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St. Louis Business Journal: How Hilliker & Westwood Thrive

How Hilliker Thrives in the Cutthroat Commercial Real Estate World

When Ben Hilliker started his real estate firm more than 30 years ago, he could count his competitors on one hand. Today, Hilliker Corp. is among more than two dozen commercial real estate firms, including corporate heavyweights such as CBRE, Cushman & Wakefield and JLL, in the St. Louis metropolitan area vying for listings.

“We haven’t tried to stand out. We’ve simply done what we feel is best for our clients, and in turn, for us,” Hilliker said.

In the past five years, the firm has added five brokers and moved to a bigger office at the Magna Place building on Brentwood Boulevard in 2013. And in 2011, it hit a milestone with its acquisition of Westwood Net Lease Advisors, which specializes in 1031 tax-exchanges and caters to national buyers seeking triple net (NNN) leases, where tenants are responsible for the properties’ expenses.

The deal helped diversify Hilliker. Most of Westwood’s clients are individual investors, typically in their 60s. Westwood connects its buyer-clients to properties with “recession-proof” tenants such as dialysis centers, dollar stores, fast food, and fast-casual restaurants, daycares and even car washes, said Westwood President Chris Schellin.

In 2017, vice presidents Vince Vatterott and Jason Simon closed on a $92.6 million deal for its client to acquire the Dow Chemical headquarters building in Midland, Michigan, marking Westwood’s largest deal ever. Hilliker will often sell a property for a client who will then use Westwood to reinvest those proceeds into another property. “We’re giving sellers an avenue to the national marketplace, (and) we’re bringing national players to the St. Louis market,” Schellin said. “It’s a win-win for everybody.”

Hilliker Corp.’s Senior Vice President and Principal Hal Ball said, “We’ve found this in-between zone that’s been exciting for all of us.”

Be sure to read the full article on the St. Louis Business Journal’s website. If you’d like more information on NNN lease investing, contact a Westwood Net Lease Advisor. We have decades of experience and will help you from the property search to closing – all at no charge to you. Contact us today for your no-obligation consultation. 314-997-5227

Story reproduced from the St. Louis Business Journal, August 8, 2019, with permission.

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