Symphonic Investments has been frequently called on for our assessments of the economy, to moderate real estate panel discussions and to represent some of the world's most prestigious clients...
Written by Nathan Donato-Weinstein with The Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal, Friday May 23, 2013
I co-founded Cornish & Carey's data center practice in 2006 with Sam Wright. Sam had just sold $100M in data centers and was Cornish's #1 agent, I had just spent 10 years in the telecom/data center industry at MCI (Digex/UUNET/Worldcom) as a carrier BD deal maker and also as a top producing corporate sales manager, selling data center, global WAN and security solutions to CIOs/CFOs, closing $435M in total transactions. Also, the much more likely risk to demand (than geopolitical events) is simply that the largest sources of demand like Facebook pull out of their Santa Clara leases and move into the massive data centers that they've built out of state and out of country. Facebook has been communicating this planned migration for a while. The next largest risk to the data center investor in California is the unpredictable governance of the state, county and local governments. Electric power taxes and additional major tax increases are likely in a state that completely buys into the United Nation's Agenda 21 and Cap & Trade, along with a $275 billion debt. I see more and more ultra successful tax entrepreneurs discovering the beauty of Incline Village, NV. If you'd like to discuss your data center real estate strategy or get help on renegotiating your data center lease, sublease, purchase or sale, please let me know! 650-793-0541.
Written by Nathan Donato-Weinstein with The Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal, Friday May 18, 2012
Demand or oversupply
The valley's data center sector has been red hot during the economic recovery, with big players like Coresite, Digital Realty Trust and Vantage Data Centers all building projects here.
But broker Alex Kent, Managing Director of Symphonic Investments in Burlingame, said all that building has made him cautious about potential local oversupply.
Adding to his caution are broader trends. Some "megatenants" such as Facebook Inc. now choose to build their own data centers, and just-in-time data center "modules" are giving enterprises another option besides leasing, he said.
"When you factor that in, it seems like the gloves are really having to come off in the competition for tenant," Kent said.
Across all of the many residential and commercial real estate brokerage firms in Burlingame, Symphonic received the 2012 Reader's Choice Award from the Burlingame Patch local news website. Alex Kent, Managing Director of Symphonic Investments, has served the market from San Francisco to San Jose since 2005 when he joined Cornish & Carey Commercial as a Vice President.
Alex continues to partner with Cornish & Carey if deeper resources or unique property type or geographic specialty is required on a client engagement. Symphonic Investments and Cornish & Carey recently "co-brokered" on The Harker School's 18 month search for a acquisition property to replace 3800 Blackford, San Jose. The Symphonic and C&C team uniquely delivered 4525 Union Avenue, San Jose to Harker School, which is a 75,000 sf, 8 acre property. "Because Symphonic Investments uniquely specializes in working with government agencies, public schools, private schools and faith-based organizations, we scour this trading pit everyday and were able to bring Harker this opportunity several months before it was ever publicized," stated Alex.
Alex continued, "We've delivered superlative acquisition services to school clients like Harker and also data center developers like The Carlyle Group and Coresite for 6 years now. We go up against the huge, bureaucratic firms like CBRE and Jones Lang LaSalle, and can easily beat them in the school and data center real estate niches. We're not afraid to create the ideal broker team, even if it includes a former Data Center CFO, another data center broker from a competing firm, and a data center technical specialist to assess the equipment of the acquisition target."
Alex Kent, the Managing Director of Symphonic Investments, served as the lead broker in the 18 month acquisition campaign for The Harker School, along with Eric Anderson, Vice President from Cornish & Carey Newmark Knight Frank in Santa Clara. Harker's Head of School, Mr. Chris Nikoloff, called the real estate acquisition, "a major milestone for the school." Symphonic Investments specializes in school and data center real estate, and has closed more school real estate transactions in the Bay Area than any other brokerage firm.
"We started our focus on faith-based and school real estate in 2006 with our listing to sell the church and school at 941 Clyde Avenue in Santa Clara for our client, North Valley Baptist Church. I had invited Eric Anderson, a Vice President with Cornish & Carey Commercial to work on that sale listing, and then we grew our practice from there. We were hired by San Jose Unified School District, multiple times in a row, and closed leases at 34% more revenue than what they were getting on there own - even after our success commission. School real estate is a very difficult, thinly-traded niche market, which creates a good business opportunity if you're able to win enough market share." - Alex Kent, Managing Director, Symphonic Investments
The Harker School was also working with other brokerage firms like CB Richard Ellis, Grubb & Ellis and Cassidy Turley, but none of those firms were able to deliver viable options for Harker. Symphonic Investments' work-ethic and dedication and relationships across the school and faith-based real estate market prevailed against the goliath brokerage competitors, and delivered a unique competitive advantage for Symphonic's client, The Harker School.
