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Meet the 500: Chris Kleinert

The CEO of Hunt Investment Holdings on his under-the-radar favorite restaurant and why he is learning Turkish.

Along with serving as CEO of Hunt Investment Holdings and co-CEO of its holding company, Hunt Consolidated, Chris Kleinert leads Hunt Realty Investments. The group secured several big wins in 2022, including welcoming JPMorgan Chase to a 132,000-square-foot office at 1900 N. Akard St., which will also soon become the new home of the Dallas Petroleum Club. But dwarfing those deals was a 1 million-square-foot commitment from Goldman Sachs to occupy the first three new office buildings in Hunt’s North End development, housing up to 5,000 employees.

EDUCATION: Texas Christian University (MBA), Southern Methodist University (BBA) 

BIRTHPLACE: “Minneapolis”

FIRST JOB: “When I wasn’t playing baseball in my summers growing up, I was umpiring games. It didn’t take long to learn some important life lessons, such as showing up early, knowing the rules, giving 100 percent, and being decisive.”

BEST ADVICE:“It takes a long time to build a reputation and can take only seconds to lose it.”

DINNER PARTY: “It’s so hard to choose just two—Ray Hunt and Harlan Crow, or perhaps Michael Sorrell, Ron Kirk, Mike Rawlings, Bobby Lyle, Jennifer Sampson, Sara Madsen Miller, or Sophia Johnson. Can I only choose two? And can I bring my wife?”

DESTINATIONS OF CHOICE: “Cody, Wyoming; Edinburgh, Scotland; and Istanbul, Turkey”

HOBBY/PASSION: “Doing anything that is competitive, from physical activities to card games.”

INDUSTRY CHANGE: “I’d like to see the commercial real estate community play a bigger role in addressing issues like home affordability, education, and job training to ensure that Dallas remains competitive for corporate relocations.”

LOCAL FARE: “My favorite is Corrientes 348 on Ross Avenue. I love the Bariloche salad with salmon.”

FUN FACT: “Most people who know me know that I’ve been to more than 1,000 sporting events, so that would not be surprising. The fun fact might be that a close friend of mine is Turkish, so I’m trying to learn the language. I’m approaching 1,000 consecutive days on my Duolingo app. Dedi, lütfen benden bir şey söylememi isteme!”

GO-TO ADVISER: “My go-to person is my father-in-law, Ray Hunt. My own father died many years ago, and I’m incredibly blessed to have a father-in-law who I consider a great mentor and friend.”

TOUGHEST CHALLENGE: “I sold a major component of Hunt’s real estate portfolio in 2016. With the sale went some great people and investments. The remaining team and I retooled our strategy to be almost entirely Dallas-focused, which has allowed us to attract great talent for the opportunities now on our plate.”

FUTURE FORECAST: “Persistent issues in our city like equity gaps, transportation challenges, housing shortages, education, and job training are being discussed and possible solutions being tested and measured.”

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