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A Second Act for Dallas Real Estate Exec Bob Mohr

Since selling his tenant rep powerhouse Mohr Partners, the longtime industry pro has focused on the investments side of the game.
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Like many of his midwestern peers, Bob Mohr left Indiana in the mid-1980s to pursue a commercial real estate career in Dallas. The market was hot, and there was money to be made. But within two years, conditions had drastically changed. Banks were failing, the S&L crisis was taking hold, office buildings that had sprouted up were sitting empty, and no deals were in sight.

The developer for whom Mohr worked wanted to take away his salary and shift him to a commission-only role. Instead, the industry upstart decided to go into business for himself and focus on the emerging specialty of tenant representation. “I worked out of an executive suite someone let me use, and my wife helped me,” Mohr says. “I didn’t have much money to invest in buildings at the time, and I thought that, frankly, tenant reps and corporate folks—nobody wants to hear this—make an obscene amount of money for what they do. You know, you renew a lease and get paid 4 percent of the gross. So, I thought that might be a good area to focus on.”

His first deal was a 3,000-square-foot lease for Christian Broadcasting Network. Initially, business centered around renegotiating agreements for tenants. As the real estate market rebounded, Mohr Partners grew. Clients asked him to do what he did in Dallas in Atlanta and other markets, and the firm evolved to specialize in multi-site, multi-year agreements for national tenants.

By 2017, after 31 years of growing and running his company, Mohr was ready for a fresh challenge and sold the firm to then-president Robert Shibuya in a management buyout. (Shibuya now serves as chairman and CEO and is majority shareholder.) Mohr Partners had 18 offices at the time; today it has 24 and is among the world’s largest tenant-only advisory firms.

“I had done the same thing for so many years, and intellectually, as much as anything, I was ready for something new,” Mohr says. Retirement, however, was not in the cards. He had quietly begun a capital markets side hustle in 2000 and decided to double down on investments via his family office. Things have gone well.

Through Mohr Capital, he has bought and developed projects across the country—retail, industrial, hospitality, and office, and he may expand into student housing, too. In Dallas, he put about $2 million into a 12-story office tower at 4851 LBJ Freeway he bought in 2020 and has nearly filled it up. Among other improvements, he upgraded the building’s cafe and brought in noted Dallas chef James Rowland to run it. “I also used the old Trammell Crow model of hiring a good security guy who knows everyone,” Mohr says.

He’s currently making $7 million in capital improvements to a hotel in Austin and developing a 705,000-square-foot logistics park in Surprise, Arizona. That project, in partnership with Rosewood Property Co., is the first in which he has taken outside equity. Looking ahead, Mohr intends to pursue more hospitality deals. “There are many moving parts, but the yields are so much better if you can hit it right,” he says. He’s also working on a flurry of industrial acquisitions, but intends to proceed with caution on office buys. “Values are down 35 percent,” he says. “There are going to be some great opportunities; you just have to wait for the timing to be right.”  

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Christine Perez

Christine Perez

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Christine is the editor of D CEO magazine and its online platforms. She’s a national award-winning business journalist who has…
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