Tom Barbera, JD Salazar and Joe Voet created the Schaumburg-based firm, Industrial Outdoor Ventures. There are backed by the family office of a high-net-worth Chicago-area family the company declines to identify.
Over the next five years, the firm plans to assemble a portfolio of $500 million worth of properties in the industrial real estate niche, which it will lease to long-term tenants, said CEO Barbera, who has owned industrial investment firm Interstate Holdings since 2006.
"There's strong demand among users and there's not tremendous competition on the buy side, because there aren't a lot of people who understand this niche," Barbera said. "With less competition, there's a yield premium."
Unlike traditional industrial real estate, service facilities typically feature a relatively small warehouse surrounded by several acres of undeveloped land. Typically located near expressways, airports and ocean ports, such facilities are used for parking and repairing trucks and heavy equipment, and for storing building materials, shipping containers and other large items.
Annual returns range from 6.5 to 8 percent, and vacancy in the country's 10 largest industrial markets is just 2.8 percent, Barbera said. Until now, no U.S. firms were focused entirely on owning truck terminals, maintenance facilities and container yards, he said.
Salazar, who founded industrial brokerage Champion Realty in 1997, is the firm's chief operating officer. Voet, formerly a managing member of industrial brokerage DBVK Capital Management, is chief financial officer.