International Capital’s Clients Prefer Long-Term Holds and ‘Aren’t the People Who Speculate,’ Founder Says
On a busy morning at an office in Dallas, a receptionist with the slight hint of a German accent greets and quickly hastens a guest to an adjacent conference room. When she arrives minutes later with a pot of coffee and vintage-looking cup and saucer, she explains the hubbub at the real estate investment firm by saying, “On Tuesdays, it’s consulate day.” Each week, International Capital, a boutique firm for high-net-worth individuals and families, is transformed into a center for German affairs. Andreas Bremer, the president and chief executive officer, takes the lead in advising more than 25,000 passport-holding German citizens and roughly 20 German corporations or affiliates of Germany-based businesses operating in NCoStar News – Dallas Firm Opens Doors for Worth Texas. A visit with the firm pealthy Germans Looking to Invest in US Real Estaterovides a glimpse into the workings of a key international player in one of the nation’s two biggest regional property investment hubs.
Bremer’s role as honorary consul of the Federal Republic of Germany dovetails into International Capital’s core business of representing German family offices with investment in U.S. real estate. The business has grown with the help of referrals and a rise of wealthy individuals seeking a safe asylum for their holdings, said Christiane Hepfer, International Capital’s chairwoman who started the firm nearly four decades ago. It had about $100 million in transactions last year.
Christiane Hepfer, founder and chairwoman of Dallas-based International Capital, said she plans to buy more U.S. real estate. Photo: International Capital
“We have different buckets of investors, some of which buy very stable, predictable properties with long-term leases and others that want to go into something a little bit more high risk and take the gamble,” said Hepfer, who was born and raised in Germany but ultimately shed her German citizenship for a Canadian passport. “We help them build an investment strategy that fits that particular family office and then you go out and look for projects that fit that strategy.”
International Capital is one of at least a dozen firms in the Dallas-Fort Worth region bringing money to the United States from overseas. According to the most recent CBRE Americas Investor Intentions Survey, Dallas-Fort Worth ranked behind only Los Angeles among top markets for real estate investment in North America spanning all property types.
Even though International Capital executives are licensed to assist in buying and selling real estate, Hepfer said they act more like portfolio managers and acquisition agents rather than traditional brokers. The rm helps about 50 of its longstanding – and undisclosed – clients buy two to three new properties each year. In all, the company oversees over 150 entities with ownership stakes in properties throughout the United States. It has begun construction on a $575 million mixed-use development in Princeton, Texas, a northern Dallas suburb.
Jim Struble, a longtime Dallas real estate investment executive, said International Capital has been able to corral “some pretty good investments” from Germany into Texas and other U.S. states. The firm’s international perspective also enriches the Dallas real estate community, he said.
International Capital, LLC is a boutique real estate advisory firm with over 35 years experience representing more than 100 legal entities in its capacity as asset manager and as property manager. The company handles a portfolio of more than 20 properties in the southwestern United States. Offering a wide range of commercial real estate services, specialties include the acquisition, disposition, management and administration of commercial investment properties. Land and property development, funds conception, mezzanine financing and cash management are also integral parts of the company’s portfolio.