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Jax Daily Record Friday, Oct. 15, 202105:10 AM EST

InLight Real Estate Partners: Market knowledge is advantage

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The Ponte Vedra Beach-based company founded this year offers build-to-suit solutions for distribution, light manufacturing and industrial storage.

Well into its first year of operation in Northeast Florida, InLight Real Estate Partners will launch two industrial parks and has a third site under contract in North Jacksonville for an outdoor storage and container project.

“One thing we’ve learned over our years in the business, real estate is a local business, at least the way we do it,” said Managing Partner David Burch on Oct. 7 at InLight’s offices in The Veranda office park in Ponte Vedra Beach.

The InLight team combines years of industry experience.

InLight Partners was founded in early 2021 to develop and acquire projects that include distribution, light manufacturing, cold storage and industrial storage properties.

For its build-to-suit platform, InLight markets itself as an adviser, advocate and partner that provides clients with site selection, concept design, program management and project delivery services.

InLight also has an office in Atlanta, where some of the executives previously lived.

“If you know your market better than the competitors, you’ll see good dirt for development, you’ll see good buildings for value-add acquisitions and you’ll know what’s available when a client calls and says, ‘I need something,’ which would lead to build-to-suits,” Burch said.

He said that is InLight’s strategy for all of its target markets, including Northeast Florida.

“We don’t turn it off. We’re always thinking about opportunities.”

InLight Real Estate Acquisitions LLC registered with the state Feb. 22, Florida corporate records show.

Burch and Jeff Berryhill are the managing partners, with Margiotta as vice president and local market officer and Matt DiLeo as principal, according to InLightRE.com. Barton Hunter is senior vice president.

A private family office in Houston also is an owner in the InLight platform.

Margiotta is a Jacksonville native. Berryhill is from Gainesville and his wife is from Jacksonville Beach.

Burch and Berryhill were executives with an Atlanta private equity firm, where Burch was general counsel and Berryhill was a principal. They left those positions about year-end.

Margiotta’s background includes asset management and transaction work with Lexington Realty Trust in Dallas-Fort Worth.

DiLeo was the founder and principal at his previous firm, Diligent Investment Group in Atlanta.

Hunter spent the past 10 years consulting for industrial and retail developers and previously was with Tanger Outlets.

Burch, Berryhill, Margiotta and Hunter now live in Ponte Vedra Beach. DiLeo remains in Atlanta.

Burch thought about starting out as a “one-man band,” but had the opportunity to work with Berryhill, who was living in Northeast Florida and commuting to Atlanta.

Because of COVID-19, they chose Northeast Florida and its lifestyle, climate, business environment and opportunities.

NE Florida projects

InLight intends to start construction on two industrial parks in Northeast Florida.

Through Deerpark Industrial Venture LLC, the group awaits St. Johns County Commission approval for incentives to develop two speculative multitenant industrial buildings totaling 422,240 square feet.

They comprise the 291,200-square-foot Building A and the 131,040-square-foot Building B on 47.7 acres at Interstate 95 and Florida 207 in the St. Augustine Industrial Park.

InLight has the property under contract and expects to close before year-end.

The county incentives total more than $1.12 million in economic development grants to create speculative space for tenant leasing. Completion is expected in the first quarter of 2023.

The other project is in West Jacksonville. A preliminary site plan shows two buildings, totaling 502,000 square feet, on about 39 acres at northwest Imeson Road and Commonwealth Avenue.

The two buildings of 229,840 and 272,160 square feet are described as industrial cross-dock.

InLight is under contract and plans a closing by year-end.

The North Jacksonville property comprises about 65 acres along Somers Road for container storage and other development tying into the nearby JaxPort terminals and to the Norfolk Southern and CSX rail lines.

“We want to work throughout the entire logistics ecosystem,” Margiotta said.

That business includes distribution centers and also truck terminals and maintenance, container storage and other elements “that not all institutional developers look at.”

Jacksonville, Margiotta said, “is a good market for that,” citing the port, rail lines and highway network of Interstates 10 and 95.

The strategy

InLight has 16 employees among the Ponte Vedra Beach and Atlanta offices, and already intends to double the size of its offices in The Veranda to almost 5,000 square feet.

“We really set out to do things differently in the sense of how we want to run our business from a holistic perspective,” Burch said.

“It’s not all about the dollars and cents. It’s not all about getting the better of your counterparty on every deal. It’s do we treat our employees well? Does everyone we deal with think we’re good people, and do we feel like we’re living a happy life?

“If we do, if we’re taking care of ourselves, our employees, our counterparties in a holistic way, we’re going to be successful. That’s our approach.”

Berryhill said that it is “just unnecessary” to waste a relationship “grinding out the last cent on every deal.”

“We want to leave a transaction and have our counterparties, our vendors, our teammates, our investors, our lenders, everybody want to do business with us again,” he said.

Berryhill said InLight organizes the business “around all things industrial.”

Its development territory spans the Sunbelt and Midwest from Charleston, South Carolina, to Dallas and Chicago.

That includes spec development, build-to-suit projects, value-add and “vintage” acquisitions, site selection, and industrial services like the container and terminal projects that spin off of large e-commerce centers.

Berryhill said the group also pursues sale-leaseback deals that help companies free up capital.

Their competitive strategy is a “shotgun and rifle approach,” Burch said.

That means staying in contact with commercial real estate brokers, railroads, ports, economic development agencies, large landowners and power companies as well as old-fashioned cold calls and online research to identify undeveloped parcels.

“And then the public records are a wonderful thing,” Burch said.

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