS hub in Louisville, Kentucky.
Additionally, the site is eight miles north of Cooper Tire’s previous facility in Franklin, Indiana, and is surrounded by industrial uses — two truck stops are nearby and an Amazon fulfillment facility is just across the road.
Prior to construction, there were only two industrial facilities in Whiteland. Mohr Logistics Park, at full buildout, will contain more than 6 million square feet spread across eight to 10 buildings.
Mohr broke ground on the 996,930-square-foot warehouse in June 2020. It was ready for occupancy in January 2021, ahead of schedule and under budget. Cooper Tire’s facility sits on 61 acres and serves as the company’s distribution hub for the Midwest region.
Cooper Tire signed a 12-year lease and achieved $15 million in relocation savings through below-market rent equal to $10 million over the lease term, as well as a real and personal property tax abatement valued at more than $5 million.
The Cooper Tire project is unique, not only because of its size — it’s the largest warehouse in Johnson County, as of January 2022 — but also because it stores and distributes tires.
Tire facilities have unique design and construction requirements. Because rubber is potentially flammable and tires are kept within portable steel modular racking, tire storage buildings are limited to 32-foot clear heights, less than typical warehouse facilities being built today. They also must meet special fire code provisions including specific sprinkler heads, interior fire walls and water supply requirements. These may include the addition of a supplemental water tank to augment municipal supply, among other safety features.
While some developers won’t consider building facilities for tire manufacturing or tire storage because of the distinct and lasting odor and fire danger, Mohr has developed more than 5 million square feet of tire distribution centers for major tire manufacturers. It is crucial to work with these manufacturers to find solutions to their specific challenges, including high pile storage, and it is important to study and understand municipal overlays that impact tire distribution centers.
Using its own capital, Mohr invested $43 million in the building, including $4.7 million to buy the property. Meanwhile, Cooper Tire invested $10 million to install new portable steel modular racking systems and other equipment in the facility.
A portion of the land Mohr identified for Cooper Tire had been optioned by developers in the past, but the overall land assemblage for the industrial park was a matter of Mohr being in the right place at the right time. Since the developer was able to aggregate hundreds of acres, a large-scale industrial park made sense, so it quickly capitalized on the opportunity.
As of January 2022, Mohr was under development on five speculative buildings within Mohr Logistics Park: an 827,000-square-foot warehouse, which is now complete and under lease discussions, a 1.057-million-square-foot warehouse, an 845,000-square-foot warehouse, and two 125,000-square-foot warehouse/manufacturing buildings.
Mohr will develop the park in several phases consisting of additional land acquisitions and the construction of four to five additional speculative facilities. Two of the planned buildings will be at least 1 million square feet, while the remaining two buildings could be as large as 350,000 square feet.
Mohr’s corporate leasing team is currently negotiating with two large users — an e-commerce company and a third-party logistics company. In addition, Mohr is in discussion with a smaller food-grade user and an e-commerce distribution company in need of a 1.4 million-square-foot facility.
The e-commerce companies would bring 1,000 jobs each to Whiteland and invest $150 million to outfit the facilities with conveyors and robotics. One potential occupier, which is currently operating out of Indianapolis, intends to establish a corporate campus in Mohr Logistics Park, initially leasing one building and optioning three more buildings.
Like most municipalities, the town of Whiteland had a comprehensive plan that outlined its future commercial and residential growth. However, that plan didn’t take into account the economic opportunities a substantial development like Mohr Logistics Park could bring to the area.
After Mohr presented its vision for the master-planned industrial park and participated in several meetings to address resident questions, the town of Whiteland took several steps to accommodate the project. Specifically, it annexed 340 acres from unincorporated Johnson County and rezoned the land to light industrial.
Originally, Whiteland zoned the land for agricultural and residential use. Several acres were owned by local farmers, and one was an apple orchard that was fallow and unproductive when Mohr moved to acquire it.
Meanwhile, Mohr needed to relocate several long-term homeowners to accommodate Mohr Logistics Park. Mohr offered the landowners well above appraisal values and worked with the sellers to accommodate scheduling requirements for their relocation at no cost.
