A first-time vistor to the trading floor of the American Real Estate Exchange (Amrex) in a restored brick warehouse just north of Telegraph Hill here may be in for a disappointment - especially if he expects the frenetic pace of a stock or commodity exchange.
Nearing its 10th anniversary, Amrex - the idea of Gerald J. Jackson - projects a quieter, less frantic image. This is partly because Amrex is not an auction market like stock and commodity exchanges and partly because of the nature of real estate.
"Real estate is less liquid than stocks and commodity futures and involves more emotion," said Jackson, 43. "The 75 or so persons here today are generally making offers to purchase at most. They want to inspect the property and have their own appraisers look at it."
instead of a milling mob of smock-clad men and women gesticulating and screaming, theAmrex trading floor consist of 10 stations with folding tables and desks for the floor specialists.
Typical properties listed in the loose-leaf binder given to persons attending the March market day include a 265-room oceanfront hotel in Acapulco priced at $6 million, a 2,100-acre alfalfa ranch priced at $3.5 million, a210-apartment complex in Houston priced at $4.5 million, a nine-story office building in Memphis priced at $6.2 million and a 13,600-square-foot industrial building in San Francisco priced at $625,000.
Properties at Amrex are listed in one of six categories:
Management-free investments such as triple net leasebacks of industrial buildings.
Multitenant investments such as shopping centers and office buildings.
Buyers, money sources and joint ventures.
Hotels, motels, resorts and mobile home parks.
Land for development and agricultural land.
Special situations such as estates and expensive houses.
The inventory is purged every 60 days so no "shopworn" property is listed, Jackson said. The exceptions are usually difficult-to-sell properties such as islands and resort complexes, he added.
A typical market day should generate about $1 billion in sales, many of which won't be known until months later, he said.
Annual membership dues are $575. Amrex members also pay $275 to attend the once-a-month market days held in the former corporate headquarters of the Victoria Station restaurant chain. (The charge for nonmembers is $350.)
In addition to the annual fees and the market day charge, Amrex charges a commission of 1/2 percent of the first $1 million on any transaction that is completed and 1/4 percent of the remainder of the sale price.
In the case of an exchange of property, the price for the purposes of the commission is the fair market value of the property exchanged as determined by appraisal or other methods acceptable to Amrex.
For their efforts, the floor specialists receive 25 percent of the commission on deals they put together.
The average property listed at Amrex will run just over $4 million - properties as little as $250,000 can be listed - so this can be profitable for the typical speciallist who puts together three to five deals a month, Jackson said.