In today’s Four on Friday, we talk with John Chambliss, partner of The Ardent Companies, a private investment and asset management group focused on making credible risk-adjusted investments through direct investments in real estate and operating companies or in a debt investment role as the senior or mezzanine lender. John shares his insights on investing in today’s market, what property types are hot for lending and the Georgia Bulldogs.
 
Give us an overview of your duties at The Ardent Companies.
 
Chambliss: My duties at The Ardent Companies include commercial acquisitions/loan originations, the Ardent Investment Committee and specialty asset management of some of our investments.
 
What’s the most difficult part of being a real estate investor in today’s market?
 
Chambliss: Opportunity cost of time remains the most difficult part, and making sure our company and its employees do our best at being deliberate with our actions on a daily basis. There are so many options to deploy capital in the markets that we cover, it is hardest to discern where and how to spend our time.
 
The Ardent Companies also serves as a senior or mezzanine lender. What kinds of real estate are you most focused on at the moment?
 
Chambliss: This is a business that has really grown out of the banking background and, more importantly, our background of purchasing loans from traditional lenders. There is a large segment of the market being unbanked by traditional lenders, primarily because the lenders’ regulators will not allow them to take the portfolio concentrations risks, or the real estate collateral has some other risk associated. We are in the business of providing short-term loans to real estate borrowers without a specific focus.
 
Recent loans closed include:

·      A $35 million acquisition loan on the GM Doraville Pant in Atlanta.
·      A $9.5 million residential acquisition and development loan in Yardley, Pennsylvania.
·      A $1.5 million golf course refinance loan in Gainesville, Georgia.
·      An $8.5 million hotel refinance loan in Panama City Beach, Florida.
 
As a graduate of the University of Georgia, how do you think the rest of the Bulldogs’ football season will pan out?
 
Chambliss: After Missouri won this past weekend, December has now become a deer-hunting month for me, and I hope we don’t play football again until January, with any luck in southern Florida.