While the U.S. Corps of Engineers identified only 2.97 acres as officially protected wetlands, Mohr plans to donate a large tract to the town of Whiteland for recreational use, walking trails and a park. This area is located in the wooded area behind a cluster of homes east of Cooper Tire’s building.
The Cooper Tire facility, and Mohr Logistics Park overall, could be seen as an example of a successful public-private partnership.
Mohr representatives attended upwards of 15 public hearings and meetings to get to know council members, community leaders and neighbors and share its vision of the industrial park.
Though the project generated some resistance from homeowners and residents who prized the surrounding farmland and opposed new development, Mohr worked hard to gain support from the town and its residents. Given the size of the project, the company knew community cooperation was critical, and it overcame resistance by listening to concerns and making several development accommodations.
Many residents and town council members expressed enthusiasm about Mohr’s vision to develop a master-planned industrial park rather than a series of one-off buildings, or a disparate and disjointed collection of warehouses. The company aims to create a cohesive and consistent look and feel that encompasses abundant landscaping, signage, building design, roadway improvements and building colors.
Mohr increased its budget for additional landscaping on this project, spending roughly 50% more than it usually does in order to create a park-like environment. It also invested in berming, extensive setbacks from residents and landscape buffering to shield views of the buildings and create separation from the industrial park and any residential uses in the area.
Additionally, Mohr took on roadway improvements, utilities, sewer upgrades and water distribution management. The company modified two sharp 90-degree turns on a critical access road, turning them into a softer “S” curve to accommodate vehicular traffic and tractor trailers. The company also expanded and resurfaced all roads within Mohr Logistics Park.
As part of the development, Mohr created a comprehensive drainage plan for the entire park. When the company rebuilt the access road described above, it took an extra step by adding drains into the resident’s yards across the street that tied into the larger overall drainage system of ditches and detention areas. The solution will help prevent flooding and oversaturation, thereby achieving “positive” drainage.
In May 2020, the Whiteland Town Council voted unanimously to declare 121 acres of Mohr Logistics Park an Economic Revitalization Area and authorized a 10-year tax break on real property. Over the course of 10 years, the town will abate 49.5% of the taxes for a total of $5.3 million. The town will also collect $5.4 million in new property tax dollars, compared to the $862,680 that it would have collected during the same period on the 123-acre vacant lot.
Mohr made a diligent effort to honor the community by developing quality assets and attracting quality tenants. Additionally, the company has worked to weave itself into the fabric of the community by getting involved with several private and public organizations.
Mohr sponsors Whiteland Community High School’s football team, basketball team and track team, and plans to purchase new walkie-talkies for the town’s police force. So far, the company has donated approximately $15,000 to various organizations and programs in Whiteland.
Mohr is committed to being a partner of the Whiteland community for many years to come. The company and the park will continue to contribute to the area, creating additional sources of tax revenue and employment.
Mohr Capital, a Dallas-based privately held real estate investment firm, sold $65 million of deals over the past 80 days. This includes the recent sale of a 102,466-square-foot industrial building in Gilroy, California, to Four Springs Capital Trust. Mohr Capital sold two additional office buildings in Florida and Wisconsin, totaling more than 292,000 square feet of space, leading into 2022.
Located at 8190 Murray Ave., the property is fully leased to Crothall Healthcare. This mission-critical facility provides state-of-the-art laundry processing services to Northern California hospital systems, enabling them to continue providing medical care to patients. Kevin Moul with Colliers San Jose represented Mohr Capital throughout the transaction.
“We are pleased to have worked closely with Four Springs Capital Trust on this transaction. As our third transaction with Four Springs over the last 12 months, this transaction speaks to our deep partnership with Four Springs that we hope continues,” said Rodrigo Godoi, managing director of investments for Mohr Capital. “Mission-critical facilities that serve regional hospitals like this still provide value in a market where occupiers and investors are redeveloping dysfunctional R&D product to suit their needs. We’re pleased with the performance of this property, and we hope to continue to invest in the Bay Area’s bustling industrial market in the future.”
