Anthony Scavo has been a busy man over the past two years. He’s president and chief operating officer of Basis Industrial, a Boca Raton, Fla.-based company that has amassed more than 2 million square feet of small-bay industrial space.
In one example, Basis Industrial this spring spent $33 million on a portfolio of warehouse properties in Tampa. More deals are on the way. Scavo expected to close on an additional 1 million square feet of industrial space in October 2023.
While most of the company’s holdings are in Florida, it’s expanding its acquisition targets to Texas and elsewhere.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Commercial Observer: What’s your business strategy?
Anthony Scavo: We’re in a niche area in the industrial space. We buy multi-tenant industrial. You hear about single-tenant spaces. That’s not us. When we buy a property, it could have 50 tenants. It’s much more difficult to manage, but it’s much more diversified.
We think it’s well-positioned to weather the next downturn. No single tenant makes up more than 5 percent of the rent roll. If something happens and you lose one tenant, it really doesn’t move the needle much.
What’s the typical tenant in your properties?
It runs the gamut. Every property we have has at least one air conditioning repair company. Every property has a roofing company. Then, depending on the type of the property, they might have a nail salon or a nail school. If you’re in the city of Orlando, there’s no true industrial. It’s all flex space. In some properties, we have a Frontier Airlines or a FedEx.
Our small-bay acquisitions typically have 20-foot clearance or less. Each bay has a roll-up door, a small office, small bathroom.
We value every, single tenant. I’m the president of the company, and I’ll talk to a 500-square-foot tenant. They might come to you and say, “I can’t make this month’s rent.” We say, “We’ll work with you.” That differentiates us.
Valuations of industrial properties have soared in recent years, and cap rates have plummeted. Is that why you’re focused on other parts of Florida?
Demand goes with valuation: the higher the demand, the higher the price. We’re not against buying in South Florida, but it’s just harder to find properties. In Orlando, you can find something for 200,000 to 300,000 square feet, and the valuation makes sense. There’s more meat left on the bone for the investor.
We have a property in Medley and one in Deerfield Beach, but there just aren’t a lot of jewels in South Florida. The I-4 corridor is under-noticed by the big institutional buyers. We’re not focused on the flashy South Florida properties.
What’s your exit strategy for the properties you’re acquiring?
It all depends on market conditions in two to three years. If everything is great, we might roll the properties into a REIT or a Delaware statutory trust. Or we might hold onto it for longer and do a refinance. We have an open-ended end game. You don’t want to be locked into a certain exit date.
What’s your funding source?
We have a joint venture with NexPoint Advisors out of Dallas. They’re a private equity firm. We’ve been doing most of our acquisitions with them. Our interests are aligned. We’re looking for stuff that we can buy at an attractive cap rate. With interest rates rising, we’ve been very lucky that we’ve been able to find equity partners.
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