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January 30 , 2004

New Retail Real-Estate Firm is Targeting San Antonio

January 30th, 2004 - Tricia Lynn Silva It has only been a couple of weeks since Steven Lieberman and Alan Shor announced the launch of their new real estate firm, The Retail Connection Inc. And now, the Dallas-based firm has set its sights on San Antonio. According to Lieberman and Shor -- who serve as CEO and president, respectively, of The Retail Connection -- the firm looks to have a San Antonio office up and running as soon as the first quarter of this year. "We are in conversations with a couple of different professionals from the San Antonio market," says Lieberman. "We have a rich history with Central Texas overall. That (Austin/San Antonio) corridor is and will continue to remain a focal point (of our business)." Adds Shor: "We are looking and fully expect to have a San Antonio office open in the first quarter." The Retail Connection provides brokerage, advisory and investment services to clients in the retail industry. Of course, under those platforms, you have a number of ancillary services -- including project leasing, strategic planning, tenant representation and even merchant-banking assistance. While Retail Connection is a new firm, it is also one with a lot of maturity. "It is a start-up in some respects, but it's a very mature business in other respects," says Shor. Case in point: the leaders behind the firm. Lieberman most recently served as president of another Dallas-based retail firm, The Weitzman Group. Meanwhile Shor's most recent stint was serving as president and a member of the board of directors for noted jewelry retailer Zale Corp. Shor and Lieberman launched their new firm with about a dozen brokers, and a client roster that includes Bed, Bath & Beyond, The Gap, Office Max, and Famous Footwear, as well as property owners such as Equity One and Rreef, according to the Dallas Business Journal. TOP TALENT Retail Connection's plan to set up shop in San Antonio could cause a bit of a stir in the local industry, insiders say. "They are going to pick the top talent out of the top offices, and there's only a handful of us," says Tom Rohde, president of locally based NAI/Rohde, Ottmers & Siegel Realty Services. "I think they're going to have one of the most dynamic retail real-estate organizations in Texas." That is certainly Lieberman's goal for the company. "We're not looking to measure our success by head count, but by our influence on the market," he says. "We'll make certain we are as powerful as possible." "(Lieberman) can create a lot of energy real quickly," adds Bryan Parman, director of retail services for REOC Partners Ltd. "He's a hard-driving broker, someone to be reckoned with." According to local commercial real-estate pro Mike Birnbaum, the talent that Lieberman will bring to the area's real estate mix can only have a positive effect on the market. "I think (Lieberman and Shor) will continue to be successful and will help to bring new retail tenants to San Antonio," says Birnbaum -- who established Birnbaum Property Co. in the fall of 2002 and prior to that set up the local offices of both The Weitzman Group and affiliated firm Cencor Realty Services. "We have some great brokers in San Antonio, but more talent certainly helps, it doesn't hurt," Birnbaum adds.
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