Space finders Dan McKinley (left) and Tim Mooney help locals buy local. NICK SIMONITE/ABJ

Space finders Dan McKinley (left) and Tim Mooney help locals buy local.

Tim Mooney began his career in real estate at Live Oak-Gottesman primarily in tenant representation, but over time his focus evolved into a more passionate mission. Mooney wanted to save good buildings in Austin and provide ways for local businesses to occupy and eventually own them. To accomplish that goal, he left Live Oak-Gottesman in 2011 to start his latest venture, Lead Commercial.

“We look at things with a local state of mind,” Mooney said. “Our Lead Tenant Program provides local companies an ownership opportunity for signing a fair-market-value lease on a desirable acquisition property.”

Every deal is a little different than the previous one.

Sometimes deals come together because Mooney and Dan McKinley, his partner in Lead Commerical, have spotted a vintage building with good bones. If it’s in a premium location, they’ll buy it first and then seek a tenant-buyer. In other cases, the partners come across a great company that wants to own its own real estate but may not think it’s possible.

“If we see a great company, we just want to help them. Generally the people we do deals with share the same values we have and they’re generous,” Mooney said. “We’re just constantly looking for new ways of putting deals together.”

Lead Commercial played a pivotal investment role in helping Eddy Patterson and John Scott, the executives behind Stubb’s Legendary BBQ, acquire the ARC commercial building at 613 S. Lamar Blvd. last year. It belonged to a printing company for some time, but soon will be a new restaurant and bar concept. Lead Commercial retains an ownership fraction in the property.

Today the focus for Lead Commercial is at 2007 S. First St. The company — which also handles a variety of conventional real estate related activities including leasing, tenant representation, investment sales, development and property management — purchased the commercial property for its own offices. Coincidentally, the property also housed a printing company. McKinley spotted the building and the company initiated an off-market transaction.

Lead Commercial is embracing its Lead Tenant Program by providing a way for Mark Hart of Mark Hart Architecture and Scott Wuest of Wuest Group Engineering to co-own the new South Austin property. The three companies will share 3,390 square feet and another 2,250 square feet is available for lease. The project is dubbed “The Coop,” and should be ready for occupancy by St. Patrick’s Day.

Mooney said his company is thinking about expanding its opportunities by looking for tenants who love their building but can’t stand the landlord. Lead Commercial ideally would make a pitch to the landlord, buy the property and provide an ownership option for the tenant.

Added Mooney, “We’re going to see if we can make sense of this.”

This article was published in the Austin Business Journal and written by Jan Bucholz.