THE LEGENDS OF REAL ESTATE AWARDS 2016 – Ralph Bivins, editor of Realty News Report, has selected the most significant people, projects, deals and ideas of the Houston real estate market for 2016. These aren’t necessarily the largest or the first. But the deals point to future trends, potential gold mines, noble visions and notable accomplishments.
LEGEND: TEXAN OF THE YEAR – John Goff, Crescent Real Estate Equities.
John Goff, chairman of Crescent Real Estate Equities of Fort Worth, has stamped a large footprint on the Texas real estate market. Last summer, Goff launched a $4 billion real estate buying spree with a vehicle called GP Investment Fund. And at the end of 2016, Crescent opened a new 20-story office tower in Dallas – the 530,000-SF McKinney & Olive building. It’s over 90 percent leased.
Goff was born on the Texas Gulf Coast, in the Freeport community in 1955 and he grew up in Lake Jackson, south of Houston.
Goff has done well for a young man who started off in the mid-1980s by putting everything he had – $15,000 from a cashed-in 401K account – into an investment with Richard Rainwater. They bought a stake in the Staubach Co. real estate firm, which turned out to be a gold mine when Jones Lang LaSalle bought Staubach a few years later.
Through Crescent, Goff made some smart deals, buying the 4 million-SF Greenway Plaza in central Houston and a stake in The Woodlands. In August of 2007, just before the economy took a nosedive, Goff sold Crescent to Morgan Stanley for $6.5 billion. Two years later, in the Great Recession, the deal was looked like a blemish on Morgan Stanley’s books, so they asked Goff to buy back the assets, which he did – for less than 50 cents on the dollar – a brilliant move.
In a visionary civic effort, Goff also spearheaded the creation of the Klyde Warren Park, which was built over a depressed freeway in downtown Dallas. The widely acclaimed urban park is surrounded with several office and residential high-rise projects that are being developed on the park’s perimeter. The Texas Department of Public Transportation has proposed a similar over-the-freeway park on the east side of downtown Houston. These deck parks are now underway in a number of cities around the country, says landscape designer James Burnett, who planned Klyde Warren Park.
In downtown Houston, Goff has been planning to build 6 Houston Center, a proposed 30-story office tower at Walker and Caroline streets. It’s a follow-up to the 5 Houston Center that Crescent completed in 2002. But it’s likely to be a few years before 6 Houston Center gets going, due to the softness in the Houston office market.
With the development of a new Dallas office building that was 90 percent leased as it opened, launching the new investment fund and for his leadership with the creation of the trend-setting Klyde Warren park in downtown Dallas, John Goff is the winner of Realty News Report’s Legends of Real Estate Award – Texan of the Year.
Jan. 6, 2017 Realty News Report Copyright 2017