ContraVest is proving contrarians can make it big in the construction, development and management industries by bucking the trends.
The company buys when others say the markets are down and sells when ContraVest feels "down" markets are on their way up.
"It's not an easy concept to put into play because the capital markets generally follow the top of a market's cycle, not its bottom, as we do," says Ogier.
"That makes it difficult to obtain capital in a countercyclical period."
And real estate has always been a highly cyclical industry.
Like Sam Zell, Chicago's much-publicized corporate real estate "bottom-fisher," Ogier and his group study both geographic and economic conditions before turning a shovel or committing their funds.
"Nobody wants to invest when real estate values are down or when an area's economic base is hurting, but periods such as those often provide windows of opportunity that wouldn't be there in good times," says Ogier.
Ogier and John H. McClintock Jr. founded ContraVest in 1986 in Tucson, Ariz., where they built single-family homes and only one apartment complex in their start-up year.
The company moved its operations base to Heathrow in 1993 when it also kicked off ContraVest Construction Co. McClintock retired in 1996.
Besides developing, building and managing properties for its own portfolio, ContraVest also offers support services to third-party institutional investors such as Lincoln National Life Insurance Co., Security Capital Atlantic and Colonial Properties Trust.
"We strive to build not only projects but relationships as well," says Ogier.
As an example, he cites two new projects already under way in Brandon, near Tampa, and in Orlando.
In Brandon, ContraVest has CNL Corporate Properties of Orlando as an equity partner in a $14.5 million, 228-unit luxury apartment property being funded by AmSouth Bank.
In east Orange County, ContraVest and Citicorp of New York are jointly developing Brittany, a $14.5 million, 276-unit apartment venture at Waterford Lakes. SunTrust Bank is the lender.
Other ContraVest apartment projects in Orlando include the $14.28 million, 238-unit Courtney Place on Kirkman Road and The Greens at MetroWest, an $11 million, 200-unit venture.
And in Bradenton, ContraVest and Colonial Properties Trust of Birmingham, Ala., have broken ground on a 288-unit apartment complex.
"Our primary objective, as it has been from the beginning, is to acquire and/or develop real estate investments when they are out of favor and to sell when the market recovers," says Ogier.
"As the economy passes through its cycles, ContraVest will continue to become involved in areas where contrarian investment opportunities exist."
"Is 1998 going to be a remarkably profitable year for our clients and investors?" asks Ogier, a former vice president at Jacksonville-based Koger Properties Inc.
"You bet it is." – less – More from ZoomInfo »