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Multibillion-dollar brokerage enters Springfield market

A local real estate family sells an investment trust and opens a new five-unit commercial group

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A Springfield family of real estate businessmen is bringing national brokerage firm NAI to the Queen City as part of a multifaceted deal.

Titus Williams, co-owner of the newly formed Enterprise Commercial Group LLC, is launching NAI Enterprise LLC with his father Brad and brother Phil.

To form NAI Enterprise, the Williamses signed on as southwest Missouri franchisees of New York City-based NAI Global, which has more than 400 offices worldwide, some 7,000 brokers and over $20 billion in commercial real estate transactions annually, according to company materials.

“We have had a real estate brokerage company for quite some time. We have only done stuff for ourselves,” Titus Williams said. “With our exposure into other markets, we were getting more of the understanding that we needed to become affiliated with more of a national brokerage presence.”

Williams said the NAI franchise deal allows his family’s development businesses to connect with other NAI affiliates for projects in the Ozarks and outside of the Springfield-area market.

“When you deal in the Midwest, it’s really all who you know. That has become very important to us,” he said.

Locally, the Williamses’ NAI Enterprise covers 13 counties in southwest Missouri, strictly in commercial deals. Titus Williams said NAI Enterprise currently operates with 15 agents, and it soon will launch a marketing push to promote the NAI name.

Phil Williams said Trip Rhodes, a commercial agent with Murney Associates, Realtors, is among the brokers joining NAI Enterprise.

Declining to disclose the financial terms of the agreement with NAI Global, Williams said the brokerage charges franchisees a percentage based on population. Simon Hartzell, director of new offices for NAI Global, said the company has 180 NAI members.

Commercial group changes
NAI Enterprise is a division of Enterprise Commercial Group, which got its start in June, Williams said. He owns Enterprise Commercial with his father Brad.

Like with the NAI affiliation, Titus Williams said Enterprise Commercial represents an opportunity to extend services the family already was doing internally, opening them up to new customer relationships.

“We do private partnerships. We do, now with our NAI affiliation, broker and sell,” he said, noting the firm will open up as a contract for hire. “We do partnerships with local folks to help them with an exit strategy or a liquidation event.”

Enterprise Commercial’s divisions are:

• NAI Enterprise;

• Enterprise Management, which handles office, retail and asset management;

• Enterprise Construction, which specializes in general contracting;

• Enterprise Residential, a residential brokerage; and

• Enterprise Development, a real estate developer with a focus on capital improvement projects in the northern and Midwest United States.

Williams said Enterprise Residential is the result of his work with the city of Springfield to buy up properties in dilapidated areas and improve them as investment opportunities.

“It’s more of a pet project for me because I am tired of seeing parts of Springfield turned into little slums,” he said.

The formation of Enterprise Commercial Group – along with NAI Enterprise – follows the Williamses’ sale of Missouri Valley REIT Inc. to Fargo, North Dakota-based Edgewood REIT. The sale of the real estate investment trust closed in June for undisclosed terms, Titus Williams said.

“It was a very good thing for our investors,” he said. “By selling now, it allowed for diversification of our portfolio.”

He said Missouri Valley REIT’s assets represented about 20 percent of Edgewood REIT’s $837 million in assets at the end of the first quarter.

As part of the deal, the sale also represented a chance for Enterprise Commercial to oversee all of Edgewood’s U.S. assets.

“Their total asset values are well in excess of $1 billion, but what they show on their balance sheet is less because of depreciation,” Williams said. “We get the expertise of managing all those assets.”

Missouri Valley REIT took shape in 2008 by the Williamses and other investors. It made its first offer in 2009 along its path toward organization. By mid-2014, the REIT was worth about $40 million. In September 2016, the REIT bought five Wichita, Kansas-area apartment complexes, which boosted its portfolio by 66 percent to nearly $100 million in assets, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting. Based on Edgewood’s $837 million in assets, Missouri Valley REIT had a portfolio of roughly $167 million before the sale.

Under development
Enterprise Commercial’s NAI division currently operates at 1414 E. Primrose St., which also is home to Enterprise Commercial Group.

Williams said the local NAI office intends to relocate to his brother Phil’s planned south-side Springfield development called The Ridge. The development is currently in the planning phases on Campbell Avenue south of The Library Center.

RW Developments LLC expects to start developing The Ridge at Ward Branch in first-quarter 2019, said Phil Williams, who owns the company with business partner Rhodes. He said RW Development is under contract to purchase 94 acres of farmland from the Ward family. The acquisition of another 6 acres on the south end of The Library Center from the Springfield-Greene County Library District are in negotiations.

With an estimated value exceeding $500 million upon completion, plans call for 60 acres of commercial space for potential tenants including restaurants, hotels, offices, retail centers and lofts, as well as bike trails and natural elements to form a park-like environment. On the back 40 acres, RW Developments plans to open a senior living continuum-of-care center.

“We’ve got a substantial amount of interest on the front end from tenants. We have quite a bit of office space that people have already put a lot of interest in,” Williams said.

Enterprise Commercial also is in development mode, with some former Missouri Valley REIT assets, such as the Missouri Hotel and The Kitchen Inc. campus, staying with the Williams family.

Redevelopment of the Commercial Street site is expected to start in 2019, Titus Williams said, noting he’s continuing to purchase nearby property for the project.

“Right now we have made applications for 2019 to be involved with an incentive called new markets tax credits,” he said. “It’s a very rigorous process to get those.

“That’s going to be a longer-term project because it’s going to require significant incentives from the city, the state and the federal government.”

The credits, according to the Missouri Department of Economic Development, are designed to incentivize developments in low-income census tracks.

Williams and former business partner Matt M. Miller of Schnoebelen Miller LLC last year bought the campus that comprises the 42,000-square-foot former hotel, as well as an additional 60,000 square feet of properties. Williams said he bought out Miller’s interest so he could tend to his daughter’s health issues.

Renovation work to allow for residential and commercial tenants is planned. A name for the project has yet to be selected.

“What I like about that area is the history and the nostalgia,” Williams said.

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