Additionally, Mohr sold a two-story, 78,449-square-foot office building in Orlando’s Lee Vista Center business park to Falcon Global Real Estate Advisors. Located at 6272 Lee Vista Blvd., the building is fully leased to Accredo Health Group Inc., an Express Scripts company and subsidiary of the global health service company, Cigna. Prior to the sale, Mohr Capital worked with CBRE and CIGNA to secure CIGNA’s long-term occupancy while at the same time lowering its occupancy costs.
Mohr also sold Riverwood Corporate Center II in Pewaukee, Wisconsin, in an off-market transaction to IRA Capital. The office building is fully occupied by ProHealth Care, the largest healthcare provider between Milwaukee and Madison. Shortly after acquiring the building, Mohr Capital worked closely with ProHealth to secure its long-term occupancy at the property through 2032.
“These three transactions support our trajectory to be a leading investor in mission-critical industrial and office facilities for the healthcare field,” said Bob Mohr, founder and CEO of Mohr Capital. “We are always on the lookout for cutting-edge investment opportunities, and these sales were a great start to 2022.”
A new year has begun, and if you’re like most people, you’re happy to close the books on 2021. However, while the pandemic persists and new variants trigger new waves of uncertainty every few months, it would be a mistake to think there isn’t – and won’t continue to be – plenty of opportunity in the commercial real estate markets.
For our part, Mohr Capital capitalized on this opportunity, marking one of the most productive years in our firm’s history. In 2021, we completed 18 transactions for a total deal volume of $250 million – an increase of 35% over the previous year. Our work in industrial development is an obvious standout, but despite a sluggish 2021 for the office and retail markets, we were still able to create and realize value on our investments.
How did we do it? By nurturing and growing a formidable team comprised of the smartest and most innovative commercial real estate professionals in the industry. With over a century of combined experience, we leverage our expertise to deploy capital in strategic ways that center around the occupancy costs of our tenants – regardless of the market sector.
Below is a rundown of our 2021 investment activity with some commentary that will give you insight into our investment strategy and the expertise of our people. I hope that your 2021 was equally successful, and I look forward to seeing what 2022 has in store.
Founder & Chairman
The industrial real estate market continued to see record demand and asking rents throughout 2021. Much of the demand was due to a steadily improving economy, growing e-commerce sales, and the trend toward building safety stock. Mohr Capital took advantage of this white-hot market through ongoing and new developments, as well as dispositions of well-placed facilities.
On the investment side, we took advantage of low cap rates, selling a combined 474k-SF of industrial space in Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Michigan City, Indiana, to realize gains that we redeployed into new industrial deals throughout the year.
On the development side we completed, delivered and leased over 1.8 MSF of industrial space in our master-planned industrial park, Mohr Logistics Park, in Whiteland, Indiana, with an additional 3 MSF of speculative development under construction now. We also entered the Southwest markets, closing on land in the Reno-Sparks metro area and starting construction on a 596k-SF speculative development. Just before the end of the year, we also closed on an additional 50-acre site in Surprise, Arizona, for another speculative property.
We expect to deliver an additional 7 MSF of industrial space in the next two years in the Indiana, Nevada, and Phoenix markets. Through our development starts and strategic land acquisitions in 2021, we created a future industrial portfolio value to be realized in the next three years in excess of $700M.
Our industrial transactions and development activities last year included:
We completed construction of a 996k-SF build-to-suit warehouse for Cooper Tire in February 2021, and began speculative development on a 1 MSF warehouse, two 800k-SF warehouses, and two 125k-SF warehouses. Once complete, the Park will boast an estimated 6.5 million square feet of industrial space.
We completed build-to-suit development on GAF Materials’ 200k-SF facility with 23 acres of storage capacity in December of 2020. We sold the property in an off-market deal to Four Springs Capital Trust in March 2021.
