Mexican investor Grupo Haddad snapping up Dallas-area property
When Charles Haddad started buying commercial real estate in North Texas last year, he was flying under the radar of most local property brokers.
But after acquiring more than a half-dozen Dallas-area office and industrial buildings, he and his family’s firm Grupo Haddad are on property agents’ contact lists.
“The brokers love us. I’m bombarded with market information,” said Haddad, who was in Dallas this week working on new acquisitions. “We’re a broker’s dream because we are an all-cash buyer.”
The private Mexican investment firm’s latest purchase in the area is a Richardson office complex called Lookout Plaza.
The two-building business campus on Plano Road at Lookout Drive is almost fully leased to Samsung Telecommunications America, Haynes and Boone, and EMC Insurance. HFF LP marketed the buildings, built in 2001 and 2002.
“We bought the land behind it, too,” Haddad said. “We’ve been busy — we’ve bought more than 1.5 million square feet.
“We love Texas,” he said. “And I don’t think you can do better than Dallas.”
Grupo Haddad was founded by Charles Haddad’s father as a civil engineering and infrastructure firm working in Mexico and later Central America.
Along the way, the company acquired and sold some real estate, both at home and in the U.S.
“We developed some research and development buildings and office-type product in Arizona and California in the 1980s,” Haddad said. “We did some nice developments.”
It was in 2012, after selling a $650 million toll road project in Panama, that Grupo Haddad decided to ramp up its U.S. commercial real estate activity.
“We said, ‘Let’s reinvent ourselves,’” Haddad said.
The first Texas deal was an industrial building in north Austin. Then Grupo Haddad set its sights on the Dallas area.
In the last year, the firm has bought properties in Plano, Las Colinas, Carrollton and Coppell. Grupo Haddad late last year acquired the seven-story Crosstex Energy building in Dallas’ Uptown district.
CBRE Group worked with Grupo Haddad on most of its local purchases.
“We have sold him almost all of the office buildings,” said CBRE senior vice president Eric Mackey. “We have a great relationship with Charles and his group.
“He’s bought some pretty large deals.”
“We are targeting buys between $20 million and $50 million — that’s our sweet spot,” Haddad said. “We have been building up an approximately $200 million portfolio.”
Along with Dallas, the Mexico City-based investor is shopping for property in the Southeast, including Atlanta and the Carolinas.
“Our idea is to continue to make this business grow,” Haddad said. “We still think we have a window of opportunity.
“We are in the business of creating a steady cash-flow stream for our investments.”
Haddad said the company’s goal for this year is to reach $400 million in real estate assets.
“It’s been a lot of work, but it’s paid off,” he said. “In order to get 13 buildings, I’ve probably toured 100 or more.”