Mid-Atlantic Developer CREG Launches CRE Investment Platform

A new division at Chesapeake Real Estate Group aims acquire up to $250M in commercial office, retail, and industrial assets

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Gene Parker.
Gene Parker.

Baltimore-based Chesapeake Real Estate Group (CREG) announced Wednesday the creation of a long-term investment platform to expand into the commercial office and retail space, and appointed longtime DMV real estate veteran Gene Parker as president overseeing the initiative, Commercial Observer can first report.

The new CREG investment platform hopes to grow the company’s portfolio of commercial real estate assets in the mid-Atlantic region by up to $250 million in the next five years, officials said, targeting acquisitions between $3 million and $20 million with at least 50 percent occupancy. Value-add properties priced below replacement cost and located within a 90-minute drive of the Baltimore/Washington International Airport are prime targets for acquisition. 

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Parker, who previously served as chief operating officer and a principal at Thomas Park Investments, and before that was an executive vice president with Greenberg Gibbons Commercial, is a former U.S. Marine and teaches graduate commercial real estate courses at Johns Hopkins Carey Business School and Georgetown University. In an interview with CO, he stressed his faith in the DMV’s commercial real estate market despite poor industry trends.

“There are some challenges in the market right now, but those present strong buying opportunities,” Parker said “You can hit a home run in any inning.” 

Already, CREG principals have formed a joint venture with Rick Wuest, CEO of Thompson Creek Window Company, who will serve as a major investor and real estate adviser. With the help of friends and family private equity, the venture recently acquired three new properties totaling over $20 million. Jim Lighthizer, CREG’s founder, managing partner and principal, will transition to CEO as a part of the reorganization. 

Among the properties recently acquired by CREG are 9900 Franklin Square Drive, a 34,000-square-foot single-story office building 13 miles northeast of Downtown Baltimore, and Rivers III, a three-building portfolio in Howard County, Md., comprised of 43,400 square feet of flex/office space. Both properties were at or around 75 percent occupancy at the time of closing, CREG representatives said in statements at the time.

CREG was founded in 2004, and to date has completed more than 45 projects totaling more than 15 million square feet.