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Business Observer Friday, Apr. 28, 2017 5 years ago

Sembler teams up with Atlanta firm

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The Sembler Co. has struck a joint venture to pursue new development and acquisitions throughout the Southeast with Atlanta-based Berkley Development.
by: Kevin McQuaid Commercial Real Estate Editor

The Sembler Co. has struck a joint venture to pursue new development and acquisitions throughout the Southeast with Atlanta-based Berkley Development.

Ron Wheeler, the CEO of St. Petersburg-based Sembler, says the new venture will pursue deals that could be markedly different than the grocery-anchored projects Sembler has come to be known for throughout its 50-year history -- including power centers, urban redevelopment or retail that is an element of a larger residential project.

Berkley, founded last year by Lennar Commercial and Cousins Properties veteran Mike Cohn, will focus on deal generation, while Sembler will bring construction, finance, leasing and property management expertise to the venture.

In all, Cohn has participated in development valued in excess of $2 billion and comprising more than 15 million square feet.

“It's a really good mix of talents. Mike is a really smart, solid guy,” Wheeler says. “He has a great reputation in the industry, and he's done a lot of the types of deals we've not done much of lately.”

He adds that Berkley will allow Sembler to diversify or consider “alternate types of deals” without taxing employees who are working “at full capacity.”

Wheeler also notes that the arrangement with Berkley will have no impact on another partnership it has with Forge Capital Partners, because the latter focuses exclusively on acquiring grocery-anchored shopping centers.

Earlier this month, for instance, the duo announced they had purchased a pair of centers, in Houston and Charlotte, N.C., totaling 250,000 square feet.

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