Trademark Property adds retail veteran

dfwnewsa | November 27, 2023 | 0 | Dallas News , Fort Worth , Fort Worth News

Trademark Property adds retail veteran
Kevin Kessinger (Courtesy | Trademark Property)

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Also, Black Bear Diner opens.

Fort Worth’s Trademark Property Company is preparing for the future. 

The operator and developer of regional malls, outdoor retail and mixed-use properties announced Nov. 16 it has appointed commercial real estate veteran Kevin Kessinger as president and chief operating officer. 

Kessinger has experience operating large retail and mixed-use properties for institutional owners, operators and funds. He was an original member of the executive team at ShopCore Properties,

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an owner-operator of community, power and grocery-anchored retail centers. He is also a cofounder of CoreGiving, a charity that battles hunger and food insecurity among children in the U.S.

The hire comes at a time when Trademark has been busy, both locally and nationwide. 

The firm, founded in 1992 and still led by Terry Montesi, is involved in a number of retail projects in Dallas-Fort Worth, including two high-profile ones: the redevelopment of Lincoln Square shopping center in Arlington and the Galleria Dallas. The firm also developed the Waterside mixed-use development in southwest Fort Worth and is currently expanding its WestBend mixed-use development near Texas Christian University. The firm recently assumed leasing and property management for the 114,000-square-foot retail district at Fort Worth’s Left Bank. It also has developments in California, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri and Tennessee, as well as other parts of Texas. All told, Trademark’s team of more than 134 employees currently handles a 17-property portfolio of over 8.2 million feet of mixed-use and retail projects across the country.

Kessinger’s charge at Trademark will be increasing the company’s footprint, implementing best practices, increasing the talent pool and finding ways to integrate new technologies, such as AI.  

Kessinger is joining Trademark at a challenging time for commercial real estate, with high interest rates causing many organizations to hold back on development. But Trademark’s track record of being able to navigate difficult economic cycles was one reason he was eager to join the firm. 

“I think it is going to be a differentiator not just for surviving going forward, but for thriving and being able to take advantage of the dislocation that’s likely to occur and create other investment opportunities,” he said.

Kessinger has known Trademark CEO Terry Montesi for several years. 

“His vision, creativity and innovation in the way centers are designed and curated and developed and programmed and ultimately leased were very attractive to me,” he said.

Montesi’s skills complement Kessinger’s own skill set, which focuses on people, process and structuring systems. 

“I think it is a rare thing to have this dovetail so closely together,” Kessinger said. 

He said he will be particularly interested in what Trademark does with Lincoln Square. His previous company, ShopCore, owned the property before selling it to Trademark.

“That property has a special place in my heart,” he said. “It’s a terrific piece of real estate there.” 

The once-booming 470,000-square-foot center was built in 1983 during a different retail era. It sits on a high-profile corner at 1500 N. Collins St. close to Arlington’s entertainment district, which includes Globe Life Field, Choctaw Stadium, AT&T Stadium, Texas Live! and the Loews Arlington Hotel and Convention Center.

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The city of Arlington has kicked in two grants totaling $14.23 million and Trademark has committed to spend at least $150 million to convert the center into a mixed-use development with offices, apartments, retail and restaurants.

“There’s so much positive happening in the area surrounding Lincoln Square,” Kessinger said. “There’s a lot of potential.” 

One of the hallmarks of Trademark’s work is its ability to build relationships with the cities and communities where it owns properties, he said.

“These projects only work when you have a true collaboration and partnership with the municipality and with the community and other stakeholders,” he said.

Trademark,  he noted, has held community meetings in Arlington to listen to ideas on how to develop Lincoln Square. 

“These developments are very important to the community, and retail is still hyper local,”  he said. “You have to listen to the community.” 

Trademark has a great reputation for cultivating those relationships and delivering on what it promises to do, Kessinger said. Not everything works the first time, he said, but Trademark has proved they have the vision and perseverance to see it through, he said. 

“You have to have that conviction,” Kessinger said. 

The current economic climate will create challenges and opportunities in the next few years, Kessinger said. He believes Trademark will be positioned to take advantage of the opportunities as they come along. 

“Groups like Trademark, that have a proven track record, will be able to attract capital and close on investments,” he said. “I think Trademark is well-positioned to take advantage of any dislocation in the market.” 

The Black Bear necessities

Black Bear Diner, a Redding, California-based chain that serves home-style comfort foods, has opened its first Fort Worth location, at 9501 North Freeway, and plans to open its first location in Burleson in December.

The diner in the Alliance area is 5,000 square feet and has a seating capacity of 154. The location will be open daily 6 a.m.-10 p.m. 

Black Bear Diner has 157 locations across 14 states. 

Do you have something for the Bob on Business column? Email Bob Francis at bob.francis@fortworthreport.org.  

Bob Francis is business editor for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at bob.francis@fortworthreport.org. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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