We sold a 160k-SF last-mile facility and an adjacent 20-acre parking lot occupied by Amazon in Austin’s MetCenter Business Park in May 2021. Four Springs Capital Trust bought the property in an off-market deal, which CoStar called the “priciest of its kind in Texas.”
We closed on a 40-acre site in Reno-Sparks’ high-profile Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center and began speculative development on a 596k-SF facility in June 2021.
We sold a 113k-SF industrial flex building occupied by Frontier Communications and Transcendia to Cabot Properties in October 2021. We originally acquired the property in 2010 and replaced the roof of the entire building, among other capital expenditures.
We closed on a 50-acre site within Summit Business Park in Surprise, Arizona, and plan to break ground on a 700k-SF speculative development in June 2022.
Throughout 2021, the office market continued to struggle as COVID-19 caused corporate tenants to either stall or reconsider their plans for returning to the office. The recently-emerged Omicron variant appears to be the most contagious yet, and poses an ongoing threat to the office market. However, while we expect COVID-19 to continue to cause hesitation among tenants, the continued economic recovery should offset some of this in 2022.
Despite the ongoing pandemic, Mohr Capital’s office investments team performed well above expectations, acquiring and divesting a profitable 112k-SF building which served as the headquarters for one of the largest healthcare providers in Wisconsin.
Our strategy of acquiring single-tenant, mission-critical facilities that began in 2020 continued in 2021. Toward the end of the year, we took advantage of a spike in medical office building investment activity, selling a much sought-after facility in Orlando and acquiring another in San Antonio.
In the new year, we’ll hone our focus on office properties that we believe will continue to outperform the broader office market.
Our office transactions in 2021 included:
We acquired a Class A, 112k-SF office building and executed a 10-year lease with ProHealth Care, a leading healthcare provider in Wisconsin. The lease enabled us to create occupancy cost reductions for ProHealth and sell the property prior to the close of the year.
We acquired a 38k-SF multi-tenant medical office building directly adjacent to the city’s iconic Alamo Quarry Market and west of Alamo Heights, one of the most prosperous neighborhoods in San Antonio. Building occupants include Methodist Health System, Methodist Physicians Practice and Eating Recovery Center, among other medical tenants.
We acquired a mission-critical 78k-SF medical office building fully occupied by Accredo Health in December 2020, after working with its parent company, Cigna, and CBRE to negotiate the company’s long-term occupancy requirements. We sold the property in December 2021.
While retail was arguably the hardest hit asset class in 2020, the market did see some resurgence in 2021. Indeed, as more people opted to avoid the crowds and eat take-out, restaurants that could satisfy this demand saw their best numbers ever. In Q1 and Q2, single and multi-tenant cap rates continued to compress as 1031 buyers engaged in a flight to quality, while large shopping centers failed to move as quickly due to ongoing struggles with credit among mom-and-pop retailers.
In 2020, the focus for Mohr Capital was acquiring existing assets, providing rent relief and extending leases. In 2021, we shifted gears, selling well-positioned properties in core major markets in Ohio and Texas, and focusing our efforts on building programmatic relationships with credit retailers and starting build-to-suit projects in Oklahoma City and the Denver metro area.
This year, we’ll continue to seek build-to-suit opportunities with retailers that have continued to fare well throughout the pandemic like quick-serve restaurants and financial institutions, as well as look for opportunities in grocery-anchored retail centers.
Our retail transactions in 2021 included:
In 2019, we acquired the ground lease on a one-acre outparcel in a highly visible, high-performing location across the street from Fort Steuben Mall, 40 miles west of Pittsburgh. After providing Texas Roadhouse initial rent relief and securing an extended lease term, we sold the ground lease in March 2021 as the operator experienced a rise in sales due to vaccinations and the easing of social restrictions.
We acquired an existing Taco Bueno restaurant in Oklahoma City – blocks away from Oklahoma City University – for redevelopment as a Dutch Bros Coffee, marking our first retail investment in Oklahoma. The build-to-suit development is currently under construction and scheduled for completion this year.