Alex Kent, Managing Director of Symphonic Investments, has been actively involved with organizing key events for NAIOP since 2007 like The Summer Recruiting Party at The Olympic Club, The Holiday Party at Top of The Mark, and the Real Estate Insider series. "Our firm has really enjoyed and benefited from NAIOP's world-class expert panel discussions and networking opportunities, and we're thrilled to be able to support the local chapter to continue it's important work in the commercial real estate industry", says Mr. Kent.
Learn more about NAIOP's upcoming events.
When you look at the Forbes 400 and notice that a majority of its members made their billions at least partially from commercial real estate investments, you should be reminded that these families built their empires over decades, and in most cases, over generations.
Commercial real estate investments provide investors with the benefits of: 1) on-going income, 2) mortgage interest and depreciation write-offs, 3) and appreciation through market inflation or through higher density, use entitlement lobbying.
You should consider investing in real estate markets that will enjoy strong long-term job creation and population growth. For example, The San Francisco Bay Area is expected to grow by 1,700,000 over the next 25 years by 2035. This is partially due to fact that 44% of all Venture Capital investments made in the United States were made in The Bay Area. These VC investments directly create jobs, which drive the entire Bay Area economy - especially demand for both residential and commercial real estate.
If you are 45 years old today, 25 years is about the correct time-line you should consider your real estate investments for. When you are 70, you'll likely be fully retired and enjoying the very low cost basis of your investment with the low property taxes and fully depreciated asset that's sheltered your lease income and other forms of income over the years.
Smart, conservative, and very wealthy family groups wouldn't be caught without a strong 15-20% allocation of their assets into commercial real estate. Even the most conservative pension funds are finally realizing that they cannot survive the volatility of the modern stock & bond markets, without diversification into real estate.
For a more thorough discussion of your investment strategy, and how real estate can benefit your long-term returns, please contact Alex Kent, Managing Director, Symphonic Investments. firstname.lastname@example.org 650-793-0541.
Panel Discussion Moderated by Alex Kent, February 11th, 2009
Alex Kent '03 created and moderated a panel discussion for the alumni clubs of Chicago-Booth, Columbia, Duke-Fuqua, Harvard GSB, Kellogg, Stanford GSB, Wharton at the St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco.
Alex Kent '03 - Founder and Managing Director, Symphonic Investments
Ron Sann '94 - Founder and Principal, Ratel Investments
Erik Doyle - President, Cornish & Carey
Scott Peterson '87 - SVP Acquisitions, Digital Realty Trust
Written by Mark Heschmeyer, September 17, 2008
"The most immediate impact on commercial real estate markets will likely be further stagnation of both investment and leasing deal flow. Both investors and corporate real estate executives will turn to a "wait and see" strategy. Lehman, Merrill Lynch, AIG etc, will likely start to sell their commercial real estate assets to raise capital, which should increase investment supply and put downward pressure on selling prices."
-Alex Kent, Managing Director of Symphonic Investments
Written by Mark Heschmeyer, July 23, 2008
"The impact of inflation on commercial re will depend on how much landlords increase their rent in response to inflation.
In the near term, full service leases will be devalued as energy cost are absorbed by the landlord.
With most new leases being NNN, inflation may value up building near public transportation and devalue those further out.
Inflation will probably cause the fed to increase interest rates, which will improve the appeal of bonds, and increase the cost of real estate investments. The total number of investors will be lessened creating more concentration in the ownership of properties."
-Alex Kent, Managing Director of Symphonic Investments
Panel Discussion Created and Moderated by Alex Kent, May 15, 2008
Corenet held a panel discussion, including former Cisco VP, Corporate Real Estate, Mark Golan, Sun Microsystems Sr. Director, Real Estate, Dean Nelson, Syska Hennessey Norcal Head, Phillip Curtis, and others for a capacity crowd at Google's Mountain View Campus.
The Carlyle Group / CRG West started working with Alex Kent in January 2006 under contract to identify and assess off-market datacenter real estate investments in several national markets, resulting in the successful acquisition of a $XX M property.
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