Adam Gilbert, President of The Firm Capital Companies (center), with Joel Handshuh (left) and Joshua Gilbert (right)
Adam Gilbert, Broker and Investor for The Firm Capital Group, Launches Real Estate Fund in 2023 after $100+M in Real Estate Sales for 2022
As president of The Firm Companies, Adam Gilbert leads a team of agents in Palm Springs and Palm Desert, California, overseeing transactions in commercial real estate sales, leasing, government relations, land acquisition and development. The team holds a specialty in enhanced entitlement transactions, and recently acquired two buildings encompassing 40,000 square feet as a stepping stone for its newest venture, a real estate fund.
The Firm Commercial achieved $100+ million in sales volume throughout the Coachella Valley and Inland Empire in 2022; this accomplishment, Gilbert says, kick-starts a new segment of growth strategy for the year ahead. The group’s new real estate fund will work toward realizing Gilbert’s vision to create direct investment opportunities for income-producing real estate assets.
Gilbert has been a broker and investor for more than a decade, overseeing the agency’s operations, including the purchase and sale of $500M+ of residential, multifamily and commercial properties in California. His modern approach to a historically rich market recognizes the benefits of investing in a variety of property types, sometimes leaning into the unconventional.
As he describes it: “We buy vacant properties and great values, make them pretty, and lease them out. Our disposition strategy will be to refinance them after stabilization or sell for a profit. We also buy raw land and either rezone it or entitle it, or both.”
The Firm Capital Group’s accomplishments include the rezoning and sale of a commercial warehouse in Cathedral City, California, known as The Azteca project. The strategy included getting an option on the 15,000 sq. ft commercial industrial/retail building, followed by a zone change and a specific plan amendment of the entire city block where the building was located. The zone change allowed for more optimal cannabis cultivation and distribution, a hot commodity at the time. After obtaining the zone change and specific plan amendment, The Firm also got a conditional use permit and cannabis licenses for a new buyer. Shortly after obtaining those entitlements, the project was sold to a cannabis operator/investor for a 10-times cash-on-cash return.
The company’s current projects, Gilbert says, are diverse and growing, having recently entitled a 2.53-acre parcel of industrial-zoned land, obtained a zone change to low-density residential, and received approval of an eight-home tract map. With this project, The Firm Capital Group negotiated for a one-year escrow to close at a price of $875,000. Within that year, the team worked on the zone change, completed a CEQA assessment and had all requests approved. This project now has a post-entitlement land value of $2.5M with the possibility of a joint venture with a builder or build-to-suit for increased return of potential profits at $1M per lot for a total of $8M gross income. This is just one example, Gilbert notes, of his ability to leverage and foresee beneficial opportunities. “I’m a real estate broker first and foremost to fund investments,” he says. “Now, to do them at scale and speed, this is where the fund comes in. I know what owners want and need to create value for both sides.”
With a commitment to create generational wealth for its clients through income-generating assets, The Firm Capital Group team keeps an eye on market forecasts and stays prepared to seize opportunities.
“We pay attention to what’s happening in the news,” Gilbert says. “It’s doing that work and talking to the creatives and people on the forefront of doing cool concepts. Our priority is to take what’s working in other markets and bring it to the desert.”
Noting The Firm’s collective desire to connect the Coachella Valley and Inland Empire communities through business opportunities, Gilbert says, “You are going to trust people who are top producers in the market. Now, clients work with me in this capacity because I know the market and create value.”