DUNWOODY, Ga. — A Dunwoody-based real estate investment firm, UC Assets, recently became a publicly traded company under the leadership of local real estate agent, Greg Bankston.
A Conyers native, Bankston has served as a Realtor in Atlanta’s north metro market for more than 20 years. Along with his wife, Liz, he founded the Bankston Brokers firm and has worked in residential, commercial and investment real estate.
"I was looking at commercial real estate, but in a booming economy, next thing I know all my friends were like 'Hey, sell me a house or a condo,' so I ended up falling into the residential side of things,” Bankston said. “At the same time, I was working with investors who were looking for a rental portfolio."
Around the time of the Great Recession, Bankston began focusing more on the investment side, but he said the underlying principles are the same in all kinds of real estate.
"It still goes back to being able to help people," Bankston said. "That's really why I got started in real estate ... An investor is someone who if you can show them a return, treat them right and with honesty, they will come back and want to invest with you again and again. I find that very fulfilling."
Three years ago, Bankston came on board as managing partner at UC Asset. There, he met UC Asset’s founder Larry Wu, when they both had children involved with local Cub Scouts. Their relationship grew from friendship to a successful business partnership.
Based near the Perimeter, the real estate investment firm hosts national and global investors to support growth around Atlanta. UC Asset has revived and built properties in Dunwoody, Sandy Springs and Brookhaven and has an eye on growth in Atlanta’s westside.
"It goes back to really being able to help the community," Bankston said. "Obviously we have investors that we have to show a return for, but our focus is really being able to show a good and steady return for the investors in a way that also benefits the community."
Too often, investors buy houses and commercial buildings only to sit on them and wait for property values to go up, he said. UC Asset looks for opportunities to bring life back into neighborhoods.
“You want to be able to create a community and businesses where people live and work,” Bankston said. “That's what our goal is.”
Securing properties in north and west Atlanta for the company’s portfolio, Bankston helped UC Asset to grow its assets under management from $2 million to almost $10 million. In those three years, its net equity has grown from $1.16 per share to about $1.49 per share, the company reported.
After a successful mini-initial public offering (IPO), UC Asset is scheduled to be listed on OTC Markets Group (OTCQX), a national public market where the stocks of companies such as Adidas, Heineken, Air Canada and Walmart Mexico are also traded.
The trading symbol of UC Asset is UCASU, and its initial trading price will be $2 per share.
"Going public has been absolutely wonderful," Bankston said. "It just allows us to have the opportunity to move into a different playing field.”
Bankston said he expects the firm’s assets under management to double over the next year.
"I'm not saying that we can continue to sustain that growth, but I do think that Atlanta itself and even throughout the Southeast region, there's so much potential that’s untapped,” he said.
UC Asset will become one of the smaller public companies on the OTC market, but Bankston and Wu say they are confident that it will grow to become one of the big names someday.
The company's goal is to build a billion-dollar portfolio they hope to achieve by going public and by continuing to explore long-term capital from global sources, such as China, Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia.
For more information about UC Asset, visit ucasset.com.