50 Best Companies to Watch 2022
Texas continues to attract businesses and residents from all areas of the country. A massive influx of people, companies, and commerce has made the Houston metro area one of the country’s hottest commercial real estate markets. With explosive single-family rooftop growth and plenty of lands to build on, Texas is booming with developments in retail, hospitality, corporate, education, medical facilities, and event spaces. The Texas economy is more ripe with development opportunities.
XAG Group is a private equity, commercial real estate investment and development, brokerage, and property management company founded in 2017. The company primarily focuses on acquiring, developing, and managing retail, mixed-use, and commercial properties in the Houston area and has development projects in Louisiana. With over $200 million of investments and developments in its portfolio, XAG Group consistently keeps value and services at the forefront of its commitment to clients. Their methodology of being a multi-disciplinary, comprehensive investment and development company is helping them win deal awards and recognition in the CRE industry.
The following excerpts are taken from a conversation with Nathaliah Naipaul, CCIM, CEO/Partner of XAG Group.
Q. What made you and your partner decide to form XAG Group?
XAG Group was born from experience leasing space as a business owner and a desire to see exciting development projects come to life. Both my partner and I were at one time leasing commercial space. In 2017, we decided we could grow our businesses through developing retail properties and leasing space to other business owners. We knew we had unique insight as tenants, developers, and investors. We wanted to blend our experience and bring fresh, new energy to commercial real estate investing and development. I also had a unique perspective as a professional realtor who grew up in a commercial real estate business family.
Q. How does XAG Group keep the brokerage experience simple and efficient for its clients?
Our brokerage, investment, and development groups are all streamlined and connected, so communication and collaboration are always a focus for us. We strive for simplicity, and client service is a top priority. For example, our investment clients have access to real-time investment information so they can log in and easily see how projects are being developed and the current return on their investment. We want all of our clients, partners, and agents to say informed. We update our clients frequently – in between standard quarterly reports – and ensure they have access to information when they need it.
Q. What are your other focus areas?
Our firm focuses on four divisions: development, brokerage, property management, and investing. We feel these core competencies are synchronous and equally important in the commercial real estate ecosystem.
We know from experience that if one aspect of our process doesn’t go as planned, other business areas are affected. For this reason and many others, we are also investors in every project we develop, so we genuinely partner with our clients. We create value for our clients by growing their portfolios and building wealth. Our cycle includes raising capital, developing projects, leasing, refinancing, and managing long-term investments.
Q. What makes XAG Group relevant in today’s times? Could you give us some context?
The commercial real estate market is in flux, but with the market changes come greater opportunities. Texas is leading the nation in commercial real estate deals, along with other states like Florida and Arizona. According to CBRE, Houston has a year-over-year growth of 178.8% in commercial real estate, compared to the national average of 44.5%.
In our development group, we have tapped into many opportunities this changing market provides, including a shift toward service-oriented centers in suburban communities. We have shied away from e-commerce tenants as most suburban residents can shop online. Our centers offer amenities like doctors, dentists, chiropractors, dry cleaners, restaurants, and more. These businesses service a vast portion of communities where a daily commute to city centers for work is no longer happening.
Our development planning and design teams have also adapted to new models. Now that outdoor dining has been popularized from a social distancing standpoint, we’re designing sizeable outdoor patio spaces for our restaurants. We’re also adding drive-thru end caps to accommodate businesses with fast, low-contact service. Our world is changing, and real estate development is adapting to everyone’s new normal.
Q. What does the road ahead look like for XAG Group? Do you have anything new coming up?
Our plate is undoubtedly full of new projects, and we are very grateful. We recently announced that we’ve expanded into the Louisiana market. We are developing a mixed-use town center in Youngsville, LA. This is a milestone project for our group. During this process, we worked directly with the mayor and town council members in Youngsville and successfully closed our first town center project with office, retail, hotel, and leisure spaces.
In the future, we will focus more on master planning in development and MUD, with large-scale projects and complex mixed-use developments. We’re also looking at commercial green buildings as we evaluate sites for the most appropriate use and the best potential for return on investment.
Q. What is your final message to CIO Bulletin readers, current and future customers, and partners?
We’ve all heard the saying choose a job you love and will never work a day in your life. I believe this is absolutely true for many reasons. I genuinely enjoy what I do, making all the time, energy, and dedication I’ve put into this company and my career feel worthwhile. It’s inspiring and fulfilling to see a piece of land be developed. No two projects are ever the same, so each project feels unique, and there’s always something new to learn and explore.
In terms of our industry, I think it’s time to let go of the old establishment way of thinking and look at the industry through a new lens. We’re partnering with other firms because we know this can benefit and help us grow. There’s no ego or pride involved. There’s room for everyone at the table, and we’re thrilled to be a part of CRE in some fascinating times.
One of my highest priorities is to help promote women and employees with diverse backgrounds in our industry. I strive to leadby example with humility and integrity and hope other leaders in our industry do the same.
Leading XAG Group to grow in the real estate industry
Nathaliah Naipaul is the CEO of XAG Group. She has been working since she was 12 years old. Before XAG Group, she gained experience working in many facets of the industry as a realtor, broker, agent, and project planner. She also developed investment and leasing experience and learned the Houston market through many years in real estate and managing businesses in the area.