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You could buy a lot of Asprin for  $250M. Or you can do what Ackerman & Co is doing and invest it in  a few MOBs.
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Ackerman's Kris Miller revealed during the company's investor conference (in fact, at this very moment as you can tell by this stunned crowd) earlier this week that it, along with Peachtree Capital, has begun a  $250M fund to invest in medical offices across the country. This is a huge change for Ackerman, which never operated a fund before. And it also signals a major expansion of its MOB business from locally focused into national in scope. We'll chat more with Peachtree's principal Gary Miller  next week about what the fund will specifically target.
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We met Comvest's Brooks Holstein  at the conference as well. (Luckily, we knew his name.) Comvest and Ackerman are in a JV to buy distressed retail  properties and quickly turn them around. In the most recent instance, the partnership purchased a 62k SF former Kroger store in Warner Robbins for an undisclosed sum. Almost immediately, Comvest teed up Academy Sports into the box. ?Academy wants to do 10 of these stores in Georgia,? Kris says. Brooks tells us the JV is seeking prime value-add retail properties, most likely either in foreclosureREO or in special servicing.
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We got to hear prognostications from Mercer University's Dr. Roger Tutterow, who actually envisions job growth in Atlanta by 35,000 to 40,000 jobs this year. Of course, that barely covers the decimation felt here during the Great Recession, which is why Roger doesn't see ?real job growth? before 2014. And while GDP growth is there, it's still weak. ?The problem is what we have not had yet in this recovery is that really strong [GDP] surge,? he says. ?It's the reason the economy doesn't feel right.?
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During the cocktail reception at Ackerman's event at the Capitol City Club downtown, we chatted with The Private Bank's Mark Hancock, who is now originating loans across the nation for projects up to $40M, but with a ?sweet spot? of between  $5M and $20M. Most recently, Mark tells us he helped finance the purchase of Falcon Ridge, a 276-unit apartment complex in Decatur by Marquee Investments.
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We also chatted with SDM Partners' Steve Martin (right, with Transwestern's  Kevin Markwordt) who has been ?like a dog chasing cars? for deals to buy. (Less tail wagging and drooling though.) But he notes that more product seems to finally be hitting the Atlanta market for sale. SDM is looking to buy ?opportunistic? office deals of between $5M and $15M. ?I would tell you I'm looking for opportunistic industrial, but that doesn't exist in Atlanta,? Steve quips.