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June 13, 2017

From the Israel Real Estate Team: Our Visit to the U.S.

During the month of April, we (Guy Segev  and Moshe Kakon of Ofek IVIC Group) conducted a business trip to the U.S., hosted by the CIG Real Estate staff.

Our visit began after almost 20 hours traveling from Israel to Denver, CO, and the jet-lag was significant. We then flew from Denver to Houston, TX, to learn about CIG’s current investments in Houston and to also learn how they are managed by the team. We also wanted to see how new investments are evaluated.

On the flight, we held an interesting staff meeting to examine two investment projects: (1) the residential tower MARQ 5250 at a prime location in the heart of Houston and (2) the multi-family residential project, Cinco Ranch, in a developing area of Houston.

We saw that the investment strategy in the Cinco project is mainly focused on the fact that the current management is quite weak and, as a result, rents are low and the property value is not at its best. This situation presents an opportunity to acquire the properly, change the management, and improve the property and then increase rents.

The investment strategy at 5250 is also interesting, having a similar goal to improve the property. This residential tower in the center of Houston was initially intended to provide A and even A+ properties but has not reached this level to date. Thus, by combining investment in the property’s appearance, focusing on the existing management (which is at a noteworthy high level) and shifting the mix of renters, we can significantly improve the property and brand it as a luxury property in Houston.

The next morning, we shifted to going over our activities in Israel, focusing on the massive investment potential in the Negev city, Be’er Sheva, and the company’s intention to promote a massive and unique rental property in Israel.

Later, we visited similar properties in order to familiarize and learn about the market and understand similar reference points. We visited the incredible Marq31 property, which is in the final building stages, and also the Water Marq project, which is situated on the shores of the Colorado River with breathtaking views.

Over the next two days, our work divided into two: On one of the days, we focused on examining potential projects in Israel with Tim and Nate; on the other day, we toured additional current CIG projects in Austin with Tim, Heidi, and Nate. In the evening, we enjoyed the traditional flavors of the Texas kitchen.

In summary, we can say that beyond being a fascinating visit filled with lots of learning, the team members that we toured with Heidi, Josh, Jason, Kerry, Nate, and Jeremy – are fantastic people.

The team has a collective drive for excellence, working well collaboratively, and we also all had fun together. Thank you very much to Tim Bertoch and David Merage for organizing the visit and for the warm welcome.

We are anxiously awaiting our next opportunity to host anyone who will come visit Israel and, of course, look forward to our next opportunity to visit in the U.S.

-Moshe and Guy

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