D CEO magazine’s Commercial Real Estate Awards program for 2014 recognized 41 finalists in 12 categories. Here’s a look at those honored in the Real Estate Executive of the Year category, including winner Craig Hall of Hall Financial Group.
Entrepreneur and investor Craig Hall has had a profound impact on the Dallas region, pioneering new submarkets and development strategies. This was especially true in 2013, which saw the groundbreaking of the 16th building at his Hall Office Park in Frisco and new tower in the Dallas Arts District.
3001 Dallas Parkway will add 200,000 square feet to Hall’s 2 million-square-foot corporate campus in Frisco, which is nearly fully leased. When he first began developing on farmland north of State Highway 121 in the late 1990s, his decision to do so was roundly questioned, as was his move to incorporate millions of dollars worth of art. Last year, more than 331,000 square feet of leases—valued at $37 million—were signed at Hall Office Park.
The developer first acquired his Arts District land in 1995; last year, he decided the time was finally right to build. The first 18-story, 500,000-square-foot tower began as a speculative project, but it was 60 percent preleased before construction began. Tenants include KPMG, Jackson Walker, and UMB Bank. Future phases will take the value to more than $750 million.
Beyond the impact of his real estate projects, Hall has quietly supported numerous local causes. He says he strives to balance profits with a desire to make a real difference in the community. “It isn’t the easy or fast way,” he says. “You have to have a longer vision.”
Mike Berry, Hillwood
Mike Berry was nominated by his boss, Ross Perot Jr., for the real estate executive of the year award. And with good reason. Serving as president of Hillwood Properties, Mike has played a leading role in the development of Alliance Texas. He joined the company when Alliance was just getting off the ground, 25 years ago, and has overseen its astounding growth ever since. The 18,000-acre development includes more than 30 million square feet of real estate, 360 tenants, and 37,000 employees. For the past three years, it has contributed $3 billion—per year—in economic impact to the region. The numbers tell the story, but they don’t trump Mike’s passion for the project, and for North Texas as a whole.
Steve Everbach, Cushman & Wakefield
It has only been two years since Steve Everbach took the helm of Cushman & Wakefield of Texas. So he doesn’t have the depth of experience that other nominees in this category have. But what he does have … are results. One of the first things Steve did was have walls removed within the firm’s office, to eliminate silos and internal competition. Another big game-changer was Cushman & Wakefield’s acquisition of Cousins Properties’ third-party client service business, which Steve helped engineer. It added a deep bench of professionals—and about 4 million square feet of Class A office space. One other thing has changed, too. Since Steve took over, revenue at the firm is up about 50 percent. Not bad for a rookie.
Herb Weitzman, The Weitzman Group
After more than 50 years in the commercial real estate business, Herb Weitzman still has the energy and drive and enthusiasm of a broker on his first day of work. His companies, The Weitzman Group/Cencor Realty Services, are widely regarded as premier retail real estate brokerage, management, and development services firms in Texas. Even through the recent recession, they grew both in personnel and market share. Though he loves doing deals, Herb is just as passionate about work-life balance, giving back to community, and maintaining high standards of ethics and professional behavior. His mentorship and guidance have helped developed some of the industry’s top producers.