Early in my real estate career, as I was trying to build my brokerage business, I dreamed of someday becoming a developer. To me, the lure of development was driven by my desire to make a mark on the real estate marketplace—to one day be able to drive by a quality development project that provided usefulness to its occupants, and knowing it would remain useful long after I’m gone.
As our brokerage business continued to thrive, my interest in real estate ownership and development continued to grow. My first opportunity came in early 2000. The tollway market was leasing up, and we saw an opportunity to build an office building.
I remember sitting in front of Denny Holman of Folsom Cos., asking him if he would let us put land they owned on the tollway under contract so we could design and try to prelease a to-be-built office building. Through the good relationship with him and his company, we were allowed to do so. After several extensions of the land contract, and because of a great market and God’s grace, we were able to prelease the building to 50 percent, and see One Hanover Park get built.
Conceiving the project and working with architects to design the building, as well as having the real estate market take the building seriously, was both exciting and rewarding. Over the years, the Hanover building has had several owners, as well as tenants. I have driven by it almost daily with pride, and with great memories of how the deal came together and how strong our belief was in our ability to complete the project.
Over the years, Wilcox Development built several projects on the tollway that I am proud of, but the One Hanover building was the first development deal I was involved in. It’s exciting to get a second chance to own the first building I had a hand in developing. It was great to tour the building and see the timeless design has weathered the past 13 years well. We closed on the purchase of the Hanover building last week—so we get a second chance to own the first building I had a hand in seeing developed!