Next week, a select group of real estate brokers from across the country will be meeting at the Hotel at Old Town to buy, sell and exchange hundreds of millions of dollars of commercial and investment properties.
The Old Town venue will be the setting for the Society of Exchange Counselors’ National Invitational Marketing Session, scheduled for Sunday through Wednesday.
Between 75 and 80 SEC members and their guests are expected to attend the event, one of five planned this year in cities that also include San Antonio, San Francisco and Providence, R.I.
It was last held in Wichita seven years ago, said Rod Stewart, an SEC member and managing director of KW Commercial in Wichita.
“In the marketing book, there is over $350 million” in real estate up for sale, investment or to be exchanged, Stewart said Wednesday. “I did 60 to 70 percent of my business — up until the crash came — from SEC meetings.”
Stewart, who has been a member of the invitation-only group since 1994 at the recommendation of the late Jack Hunt, said there was a lull in activity because of the financial crisis and recession.
But “now we’re coming back … and people are starting to do things again.”
Stewart and Gary Vandenberg, SEC president and a real estate broker in Grand Rapids, Mich., said the premise behind the meetings is not only to match buyers, sellers and investors in real estate property, but also to exchange property, be it land, buildings or both.
Vandenberg said that exchange of real estate can come in a couple of different forms. One is through what is called a 1031 exchange, in which an investor sells a property and reinvests the proceeds in a different property. The other type of exchange is simply swapping one property for another. “Typically there is money added on one side or another” in a straight exchange, Vandenberg said.
The ability to exchange a property, instead of buying or selling it, “expands the market tremendously” for the buyer or seller, he said.
“We’re about serving our clients and we believe the best way to serve our clients is to expand the market,” Vandenberg said.
Vandenberg said the SEC tends to hold its marketing sessions in cities where it has member representation.
“Wichita, per capita, has more SEC members than anywhere in the country,” he said. That includes Stewart, Colby Sandlian, Leo Goseland and Nick Esterline, Vandenberg said.
The Wichita meeting begins Sunday with a day-long education session followed by a mixer. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday will be reserved for members doing real estate deals.
Vandenberg said not only are a bunch of real estate brokers, their spouses and guests coming here to spend their own money, but also to spend investors’ money in area real estate.
“We represent buyers that have money to invest, so it’s a good thing for the local market,” said Vandenberg, who also owns an office building in Wichita. “And we very much like the city there.”
The meeting is sponsored by the Kansas CCIM (Certified Commercial Investment Member) chapter, Security First Title, attorney David Crockett, Equity Bank and Central National Bank.