Inland's Empire Built on 40-Year Reputation

The Inland Real Estate Group covers a wide range of activities, but Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Dan Goodwin said the company is best characterized as an incubator of businesses related to real estate.

"We have formed over 20 separate businesses with everything from real estate development to syndication to commercial mortgage companies and construction companies," Goodwin said. "We form these companies and some we keep for ourselves and others we bring in investors or sell stock for broader participation."

Inland currently has managed assets exceeding $25 billion, but it is the company's diversity that Goodwin said gives it its best growth options.

"The idea behind our whole organization is that we are very flexible and with all of these businesses we follow the cycles," he said. "We can emphasize the hot shooter, the companies that are most successful given the current cycles in the market."

Inland has both listed and public, non-listed REITs. Goodwin said the company offers both because he sees them as different products serving different investor needs. Listed REITs offer both dividends and liquidity, he said. While public, non-listed REITs offer higher dividends and more price stability, he said.

Goodwin noted that all of the company's public, non-listed REITs are designed with an ultimate liquidity event in mind, whether that be a sale of assets, merger or an IPO.

"The preferred liquidation event would be a listing because if we sell all the assets we find that there are shareholders who wish they could stay with the REIT. While there are others who would like to cash out. Selling the assets only satisfies the latter and not the former," Goodwin said. "With an IPO we satisfy both groups of shareholders. So I would anticipate that some of our non-listed REITs would eventually list."

The recession reduced the demand for non-listed REITs somewhat, Goodwin said. However, as the rebound has occurred the number of new entrants has begun to increase. Goodwin said the limited amount of capital available as well as the limited number of available assets will help limit competition.

"The whole ballgame is the results you provide for shareholders. It isn't the claims that you make in the beginning," Goodwin said. "It is what your track record is. And we feel very comfortable that we have the best track record by far."