Golden Girl of Value-Add
When she co-founded her fourth and current company in 2010, Vicky Schiff named it with the Spanish word for gold. And that may be just what Oro Capital Advisors is finding in them-thar B-asset hills.
Focused on acquiring distress and debt in strong secondary markets, Vicky and co-managing partner Brad Mindlin (whom she merged with in 2011) have 3M SF under their belts. A typical project is $10M to $40M in office, grocery-anchored retail, multifamily, or industrial—as long as it's 30-50% below replacement cost and needs fixing. Maybe an asset was bank-owned, under-managed, or the owner didn't make improvements or pay commissions. They also look for families liquidating assets. Avoiding frenzied competition, they prefer off-market or (as she puts it) "hanging around the hoop."
Above, Vicky points to properties in Vegas and Raleigh; other cities they target are Charlotte, Dallas, Denver, Sacramento, Orlando, Columbus, and smaller ones in California (they recently got a 200k SF warehouse in Upland). Besides "Main Street USA," she says they like areas driven by tech, universities, ports, and other job creators, with low costs of doing business and good tax rates. They rely on individual syndications or JVs with institutions, not a fund; they're conservative on leverage and assumptions for rent growth and exit caps, but don't mind a "J curve" the first year. Standard hold is four to six years.
This was Vicky on Monday doing her annual Xmas skiing (this year in Aspen). She's also done several triathlons and exercises her mind and social skills as a hyperactive member of YPO and mother of a 5-year-old, for whose birthday last month she organized a "mad scientist" party. And she has a quieter side: The Pacific Palisades resident's favorite book is Autobiograpy of a Yogi, and she spends time on meditation and self-realization, including at her neighborhood's Lake Shrine Temple and watching her husband Shaun, owner of Rocky Roads Custom Vintage Broncos, surf in Malibu.
Vicky grew up on real estate, accompanying her contractor dad 45 years ago to the construction site of Circus Circus; her first birthday was at the Bacchanal Room at Caesars, which he also helped build and where she was fed grapes like an empress. Today she visits her brother in Macau, where he builds workforce housing for major casinos. A USC undergrad, Vicky had been pre-med, but a boyfriend helped change her mind. She worked six years with broker Jerry Porter at Cresa, went to UCLA B-School, then to Highridge where she learned from master contrarian investors John Long and Jack Mahoney.
During her career, she's helped buy the Pactel portfolio (as an analyst), purchased office buildings that were sold to Arden as it bulked up for its IPO, and helped assemble a portfolio of 22 shopping centers in 18 months. As she was nearing 30, she started StorAmerica, which ended up with 100 employees buying and building more than 12,000 storage units. In 2006 she co-founded fund of funds AVP Advisors to provide capital for women- and minority-run firms. To this day, Vicky says she and friends are always thinking up new ideas "to change the old boys club of commercial real estate." In case you think she's just closing her eyes when she meditates.