RealOp Investments Wins Greenville Chamber Small Business Of The Year Honor
Feb 25, 2019 12:56PM
By Kathleen Maris
RealOp Investments has been named the Greenville Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business of the Year for 2018.
RealOp was founded in 2009 by a group of like-minded commercial real estate professionals led by Reggie Bell. The team saw great opportunity within the economic crisis to build an investment platform focused on acquiring and repositioning distressed real estate assets across the Southeast. Prior to launching RealOp, Bell was vice president of a commercial investment fund with a background in construction management. Shortly following inception, Kyle Putnam joined the team as a principal, and in 2014, veteran banking leader Paul Sparks joined RealOp as its third principal. Over the years, RealOp’s investment platform, asset base, and personnel infrastructure have grown dramatically, even branching out to asset classes beyond real estate. However, they have remained keenly focused on value-based investing as a core philosophy.
“Our strength lies within our ability to master our target markets on a micro level, leverage in-market relationships, and execute the best investment strategy for each acquisition,” Bell said. “We recognize that no two assets are the same, and by tailoring an investment thesis to each specific deal, we maximize and expedite value creation.”
Its leadership team also includes Barry Gruebbel, chief operating officer; Jamie Kaltenbach, chief accounting officer; and Seph Wunder, chief legal counsel.
In the past few years, RealOp has grown from a small firm with a single office in Greenville to a company with 31 employees and offices in Greenville, Charlotte, Raleigh, Nashville, and Tampa. In addition, the firm has acquired two of the most iconic buildings in South Carolina: 101 North Main Tower in Greenville and the Gervais tower in Columbia.
“Because of our extensive market knowledge, expansive network, relationship-driven sourcing strategies, strong work ethic, and ability to recognize opportunity where others may not, the RealOp team has a proven competitive advantage that has led to our unprecedented growth,” Putnam said.
However, those signature buildings are just a small part of the RealOp story. The company serves more than 340 tenants and currently holds in excess of $400 million in assets throughout the Southeast. It has generated more than 400 jobs through repositioning underutilized properties and companies. Two of its most recognizable redevelopment projects in Greenville are Markley Station and 504 Rhett Street.
At Markley Station, RealOp took underutilized warehouse space in the West End and converted it into a modern commercial plaza that includes office, retail, and restaurant space. At 504 Rhett Street, the company converted a two-story mill into office space that includes their headquarters as well as other tenants.
The company is also focused on giving back to the community. RealOp employees performed more than 2,000 hours of volunteer service for more than 25 charities in the Greenville area in 2018.
“We believe in Greenville and feel that our organization has exemplified the careful balance of improving our community while organically growing a successful business” Sparks said. “We have demonstrated this through investment in underutilized assets, job creation, philanthropic involvement, and outreach beyond Greenville by bringing in new institutional investment capital and new companies via our investment activities.”