SAN DIEGO, Sep. 11, 2014 /GLOBEST/ — Borrowers should know the difference between a deal that’s market ready vs. a notion of a project before approaching lenders, Fident Capital’s principal Kevin Choquette tells GlobeSt.com. We spoke exclusively with Choquette about the opportunities and challenges in equity financing today.
GlobeSt.com: What type of financing do you specialize in and why?
Choquette: We are less focused on lending and more focused on equity financing. We do it, frankly, because we find it more interesting. It’s much more challenging because it’s not a commodity in terms of the pricing of debt and “How much can you give me?” It’s more about the investment thesis and aligning with entrepreneurial operators in the industry. We’re investing alongside them to bring value to the property. That’s where we play and why we’re somewhat different than the other guys.
GlobeSt.com: Where is there untapped opportunity for this type of provision in such a competitive CRE marketplace?
Choquette: The for-sale housing space is in the middle innings—maybe even early-middle innings—of what I think will be a very long run because the entire industry was decimated in the sub-prime meltdown. I also think senior housing will gain momentum as an asset class, and as the REIT buyers continue to propagate and have aggressive behaviors, there’s an opportunity to serve that demand. Demographics support the whole senior sector.
This is true for investors as well, but senior financing is an interesting sector for the more creative finance shops in that they can price a single piece of debt—maybe 80%, 85% or 90% of cost at a number that’s accretive to the project but allows them to sell off the A piece to slow-moving and regulated institutions that may have a slow time producing their own A piece. In doing so, these shops can make nice cash-into-cash returns. That space is still underserved.
GlobeSt.com: What do you wish clients knew before they approached you for equity?
Choquette: I wish they knew the difference between a deal that’s market ready vs. a notion of a project. We see a lot of deals that aren’t baked—they’re just in the formative stages—and we’re assigned assisting in the navigation of that opportunity. But it needs to get crystalized so it can get delivered to the capital markets and find a ready pool of buyers. It’s not too soon for them to come to us, but they need to appreciate that it can’t stay at too soon forever. We can help them and get them to the point where everything is crystalized, but if their disposition is, “Maybe some of this, some of that; I just need to talk to somebody,” then no. We have to get it to, “Bang—it’s finished.”
GlobeSt.com: What else should our readers know about your company?
Choquette: Fident enjoys supporting entrepreneurial real estate operators. The complexity and challenge of their projects are a great fit for the curiosity, creativity and energy within our firm. We really enjoy running our process to capitalize these deals and create a shared win.