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Younger Partners Goes Against The Tide, Launches Platform To Buy Retail Assets

Brick-and-mortar retail is being battered by the coronavirus outbreak, but Dallas-Fort Worth commercial real estate brokerage Younger Partners sees enough opportunity after the storm passes to launch a retail acquisition division. 

Younger Partners hires Micah Ashford to oversee new retail acquisitions division.

Younger Partners has made a name for itself as a brokerage and services firm, but its new division, Younger Partners Investments, will be the company's first foray into in-house property ownership.

"I think our market is filled with [industrious] people, so we feel very bullish that retail will come back, and it will morph into something that works," Younger Partners co-founder Moody Younger told Bisnow. "We want to be on the leading edge of buying assets and be a part of the solution to solving all of the problems that are out there right now."

Younger Partners Investments will be run by new hire Micah Ashford, who brings two decades worth of retail experience to the position, having previously spent years at Dunhill Partners, where she focused on retail and shopping centers as a partner. She will originate property deals, negotiate partnerships and deal with retail dispositions and acquisitions. 

The new platform is premised on the belief that DFW will come back strong at some point. 

"Ever since we [Younger and Kathy Permenter) founded the company, we wanted to at some point do acquisitions," Younger said. "We had never really focused on it."

But when Younger saw the retail market move from frothy to troubled in the last few months, his firm decided to bank on the idea that DFW retail will eventually see demand come back when the massive disruption caused by changing market dynamics and the coronavirus subsides.

"We just need everybody to settle down a little bit and let the market stabilize," Younger said. "Retail is not going away. People love to go to restaurants and people love to shop ... even online retail has moved to brick-and-mortar, and I think you will continue to see more of that." 

Neither Younger nor Ashford knows when the buying opportunities will hit the market. It could come as early as this fall or two years from now, Younger said.

While both of them are bullish about DFW retail, there are certain assets that are already considered top desired targets.

"I would love to see [us] roll in an infill location that is grocery-anchored ... that would be a great first and second acquisition for us," Ashford said.