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Real Estate D&M Leasing moving headquarters to building Whitley Penn will vacate

D&M Leasing moving headquarters to building Whitley Penn will vacate

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Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

Fort Worth is getting another corporate headquarters.

D&M Auto Leasing will relocate from a building in Grand Prairie to the second and third floor of what was previously the four-story office Whitley Penn building at 1400 W. 7th St.

Anthracite Realty Partners LLC announced Aug. 14 it has partnered with MAH Properties to acquire 1400 W 7th St. from Whitley Penn.

Whitley Penn, meanwhile, is moving to a more prominent location downtown in the new Frost Tower Fort Worth building, owned and built by Anthracite, the development arm of Jetta Operating, an oil and gas firm based in Fort Worth.

Two days after the announcement of changes at the 1400 W. 7th Street building, Hertz Investment Group announced it was purchasing the nearby Pier 1 Imports building (see sidebar).

MAH Properties is owned by Mike Hernandez, owner and CEO of D&M Auto Leasing which plans to relocate to the building at the corner of Summit and West 7th in early 2019.

“We are very excited to expand our presence in Fort Worth by relocating our corporate headquarters into the heart of the city where many of our loyal customers call home,” said Hernandez.

“Fort Worth’s flourishing sense of community, combined with a highly skilled workforce, abundant labor pool and a pro-business attitude makes for an ideal location to deepen our roots and build on our 40-plus-year history in the DFW Metroplex,” he said.

Based in Tarrant County for 42 years, D&M will bring more than 100 employees to the area, including current employees and several new positions. D&M will also maintain offices in Dallas and Grand Prairie/Arlington.

D&M Auto Leasing’s parent company is Hernco Inc, which also owns Autolease USA, dr2marketing and Dallas Lease Returns. Last year, Hernco acquired Four Stars Auto Group giving D&M Leasing customers a new purchase option and expanding the company’s reach to Henrietta, Wichita Falls and Jacksboro in Texas, as well as Altus, Oklahoma.

Hernco Inc. reported revenues of $510.8 million in 2017, according to the 2018 list of Top 100 private companies compiled by the Fort Worth Business Press.

“We couldn’t be happier to partner with Mike and a great legacy family company like D&M,” said Greg Bird with Anthracite. “Acquiring a building at the central gateway to downtown, West Seventh district and future Panther Island development was a chance we didn’t want to pass up. It was the perfect opportunity for D&M to move their headquarters to Fort Worth and a smart investment.”

MAH Properties and D&M were represented by Todd Davenport and Tyler Baucom with SCC Development Co. Anthracite received advisory services from Cody Baker and Clint Corn with Maize Partners LLC. The building ownership group was represented by Todd Burnette and Cannon Camp at JLL on the building sale.

The off-market transaction was made possible by Whitley Penn’s move downtown to Frost Tower Fort Worth, 640 Taylor St.

“The sale of this property, timed with our move, gives us a great opportunity to re-energize our work environment for our team,” said Larry Autrey, managing partner at Whitley Penn. “Since we built 1400 West 7th as our headquarters over 11 years ago, our firm is now five times as large as when we originally occupied the building. With the efforts of JLL’s team, we were able to identify a solution that accomplished all of our objectives.”

“We are thrilled to find such great partners that helped simplify an otherwise complex lease and disposition negotiation into a win-win-win situation for all parties,” said Burnette. “Our collective efforts will strengthen and diversify the Fort Worth business community by welcoming and retaining these two great companies to the downtown market.”

The fourth floor of the building, 10,500 square feet, is available for lease, with ability to occupy in early 2019.

“The location offers prominent visibility and building recognition, as well as quick access to highways and major thoroughfares. Abundant surface and covered parking ratio and a well-designed, efficient floorplate is driving considerable interest in leasing the space,” said Tyler Maner with Stream.

Compass Bank will continue to occupy the first floor and provide retail and motor bank services. Compass Bank provided financing for the acquisition.

D&M was established in 1976 by Don Davis and David Moritz, two Dallas area automobile dealers. Hernandez started with the company in 1984, took over as president in 1990 and bought out partners Davis and Moritz in 2005.

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