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The Ardent Companies Celebrates Eventful First Year
Partners Reflect on the Inaugural Anniversary of the Launch of Their Private Real Estate Investment & Asset Management Group and Look Ahead to Move into New Headquarters
By: Kasie Bolling/Out of Her Mind Freelance
While successfully serving as Managing Directors for Rialto Capital – growing the Atlanta office from 2 to 50 employees – Shulman and Terwilliger envisioned a smaller firm that was well-capitalized, had a reputation for professionalism and results, and would serve to bring jobs and capital to Georgia. The two pooled their resources and left their corporate positions. Their first phone calls were to former partners, Chambliss and Bezalel, and in August 2013, the group officially hung out their shingle as The Ardent Companies.
“In our first year, this small investment group has quietly completed over $150 million in deals,” shares Matt Shulman, CEO & Managing Partner for The Ardent Companies who oversees commercial properties and loan originations. “Todd and I reunited with former colleagues to form Ardent. Since then, we’ve hit the ground running by looking at interesting real estate deals and building a cohesive and disciplined real estate team. The response has been extraordinary. My partners and I are excited to play an integral role in Atlanta’s continued success – making investments, operating and developing properties, creating jobs and putting capital back into the market.”
“To date, many of our investments have been relationship-
One of the firm’s major focuses has also been on neighborhood retail. The Ardent Companies’ strategy is to examine growing populations – primarily in the Southeast, while making investments nationwide by leveraging a network that covers the Midwest and entire East Coast, as well as individual states like Texas, Arizona, and California.
“We try to look at retailers that do not to compete directly with brand names and online shopping, but instead focus on specialty shops and restaurants that provide products and services directly to the community,” explains Chambliss. “Atlanta is our home and a market we are happy to stand behind. At the same time, we also look outward and have purchased assets in North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, and Florida.”
Since opening its doors, The Ardent Companies’ transactions have been roughly one-third bridge loan originations, one-third property acquisitions, and one-third note acquisitions. Bezalel credits much of his organization’
In addition to note purchases and originations on office, land, and hotel assets, the private investment and asset management group has taken part in eight direct retail investments. A few of the most notable transactions consist of:
· 1010 Midtown – The Ardent Companies acquired 37,853 square feet of retail and restaurant space in a 35-story, 630,000 square-foot mixed-use development on Peachtree Street in Atlanta. An integral part of the 12th & Midtown Development Initiative to make Midtown Atlanta a highly sought after destination, Ardent purchased the street level retail space for $15,000,000.
· Sea Palms Resort – The Ardent Companies acquired a note from Synovus Bank and shortly thereafter took title to seven assets in Georgia and South Carolina. The main asset is the Sea Palms Resort which is a highly touted golf and tennis destination on St. Simons Island along Georgia’s Golden Isles. The purchase included the Sea Palms Inn, which has subsequently been sold to the Sea Island Corporation.
· Shadowood Office Park – Situated in a prime location on Powers Ferry Road in Atlanta, the Shadowood Office Park is comprised of 195,297 square feet of office space and is home to tenants such as Central Michigan University, Tetra Tech, and The Ardent Companies. It will soon be home to multifamily housing operator ECI Group, as well as Acadia Homes & Neighborhoods’
· Roberts Realty Investors, Inc. – The Ardent Companies provided $5.5 million in bridge financing to Roberts Realty Investors, Inc. – a real estate investment trust – for their 9.7 acre land parcel designated for a future mixed-use development in Sandy Springs, Georgia.
· Century Springs Office Park – The Ardent Companies recently put under contract the Century Springs office park at 6000 Lake Forest in Sandy Springs, Georgia, which consists of 192,251 square feet of office space. Set to close in late 2013, the property sits on over 12 acres of land that Ardent is exploring for additional uses.
“There are a large number of individuals and companies in the Atlanta market that are looking for the capital and operational support that The Ardent Companies can supply,” says Shulman. “Our experience working with banks since before the downturn puts us in a good position to work with financial institutions looking to shed assets from their balance sheet. We pride ourselves on adding value to the process. As our reputation as a trusted investment partner continues to grow, my partners and I look forward to what the coming year will bring.”