Interview with Matt Dodge, Vice President of Investments
Comunale Properties is excited to announce the hire of Matt Dodge as VP Investments, focused on growing Comunale’s portfolio of industrial assets in its target markets.
Matt, tell us a little bit about you real estate background.
Prior to joining Comunale, I spent the last five years in acquisition roles at Broe Real Estate Group, a multi-billion dollar family office in Denver. Eventually tasked with leading the acquisitions group, I primarily targeted deep value-add and repositioning assets across the west, focusing on office, medical office, industrial, and land development opportunities.
Before that, I spent four years at Prologis, originally in their institutional due diligence group in Denver working on transactions and developments across the country. I also spent time in Atlanta working for the East Region’s Capital Deployment team, supporting acquisition and development efforts in Toronto, New Jersey, Atlanta, Savannah, and Miami.
I originally started my career as a college intern and then as a broker at Marcus & Millichap. My stay there was relatively brief – I flunked out of cold-calling school. It was always a bigger focus of mine to get to the principal side of real estate.
Tell us about what led you to Comunale.
Before I spent much time with John, I thought of Comunale Properties as mostly a developer. I didn’t fully realize the scope of the portfolio and the company’s deep experience and expertise in buying existing assets and creating a significant portfolio of long-term, cash flowing assets.
Comunale Properties has a reputation as a company that digs deeper, works harder, is more creative, and always does the right thing. Our long-term investment approach is one that aligns with my own investment thesis. The team is incredibly talented, and everyone is focused on being entrepreneurial and working together to accomplish great things.
The company has grown rapidly and I’m excited to play my part in continuing the growth of the platform both locally and regionally.
What sort of investments will you be pursuing?
I like to think of Comunale’s strategy as a three-legged stool that allows the company to be competitive in the industrial market in several ways.
The first leg is Infill Development – it’s what Comunale is best known for in the market and where the company has been most active over the last few years. The company has projects across the size spectrum that fit investor needs both for HNW investors and institutional capital.
The second leg is a Core-Plus strategy – what we like to call Private Capital Core. The strategy is heavily weighted to income, targeting functional Class B product in infill markets, often with yard. With roots in specialty contracting, Comunale has been utilizing and investing in properties with IOS components for decades.
By targeting assets in the $5-$50M range, we focus on middle-market assets that are too big for traditional mom & pop shops but too small or too challenging for institutional capital. Historically, the company has executed this through our own balance sheet, but investor appetite for this product is so robust that we’ll be rolling out a fundraise in the coming months for a dedicated PCC fund.
The third strategy is Value-Add. This was the origin of Comunale Properties and is still a large piece of the business. We focus on bringing capital to assets that need it – functional assets suffering from capital neglect, vacant properties, assets with upcoming vacancies or short-term leases, or properties with mid-term mark-to-market opportunities.
Ultimately, the goal is to continue to build income, either by developing great product or by buying fairly valued assets across the risk spectrum in infill, high barrier-to-entry markets. I’m excited to help grow the business and contribute to the expansion of our portfolio across all three strategies.
What do you think Comunale Properties’ competitive advantages are in the market?
Our vertical integration is a big competitive advantage in today’s market. The company is an investor, developer, and contractor all integrated into one cohesive platform. Our design capabilities allow us to quickly put together site plans and space plans without the need to engage third parties. Our in-house counsel is integrated into our development team and has extensive entitlement expertise. Our management services team not only includes property management expertise but also facilities technicians capable of in-house maintenance to self-performing small framing and drywall jobs. All of this improves our speed of execution and decision-making as a company.
The company has a robust balance sheet and great access to additional capital, both institutional and high-net-worth. As a nimble operation focused on doing great deals, Comunale Properties can move quickly to go under contract, is willing to spend money without the need for any outside approvals, can be extremely creative with deal structures and can even close without financing if needed.
Ultimately, the biggest competitive advantage is the relationships we build as a company. At the end of the day, our goal is to always do the right thing. We treat counterparties and investors alike as partners.