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David Wallach is president and founder of Triumph Real Estate Investment Fund Trust.

David Wallach, president and founder of Triumph Real Estate Investment Fund Trust.

Troy Media: What’s the history behind the Triumph Real Estate Investment Fund Trust? When did it start and who’s behind it?

Wallach: The idea of creating a fund started on October 2012 in Calgary. It took my partner Craig Bentham and me 18 months of research deciding which jurisdictions to focus on, due-diligence process on what type of properties we would like to acquire and legal work putting our offering memorandum and independent board of directors together. Once these items were completed, we launched Triumph Real Estate Investment Fund I on April 2014.

Many people like the idea of investing in commercial real estate. However for most it will be too expensive as a single buyer, as well as labour intensive and complicated in managing such properties. Our fund gives investors the opportunity to invest in commercial real estate, knowing it’s managed by experienced professionals.

TM: Can you outline what your portfolio consists of?

Wallach: Our portfolio today consists of eight properties: six shopping centres, of which four are in the greater Phoenix area in Arizona, one in Red Deer (AB) and one in Spruce Grove (AB); one office building in the greater Denver area in Colorado; and one industrial building in Calgary.

TM: What is your overall strategy when it comes to investment in real estate?

Wallach: Acquire multi-tenant retail, industrial and office properties in major and secondary markets. Purchase below market rates or with some vacancy, add value by improved leasing and property management, finance between 65 per cent to 70 per cent loan to value of each property, supply investors with quarterly distributions, hold period of four to five years.

TM: You recently purchased a shopping centre in Glendale, Ariz. Why when so many people are speaking about the retail apocalypse these days?

Wallach: This is a great question and I’m glad you asked it. When you look at our portfolio of properties, you will see that all the shopping centres we buy have a few things in common.

Firstly, we don’t buy any retail centre with big box retailers, not even food stores.

Secondly, the retail centres we buy are based on services you cannot get over the Internet: nail salon, hair salon, restaurants, gyms, etc. You have to go to the centre in order to get this service.

Thirdly, since we acquire neighbourhood centres with the basic services, our emphasis is properties that are located on the drive home. Yes, big box retail is changing; however, basic everyday consumer needs are not and this is our emphasis.

TM: What are your plans for the future for the company?

Wallach: We are launching Triumph Real Estate Investment Fund II. Based on the success we had acquiring and financing properties for Triumph Fund I, our plan is to continue with the same fundamentals that created Fund I, multi-tenant retail, industrial and office properties in major and secondary markets.

In terms of jurisdictions, our focus remains Alberta, Ontario, Saskatchewan on our side of the border. In the U.S.A., we will stay in Arizona and Colorado while exploring options to expand to Texas, Nevada, Oregon and Washington State. We will not expand to a certain market unless we find a property that we can check all boxes during our due-diligence process.

– Mario Toneguzzi

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