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Commercial Real Estate

The Mystery Ownership Behind That Planned Uptown Central Market

You'll never guess.
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DALL-E

A few days ago, our Will Maddox did his level best to figure out what the heck is going on with that spot in Uptown where an Albertson’s once stood. It seems a Central Market is coming. But in trying to figure out who owns the land, all Will could decipher is that a Florida-based entity is listed in appraisal records.

I’m here to help (with a huge assist from a FrontBurnervian who is a way better sleuther than I).

As indicated on the DCAD site, the land that is being leased by H-E-B is owned by Pan Coastal Limited Partnership, which bought up propery all over Uptown starting in the 1980s. The S&L crisis was no fun. Except for people with lots of liquidity! Pan Coastal has owned the site since 1989 and leased it to Albertson’s in 1992.

Yes, Pan Coastal traces back to Florida, but there is a Delaware company also registered to that same address in Florida. That’s the one Will reached out to (unsuccessfully) for comment. But wait! A little more digging reveals a list of company directors for that second entity. Those directors have (or had) addresses in the United Kingdom. Which is where you’ll find the actual owner. In Switzerland.

Remember the Panama Papers? A lot of the shell companies involved here were exposed in 2016. (I hasten to add that I’m not suggesting anything untoward is at play here; that’s just where the info leaked.) The only surviving family member named as an officer in that Delaware company is a Swiss woman named Hanah Willmott, who was born in Saudi Arabia to Pakistani-Austrian parents. Willmott has a blind dog and makes art out of recycled Nespresso pods. I am not making this up. Here is her website.

The point of all this? There isn’t one, really. It’s just fun to learn. And maybe when this Central Market is finally built, H-E-B should commission a Hanah Willmott original to hang near the check-out aisles.

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Tim Rogers

Tim Rogers

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Tim is the editor of D Magazine, where he has worked since 2001. He won a National Magazine Award in…
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