In 2020, we acquired an existing 7 Leguas Mexican Restaurant building just northwest of The Woodlands. After razing the site and splitting it into two pads, we secured a 20-year ground lease with Regions Bank and a 20-year lease on a build-to-suit with Chipotle. We sold the Regions’ ground lease in May 2021 and completed and sold the Chipotle redevelopment in September 2021.
We closed on the build-to-suit development of a 4k-SF BOK Financial branch in the Denver metro area. We secured a 15-year lease, and the building is slated to open later this year.
Returning as a repeat honoree, DCEO included Mohr in its seventh annual Dallas 500 publication, a rigorously curated list of the city’s most powerful business leaders. And it’s no wonder why; in 2021 Bob drove Mohr Capital to new heights, transacting on $250 million of office, retail and industrial business – a 35% increase year over year. Mohr Capital has over 6 million square feet of speculative development under construction now.
The 2022 edition of Dallas 500 included Q&As with honorees which showcased their business prowess, as well as their personalities. Since the print magazine features only a snippet of Bob’s interview with D CEO, we’ve included the Q&A in its entirety below.
What have been some company or organization highlights in the past year or so?
In the 12 months between July 2020 and June 2021, Mohr Capital closed on a total of 17 transactions.
In the second half of 2020 alone, when the economy was still reeling from COVID-19, our team transacted on 8 deals located in Dallas and across the country. Five new acquisitions consisted of well-located, premier industrial land sites to fuel our industrial development activities in 2021 and beyond.
We continued the momentum we built in 2020 throughout 2021, completing 18 transactions totaling $250 million in deal volume. I’ll be sharing a full deal breakdown of our annual performance in my newsletter, “From the Desk of Bob Mohr.”
How would you rate investor appetite in DFW assets and do particular product types stand out?
Dallas is one of the top investor markets in the country for industrial and multi-family. Industrial is especially hot here, with 38 million square feet currently under construction.
What piece of advice has had the greatest impact on your career?
“Your reputation is everything.”
What are some of your favorite destinations/places to visit?
Portofino, Italy; Telluride, Colorado; and Punta Mita, Mexico.
If you could drive any car for a day, what would it be and why?
My restored 1949 Ford truck. It reminds me of Indiana and my family back home there.
Do you have a second home? If so, where is it and why did you choose that location?
Telluride, Colorado, is my “happy place.” Great for golfing, hiking, and escaping the Texas heat during the summer and snowboarding all winter.
What has you most excited about the future?
The tremendous business upside for our industrial and late-stage technology investments.
As you enter your office, what would you choose to be your walk-up/theme song, and why?
“Stayin’ Alive,” by The Bee Gees.
What do you do for fun? Any passions or hobbies?
I have been snowboarding and wakesurfing for the past 25 years. I also enjoy high-marking on my snowmobile in the mountains of Colorado.
What is your favorite DFW-area restaurant, and what do you order?
Bob’s Steak & Chophouse. Great service thanks to Ashley & Karen, and the best steak in town. It’s nice to have Bob Sambol back as well.
Interested in seeing who else made the Dallas 500 list? The 2022 edition is available now from D Magazine.
Mohr Capital has welcomed Doug Swain as senior vice president of development and opened a new development office in Indianapolis.
Swain will lead the firm’s new office where he will be responsible for sourcing and directing build-to-suit and speculative development projects in the Midwest. He is the latest new hire to join Mohr Capital’s growing development division, following the 2021 recruitment of Senior Vice President Tom Theobald, National Director of Land Acquisitions Lee Loftis and Analyst Carson Horn. The firm now maintains development offices in Dallas, Phoenix and Indianapolis with plans to open an additional office in another Southeast market.
“We’re pleased to welcome Doug to the firm,” said Mohr Capital Chief Development Officer Gary Horn. “He joins our development team at a pivotal time in the industrial market when demand continues to exceed supply. With millions of square feet of industrial development under his belt and long-held relationships with users and brokers in the region, we’re excited to have him head up our Indianapolis office and continue to grow Mohr Capital’s presence in the Midwest.”
