This is when the story comes full circle. “God has been navigating my life and career in a way I never could have planned myself,” says Merritt. “Our family experienced multiple career transitions, and through the uncertainty we have been provided for beyond measure. I am still blessed by the incredible relationships and experiences God used to touch our lives along the way and am ever grateful for His abundant grace through Jesus.”
During the time when Merritt was seeking a career change, he learned that the Humphreys family was growing their team. So the young man with a wife and four children, as well as an MBA, a distinguished tour of duty in the United States Marine Corps, and significant technology and management experience, sat down with the CEO of Humphreys Capital. But it wasn’t the first time they shared a cup of coffee “When I was in high school, my family went to church with the Humphreys,” recalls Braden. “In fact, Kirk did a Bible Study at my parents’ kitchen table.”
So the studying commenced again, but this time it centered on real estate and investing opportunities. Today Captain Merritt, who left active duty in 2013, does a different type of reconnaissance as he evaluates the financial landscape and communicates with long range investment partners for Humphreys Capital. “We seek best-in-class developers as we acquire, develop and operate income-producing, multi-sector properties including industrial, multifamily, office and retail.”
But Humphreys Capital didn’t start out as an institutional quality real estate investment platform. Just a decade ago, it was a family run business with a robust selection of convenience store properties. In 2012, more team members began to come on board to assess and manage the firm’s strong but cumbersome suite of investments. Over time the portfolio grew and diversified to include some investments that would have multi-tenant properties, office and industrial and had a different return profile and a different lease turnover profile. “Humphreys Capital has evolved to be able to take advantage of new opportunities in a dynamic market,” says Merritt, who could say the same of his own career path.
One example of that evolution is The Edge at Midtown, a multifamily infill property near Heritage Hills in OKC. “This was our first experience partnering with a joint venture developer,” explains Merritt. “We started in core properties that were cash flowing and stable from the beginning. We quickly realized there were opportunities to build relationships with other developers who were among the leaders in their class.”
So thus began the legacy investment platform that now includes real estate interests in secondary markets throughout the southeastern and southwestern United States. “When we began making investments of this type,” says Merritt, “we came in with a minority share that helped the developer fill out the rest of their capital.”
It wasn’t long before investors began knocking on Humphreys Capital’s door with two questions. “What about the hard times, the times when things don’t go as planned?” ask the investors. But the Humphreys are not put off by such queries. “One of the projects we point to is The Lift, a mixed-use apartment and commercial space project near St. Anthony in OKC,” says Merritt. “We committed to that development right before the energy market turned in OKC. But when you work with developers who can weather those challenges, you can still hit your underwriting on a good investment.”
“We don’t want to make investments where everything always has to go perfectly right in order for us to be successful.”
Apparently those kinds of scenarios are good for business because the second question the Humphreys Capital team often hears these days is, “Are you interested in being the lead investor?”
“We are more and more frequently one of the first phone calls from developers,” he says. “When that happens, we get opportunities earlier and we also get an improving selection of investments from which to choose.”
“So the bigger challenge our deal team has at this time is weighing each deal against another and deciding what is best for our portfolio.”
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