Former Thomas Properties Group Execs Form New Venture

Three former Thomas Properties Group Inc. senior executives have joined forces with another commercial real estate veteran to form Coretrust Capital Partners in Los Angeles and Philadelphia.

John Sischo

Three former Thomas Properties Group, Inc. senior executives have joined forces with another commercial real estate veteran to form Coretrust Capital Partners, L.L.C. in Los Angeles and Philadelphia.

The new venture comes less than two months after Los Angeles-based Thomas Properties and Parkway Properties, Inc. of Orlando, Fla., completed a $1.2 billion merger. Approved by stockholders of both companies on Dec. 17, the deal closed two days later. The merger, announced in September, gave Parkway the controlling interest and Parkway executives are running the combined company. James Thomas, former chairman, president & CEO of Thomas Properties, is serving as chairman of Parkway’s board of directors.

Thomas Ricci, Randall Scott and John Sischo, who had been part of the senior management team at Thomas Properties, have started Coretrust Capital Partners with Charles Toppino, founder and president of Oak Pass Capital. Toppino, who has more than 20 years of experience in commercial real estate acquisitions and finance, will continue to run Oak Pass while working with CCP.

CCP will provide investment services and asset management to institutional clients in co-investment and separate account vehicles. The firm will work with owners to enhance property values through custom operating solutions, including premier customer service, sustainability leadership, market positioning and income growth strategies.

“We are excited about launching a new private real estate company right now because we believe it is a great time to acquire core-plus and value-add office properties in strong submarkets in the West Coast, Southwest and Mid-Atlantic regions,” Sischo said in a news release. “Having worked closely together for 16 years we were able to hit the ground running.”

Sischo told Commercial Property Executive that the firm is starting off with three former Thomas Properties under its ownership – Fair Oaks Plaza, Reflections I and Reflections II. The office buildings total about 370,000 square feet and are all located in Reston, Va.

He said the firm will be focusing on the Washington, D.C., area, Texas, California and is currently looking at a property in Seattle.

Although they did not provide details, the partners said in the release a CCP affiliate is in the process of acquiring a portfolio in the Mid-Atlantic region with an institutional opportunity fund partner. The firm is also underwriting potential acquisitions and pursuing a value-add portfolio within the target markets.

Sischo said he has known Toppino for about 20 years and done numerous deals with him. He described Oak Pass Capital as being a “complementary business” to CCP. Oak Pass focuses on acquiring higher yielding commercial real estate investment with its institutional investors and private equity partners.

“This will allow him to scale up in size,” Sischo said. “Things he would have had to pass on, now we’ll do together.”

CCP will have its West Coast headquarters at 10250 Constellation Boulevard in Los Angeles and offices in downtown Philadelphia and Northern Virginia.

Ricci, Scott and Sischo helped grow Thomas Properties from 2 million square feet to a national company with more than 15 million square feet and a 5 million-square-foot development pipeline. They managed more than $3 billion of institutional capital, directed acquisitions, capital markets, operations and development and were instrumental in the company’s 2004 IPO.

“It’s very difficult to find a group of individuals who have the longevity of working together, have been cycle tested and worked on the complex and high-profile assets that we’ve been involved in,” Sischo told CPE.

Ricci served as executive vice president at Thomas Properties and oversaw planning, architecture, community and government relations, development and marketing. He was responsible for the redevelopment of City National Plaza in Los Angeles and Commerce Square in Philadelphia. Ricci was previously vice president at Maguire Thomas Partners where he led entitlements and planning for the 1,000-acre Playa Vista community in West Los Angeles.

An executive vice president and director at Thomas Properties, Scott led the sustainability program, which resulted in 12 million square feet of LEED-certified space. He also managed customer relations, directed asset management and East Coast development activities.

Sischo was co-chief operation officer and a company director at Thomas Properties, where he managed investor relationships with major pension funds and financial institutions, including CalSTRS. He also was in charge of acquisition, investment and finance efforts, including the acquisition of more than $3.8 billion in properties.

Toppino was a founding member of Secured Capital Corp. that later merged with Eastdil Realty in 2006 to create Eastdil Secured. He was also a founding partner of Secured Capital Investment Management Co.