Swain has more than 30 years of commercial real estate industry experience, including work on speculative and build-to-suit developments, redevelopments, land acquisitions, property acquisitions and dispositions, and portfolio management. Over his long and successful career, he has been involved in millions of square feet of industrial development and millions of dollars in commercial transactions.
“Mohr Capital is an established player in industrial development, and I’m pleased to join such a dynamic and well-respected team,” said Swain. “Being with a developer with a single source of capital, I now have the bandwidth to pursue any development and make swift decisions that positively impact a development, fulfill the needs of a user or potential user, and work with local governments to forge strong and lasting relationships.”
Prior to joining Mohr Capital, Swain served as vice president/general manager of The Opus Group’s Indianapolis office where he led the development of over 10 million square feet of industrial product, including a 1.5-million-square-foot build-to-suit for ConAgra and multiple developments in Indianapolis, Columbus, Cincinnati and Louisville. Prior to that, Swain was with DHL/Exel Supply Chain as its senior director of North America real estate solutions; First Industrial Trust as Indianapolis regional director and, later, vice president of operations—central region US; and Heitman Properties as leasing director.
Swain is actively involved in the NAIOP Development Association, where he serves as current governor and trustee of the NAIOP Research Foundation. He previously served as president and founder of NAIOP’s Indiana chapter and was a past member of its National Board of Directors. Swain is also actively involved in the Industrial Asset Management Council (IAMC) and the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR). He earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from The Ohio State University and is a licensed real estate broker in Ohio.
Mohr Capital develops speculative and build-to-suit office, industrial and retail properties for users across the nation. The firm’s largest development to date is Mohr Logistics Park – a 475+ acre master-planned, industrial park in Whiteland, Indiana. When complete, the Park will boast an estimated 6.3 million square feet of industrial space.
When it comes to Texas and technology, people invariably think of Austin. And while it’s true the Capital City attracts a lot of tech talent and tech companies, it’s a mistake to overlook Dallas-Fort Worth, which is a tech hub in its own right.
Consider this: 14 Dallas-area companies ranked in Deloitte’s 2021 Technology Fast 500, an annual ranking of the fastest-growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences, fintech, and energy tech companies in North America. Only 10 Austin companies made the list.
Technology is fueling DFW’s economic engine. As more companies in the metro hire tech talent to expand their business, the impact is rippling throughout DFW’s real estate markets, generating demand for housing, retail, industrial, and healthcare properties.
Is every company a tech company?
In DFW, tech employment is dispersed among a wide range of industries, from financial services to e-commerce. Moreover, the lines that define technology are blurring. Today, a vast majority of companies could be considered technology firms, based on the critical role technology plays in their operations.
For example, most people would agree that Texas Instruments is a tech company. It is expanding in North Texas with plans to build up to four new manufacturing plants in Sherman. The 300-millimeter semiconductor wafer fabrication plants could result in a potential $30 billion investment from TI. They could also support as many as 3,000 jobs once complete.
But what about Charles Schwab or Walmart? Though Schwab is a well-known financial services firm, it is adding 180 tech-specific roles in North Texas to handle the influx of new brokerage accounts it has seen during the pandemic. It already employs more than 5,100 people across DFW including 2,800 at its Westlake corporate campus. These new jobs are part of the company’s push to hire 700 tech positions nationally.
At the close of the third quarter, the industrial market broke “every” U.S. record. Vacancy is at 3.6% and 450 million square feet is under construction with 1/3 of that pre-leased, while 300 million square feet has been absorbed already in 2021.
Industrial development has been a key component of our business for some time. Unlike other fair-weather investor-developers who are chasing a hot market, Mohr Capital has been working with corporate users to build or occupy industrial facilities for more than 20 years.
Our experience sets us apart – as well as a single source of capital that allows us to move quickly to get out of the ground while demand remains high. When it comes to our track record, we let our long history of development do the talking.
However, beyond the pandemic’s impact on the sector, I also think it’s important for us to share our knowledge with industry colleagues and corporate users on other variables impacting industrial development like land prices and availability, the risks of acquiring unimproved sites, the trend toward tilt-wall construction, and how “user” friendly right-turn-only sites with expansive trailer parking are all the rage.
