Over the past 35 years, Wharton Equity Partners, and its affiliates have been involved in $2.5 billion worth of transactions. We have built up a reservoir of experience across various business cycles, property types and strategies. Today, this breadth of knowledge, coupled with deep industry relationships, uniquely positions the firm to seize and execute on opportunities not readily apparent to less visionary investors.
Proven History of Foreseeing Trends and Scaling in Advance of Others
Wharton Equity Partners, founded in 1987, has its roots anchored in the development of larger-scale residential developments in the New York Tri-State area. During that time, the founding principals played a hands-on role in every aspect of the business (which they carry forth today), including holding construction meetings with sub-contractors in cold, on-site trailers in the early dawn, sipping weak coffee from Styrofoam cups. As Wharton Equity’s activities grew, the firm became fully integrated with expertise in all aspects of development including land acquisition, zoning, financing, construction, marketing and customer relations.
Realizing early on that our best returns came from transactions in emerging markets, we began to embrace a philosophy of becoming a “student of change,” acting on convictions about where the world is headed, not where it currently exists.
This forward-thinking approach ultimately permeated throughout the company as we became early pioneers in building “lifestyle” residential communities and aggregating and selling large portfolios of self-storage assets as the industry started gaining institutional attention. Additionally, anticipating the risk from easy credit in the mid 2000’s, we formed a distressed fund with foreign institutional capital that took advantage of buying opportunities during the great financial crisis.
As the economy began to rebound, we moved our attention to acquiring value-add multifamily properties in the southeast which were largely ignored by investors yet produced double-digit cash yields. We also focused on Miami which was suffering duress from a large overhang of unsold condo units. Our efforts yielded a number of transactions, mainly large mixed-use development parcels of land, just as the market was beginning to rebound. Finally, in a bold move in 2016, the firm started selling most of its assets, and decided to shift all its attention to industrial real estate. The opportunity in industrial real estate epitomized everything that was at the heart of Wharton Equity’s DNA: recognizing an emerging significant secular change (i.e., the rise of ecommerce) and having the conviction to make a large “bet” on the historically neglected asset class. Today, Wharton Industrial consummated or has in development over $1 billion in warehouse transactions.
In recent years, we have carried our investment philosophy to venture capital where we target companies that are on the cutting-edge of change and which address multi-billion market needs. This has led to investments in big data analytics, robotics, and consumer hardware/software companies with a focus on ecommerce.