Profile of a Legend – Gerald Hines

Posted: February 10, 2017 by Eli Randel, Director of Business Development


Gerald Hines, the famed developer and investor, developed some of the nation’s most iconic buildings, set new industry standards for building quality, and would ultimately build what’s been affectionately called a “complex empire” in reference to the complexity of his developments and his net worth of an estimated $1.3B

Born in Gary Indiana and eventually receiving a degree from Purdue University in Mechanical Engineering, Hines would begin his real estate career in Houston around 1957 as a side business to his engineering career. He mostly built warehouses and small office buildings until he received a big break in 1967 when Shell Oil Company hired him to build their headquarters in Downtown Houston.

Like most developers in the late 60s Hines began by borrowing money to develop and then keeping profits once his development was sold. It was considered foolish at the time to use your own capital to build. Hines would buck that trend and risk his entire net worth of $5MM to build the Houston Galleria Mall. Eventually Hines would use a development model similar to what we see today by raising outside equity while retaining about 10-20% and earning fees and a promoted interest for successful deals.

In later years Hines would focus on and excel at building “high-class” developments which offered strong profit margins, insulation from a struggling economy, and would allow him to focus on iconic design around the world. Known for their architectural complexity and innovation, a Hines developed building is usually unlike most others in their market. Today Hines (the company) is run by Gerald’s son Jeff who continues the legacy of bold developments, innovative design, and a unique relationship with their tenants.











53W53 – NYC


Investor Profile – Interview with Tricera Capital Founder Scott Sherman

Posted: January 24, 2017 by Eli Randel, Director of Business Development


For seven years Scott Sherman represented ubiquitous New York City retail investor, Thor Equities, most recently as Vice President of Investments. During his tenure, Scott executed over $2B in urban retail acquisitions in markets including Miami, London, Washington DC, Nashville, Austin, and Charleston. Few people in recent years have been involved in closing as many high-profile, high-street retail acquisitions as Scott.

Now Sherman, with business partner Ben Mandell and the support of several capital partners, has formed Tricera Capital to acquire and take a more entrepreneurial approach to deals both big and small. Tricera will focus on both entrepreneurial and institutional sized retail, office, and mixed-use investments with a primary focus on the southeast, Texas, and select northeast markets. Tricera generally looks for transitional deals in transitional sub-markets within stable cities.

Scott and his team at Tricera are dedicated to protecting brokers, underwriting deals quickly, and providing quick feedback about their interest level. Please send Scott deals you think may qualify within their acquisition criteria which can be found here: Tricera Investment Criteria.

In the meantime, I caught up with Scott to ask about the new venture and more.

ER: You’ve had the opportunity to work on some iconic properties. What was your most memorable deal or the first one that comes to mind?  

SS: The first deal that comes to mind was actually my first deal at Thor. We acquired the Burlington Arcade in London. I had never done anything overseas and it was a great learning experience for me. Plus, I had the opportunity to work on a unique and iconic property in the heart of London. We bought it for 104M Pounds and fully renovated the interior and upgraded the tenant. Thor recently took it to market for 400M Pounds…

ER: What was the last great book you read (or first that comes to mind)?

SS: Two books I highly recommend to everyone are “Never Eat Alone” by Keith Ferrazzii and “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. These two books I would recommend to anyone as they apply to building relationships and how you deal with people, which impacts all professionals across industries on a daily basis.

ER: Do you have any career regrets or opportunities you missed that still bother you? 

SS: There are several deals I have chased over the years that I missed. You need to move on and look for the next one….letting misses bother you will only slow you down. I’d rather not do a deal than force it and do a bad deal.

ER: What advice would you give a high-school version of yourself?

SS: Enjoy your high school and college years….you will never get those back. 2) Figure out what interests you and focus on finding a career path that gets you there. If you do something you enjoy then you will be a much happier person.

ER: Would you encourage your children to follow your career path?  

SS: Yes, my son is two so we have some time, but I would love to see him follow in my footsteps.

ER: If forced to choose one or the other for your son, would you want him to be all brains or all guts?

SS: That’s a tough one…I think the best is a combination of both. In our industry, I think you need more guts than brains. I always say Real Estate is the one area in business that requires more street smarts than book smarts. If you have both then you are going to go far.

ER: Having now left a well-capitalized institutional investor, to become a business owner and entrepreneur, what keeps you up at night?

SS: Very different type of stress these days. I call it good stress….the stress of building a business with my partner Ben, having employees that you are now responsible for and having to provide for my family.

ER: What can you do now as an entrepreneur that you couldn’t as part of an institutional firm? 