For our “tenant-side” partners, market rents seem to be increasing by 10% throughout the country, so quicker decisions and long-range planning will be required to control occupancy cost. This is especially true as the supply chain problems will take a year or more to work their way through the system.
Insight like this can only come from long-time industrial professionals. To expand on this effort, Mohr Capital has also launched a dedicated land acquisitions team to push development efforts into overdrive with prospects in Reno and Fernley, NV, Phoenix, Indianapolis, Dallas and Ohio.
Until then, Mohr Capital is well-positioned to take advantage of the industrial real estate segment and to monetize these opportunities for our corporate clients.
Founder & Chairman
In August, Mohr Capital brought on an experienced land pro, Lee Loftis, to head up our land acquisitions practice. A month later, we grew that team, welcoming analyst Carson Horn to work with Lee to identify, entitle and close on land sites in key markets, including Dallas, Austin, Columbus, Savannah, Charleston, Charlotte, Lakeland and Phoenix.
In September, we secured a lease extension and expansion with Arrive Logistics at our MetCenter flex space in Austin. The facility serves as headquarters for the leading Austin-based freight brokerage, and as part of its long-term growth plans, we worked with Arrive to expand its occupancy from 78,000 SF to 116,000 SF through December 2031.
Also in September, I sat down with Clayton King of King Capital to talk about how Mohr Capital has managed to thrive during the pandemic when many CRE firms have struggled. We also dived into the state of retail, industrial and office segments, and I shared my take on what’s currently impacting each segment and what the future holds.
The industrial market in Indianapolis is growing at a record-setting pace, and it’s also home to Mohr Logistics Park, a 475+ acre master-planned industrial park. I recently spoke with Mickey Shuey of the Indianapolis Business Journal to give an update on our park and discuss why companies are turning to Indianapolis to satisfy their need for more space.
In early November, I joined CBRE's Jack Fraker, Hillwood Properties' Tom Fishman, and Dalfen Industrial's Sean Dalfen to discuss trends shaping the industrial market in Dallas and across the nation. The panel session was part of Bisnow's DFW Industrial and Logistics Outlook, and I enjoyed the lively discussion with my fellow panelists, as well as hearing from other DFW-area industrial players.
Mohr Capital has sold an industrial flex building occupied by Frontier Communications and Trancendia in Carrollton, Texas.
The 113,786-SF building is located at 2001 Westgate Drive in the Northwest Dallas industrial submarket. The property is 75% occupied by Frontier Communications, a publicly traded telecommunications corporation based in Connecticut, and 25% occupied by Transcendia, a manufacturer and converter of custom-engineered materials based in Illinois.
“In 2021, the Dallas-Fort Worth industrial market has seen three consecutive quarters of record demand, making the opportunity to sell this property particularly appealing,” said Gary Horn, chief development officer for Mohr Capital. “Our capital expenditures and the healthy state of asking rents in the market right now make this property a sound investment for the new owner and a strategic site for the tenants in the coming years.”
Mohr Capital acquired the industrial flex building in 2010 on behalf of Verizon Communications, securing a 10-year lease extension with a 20,000-SF expansion. During its ownership, Mohr replaced the roof of the entire building and made other capital expenditures, substantially improving the property for Verizon’s use. In April 2016, Frontier completed its acquisition of Verizon’s wireline operations and assumed its occupancy in the Carrollton building to date.
“By listening closely to our tenant’s needs and capitalizing early on a growing asset class in Dallas-Fort Worth, we were able to maintain a long-term investment in our portfolio that proved to be mutually beneficial,” said Bob Mohr, chairman of Mohr Capital. “The sale has enabled us to monetize this long-held asset and redeploy capital into new industrial deals in key markets across the country.”
Cabot Properties acquired the building through its Cabot Industrial Value Fund VI Operating Partnership L.P. JLL Senior Managing Director Dustin Volz and Managing Director Stephen Bailey represented Mohr Capital in the transaction.