Thompson Sees Opportunity to Invest in Retail Real Estate

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Thompson National Properties LLC is an Irvine, Calif.-based firm that provides real estate investment opportunities and asset management to individual and institutional investors. The firm, launched in early 2008, is in the process of raising funds and creating a series of investment vehicles, including non-traded REITs, to invest in different commercial property types. This summer, Thompson launched TNP Strategic Retail Trust Inc. The non-traded REIT is aimed at investing in neighborhood multi-tenant grocery-anchored shopping centers and free standing single-tenant retail properties, primarily in the Western United States. It will also offer mortgage, mezzanine, bridge and other loans related to commercial real estate.

Originally, the firm was planning on raising $1 billion, but in mid-November the firm announced it had raised the minimum offering amount to $2 billion in shares of common stock in its initial public offering. Subscriptions from the offering were initially placed in escrow until the minimum offering amount was raised. The proceeds have now been released by the escrow agent to the company.

About a week later, Thompson acquired its first property—a 94,574-square-foot retail center anchored by Stater Bros in Moreno Valley, Calif. The retail property also features Wells Fargo Bank, Subway and Jack In The Box. It did not disclose the price.

In addition, TNP Strategic Retail Operating Partnership, LP, the company's operating partnership, entered into a secured revolving credit agreement with KeyBank N.A. establishing a revolving credit facility with a maximum aggregate borrowing capacity of up to $15 million. The proceeds of the revolving credit facility may be used for investments in properties and real estate-related assets, improvement of properties, costs involved in the ordinary course of business and for other general working capital purposes.

Thompson National Properties was founded by Anthony W. “Tony” Thompson—who previously founded two other firms, Triple Net Properties LLC and NNN Realty Advisors Inc. Thompson served as chairman of NNN Realty Advisors and helped oversee the firm’s December 2007 merger with Grubb & Ellis. After briefly serving as chairman of the combined entity, Thompson struck out on his own and founded Thompson National Properties in March 2008.

It might seem like a strange time to be launching a new entity targeting retail real estate—especially one the size of TNP Strategic Retail, but the firm believes there is a big opportunity in necessity retail. Retail Traffic Editor-in-Chief David Bodamer recently sat down with Greg Genovese, president of the securities division with Thompson National Properties LLC, to talk about the firm’s outlook for the retail sector and the strategy behind launching the new non-traded REIT.

(Editor’s note: The video was shot before Thompson decided to double the size of the REIT from $1 billion to $2 billion.)

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