SS: Everything. I like the ability to look at any opportunity that I find interesting. At an institutional shop, you are always answering to someone and are typically put in a box in terms of deal type, size, returns, etc.

ER: If asked to host the president for dinner, what would you cook (politics aside)?

SS: Trump looks like a good eater but also has expensive taste. I think the best is to bring in Joe’s Stone Crabs….quintessential Miami and always a crowd pleaser. Also doesn’t require me to cook and that key lime pie never lets me down.

ER: Having traveled to many markets to look at deals, what’s your favorite food city? 

SS: That’s a tough one as I try to eat my way through every city – finding the best operators, coffee shops and new concepts. I’d have to say Nashville and Austin both have incredible food scenes and seem to be getting better. There has been a trend of emerging chefs going to cities like this to get their start because costs are much lower than starting in a city like NYC or Miami.

ER: What small city do you think is poised for a growth spurt?

SS: We have a few on our radar. I’m intrigued by Tampa, Charleston, Cleveland and Orlando.

ER: What do you think is being done wrong (or could be done better) by your peers?

SS: Technology is changing our business and the world so fast. I think the speed at which people adapt and incorporate the new resources into our business could be better. People are resistant to change or slow to adapt.

ER: What do you wish brokers would do differently when presenting you deals? 

SS: Some brokers (not all) need to manage sellers’ expectations better. I get frustrated by brokers who tell owners they can get unrealistic prices. What ends up happening is the seller now has an unrealistic price in their head and it’s impossible to make a deal. No one wins here.

ER: If money was not an issue, what non-business career would you pursue?

SS: I love to travel. The Points Guy seems to have it good….would love to do something like that.


Why Now?

Posted: January 18, 2017 by Eli Randel, Director of Business Development


When recently discussing our company mission with a well-known investor he asked one wise and Buddha-like question in its simplicity: “why now?”

While I had immediate business answers which I’ve shared below, I continue to ponder the question. The entrepreneur always says “why not now” and presses forward, however today is only a droplet of water in a waterfall of time. Why should anything special happen NOW and not tomorrow? Why hasn’t it already happened?

I haven’t found the answer to the deeper question, but now is the time to continue to grow CREXi, an online CRE platform connecting brokers with buyers and simplifying the often slow and clunky real estate transaction process using cutting edge technology. Here’s why (now):

  • There is a large demographic and generational sea-change occurring in CRE. Brokers, buyers and investors who are accustomed to and demand technology in their everyday-lives are replacing their predecessors. We are witnessing unprecedented industry wide tech-adoption. The demand for the tools exists, but many of the tools have not yet been created;
  • Most of the marketplaces that do exist are ill-suited to handle the changing demands of the market. Many were designed in the 90s or 2000s and have only slowly evolved. Complacent with their early success, many have not kept up with most technological advances and in many ways are people-heavy real estate firms more than tech firms. Most current platforms are satisfying today’s demand with yesterday’s product;
  • Incumbent fee models are widely disliked and perceived at best as necessary-evils. Much like the taxi industry, the service should be better and the costs should be lower. We believe tech and resulting transparency should empower buyers and lower their costs. Sellers should also benefit as buyers can now use their buying power to pay them and not transaction fees. Sellers also benefit from increased liquidity (“liquidity equals value” – Sam Zell);
  • Users want to help design and control their process in conjunction with market forces. Netflix and Amazon users want to promote content with their ratings and feedback. Wikipedia users create and regulate content. Uber does not tell drivers where they should drive, the market does. Brokers want to design and manage their own process and react to market forces with data and assistance from the service provider, but limited interference and friction;
  • The market cycle and overall economy is changing and change will fuel evolution. Value and demand shifts will bring demand for new tools with wider reach as market conditions will likely make deals harder to execute. Conduits connecting brokers with out-of-market buyers are needed. Assuming some distress emerges, lenders and servicers will continue to be early adopters and use online marketplaces to promote transparency and liquidity. Our platform is designed in-part with this in mind (lenders being the only non-brokers we will engage with).

NOW is the time to connect with CREXi and find out how we can help you do more deals, and reduce your professional expenses either as a buyer or broker while speeding up your transaction cycle and making your work-flow more efficient.

Eli Randel

Eli Randel, CREXi Director of Business Development

Eli Randel is Director of Business Development based in CREXi’s Miami office. Eli spearheads CREXi’s growth and sales throughout the east coast as well as overseeing the national sales team. Prior to joining CREXi, Eli was director of dispositions for Blackstone’s Invitation Homes. Eli has also held management positions and production roles with Cohen Financial,, LNR and CBRE where he began his career spending three years in Investment Sales before leaving to obtain his Master in Business Administration from the University of Florida.