In 1972, Lamar’s Founder, Peter Kalkus, recognized that he could realize significant financial appreciation by investing in real estate. Over the years, he established investment syndications and took advantage of a favorable tax law environment to develop or reposition retail shopping centers, apartment complexes, office buildings, housing developments and condominium complexes. Through the course of this activity, he assembled a team of experts and developed affiliated business entities that surrounded the core business of commercial real estate investment.
As times changed and tax laws became less favorable, Lamar evolved as Peter transitioned the firm into new ventures. His last syndicated portfolio was 17 shopping centers, 42 condos and several vacant parcels in eastern Pennsylvania. This experience proved that there was a tremendous opportunity in distressed retail shopping centers that could result in highly profitable investments. In 1988, Mark Kalkus became the second generation to join Lamar. By 1990, Mark was named the Vice President of the Company and opened the Colorado office. In this role, Mark was responsible for firm-wide acquisitions and institutional investor relations. In 1993, Mark was named President, and in 2001 he was named CEO, as Peter transitioned to a reduced operational role as Chairman. Today, Peter continues to consult with Lamar as it relates to major strategic decisions and often will review acquisition decisions. Under Peter and Mark’s stewardship, Lamar has sold properties worth well over $1,000,000,000.
For over 45 years, the firm’s value-add investment strategies and unique hands-on approach has minimized risk and delivered superior risk-adjusted returns to its investors. Since 1986, its primary focus has been on the repositioning of shopping centers nationwide, as well as the investment in alternative asset classes locally. The firm has developed a strong track record of profitable investments, with the turn-around of over 17 million square feet of underperforming real estate assets across the United States.
While maintaining focus on its core philosophy of creating value through hands-on management, Lamar’s ability to modify its strategy in the pursuit of compelling investment opportunities has resulted in an evolution of the firm’s strategy as retail continues to evolve. In today’s market, the firm has identified unique opportunities in the regional and power center market as the asset class has fallen out of favor with Wall Street, providing the ability to purchase very well-located, high quality assets at a significant discount to replacement cost. The opportunity to acquire high quality assets at an attractive basis, combined with Lamar’s experienced operating team, has allowed for the ability to create significant value through the lease-up/redevelopment to a wide variety of both traditional and alternative uses that are becoming more prevalent in today’s retail environment. Furthermore, the firm has placed a renewed focus on investing locally in alternative asset classes, including multi-family and self-storage development, providing added diversity to the portfolio while leveraging the executive team’s diverse expertise.
Today, Lamar has developed into a fully integrated firm and assembled an expert in-house team specializing in management, acquisitions, construction and leasing, and built a nationwide network of real estate industry relationships that has strongly positioned the firm to capitalize on future opportunities in a constantly shifting marketplace, while maintaining the nimble approach that has allowed the firm to prosper through various economic cycles over its history.