January 14, 2015

Houston's Richest Moguls

Houston's richest people are almost all oilmen, but most also have a commercial real estate connection. We tracked down five of our wealthiest residents who have had a go at real estate.

Kinder Foundation

Richard Kinder
Chairman of Kinder Morgan


Forbes puts Richard's 2014 value at nearly $11B, making him the richest Houstonian. He got his start in the real estate industry--in the ‘70s, he invested in apartments, a bar called the Second Chance and a Howard Johnson's Motor Lodge. He told Fortune that most of those ventures were pretty successful, but a personal guarantee on the hotel ended up sending him into bankruptcy in 1980, and he's never come back to real estate. He's changing the landscape in different ways—Kinder Morgan is the country's largest pipeline company, with 180 storage terminals and 82,000 miles of pipeline. Pictured: Richard and wife Nancy in their work with the Kinder Foundation, which was very involved in the development of Discovery Green.

Aspen Journalism

Check out our slideshow to learn about four other moguls with real estate on their resumes!

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Moody Rambin (1455WLoop2015)
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Half-Leased One Northchase Park Gets Non-Recourse Bridge Lending

Your deal doesn't have to be perfect to get financed--Q10 KDH VP Travis Fite closed a $2.8M fixed-rate acquisition loan for One Northchase Park while the Class-B office building was only 50% occupied. Surprisingly, the bridge money was quick-close and non-recourse (that's rare for a property that's not stabilized) to allow the borrower to acquire, renovate and lease the historically underperforming building. Travis tells us the lender got comfortable with the deal because the borrower knew the 1960 office submarket so well. Travis is pictured with his wife, Jennifer, who's due with their first child today—he's proud to say the little boy will be a seventh-generation Houstonian.

The bridge lender partnered with a life insurance company to fund the deal on its balance sheet, another unique aspect, Travis says. That program's only been around about a year, and it's a great option for borrowers to get non-recourse debt without a personal guarantee. The buyer liked One Northchase Park for its value-add potential—it's been difficult to find those opportunities lately, and this deal was done off-market. Travis tells us Q10 KDH expects even more life insurance company allocations to real estate this year than 2014, and says those groups still have a great perception of Houston's investment opportunities.

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Bisnow Buckeye

Halberdier Real Estate founder Trey Halberdier was a happy man Monday night—the Ohio State alum and his family journeyed up to Arlington to see his Buckeyes beat the Oregon Ducks in the CFP Championship. Trey played four years of Division 1 soccer at the school (following in his grandfather's footsteps, who was a boxer there) and was happy to see fellow Ohio State athletes take a victory. (He says his firm has the same resilience as that team, even when oil plunges threaten to turn them into underdogs.)

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Watch: PWC Predicts Top Markets for Real Estate Investment in '15

Mitch Roschelle, the US real estate advisory practice leader at PwC, sat down with Bloomberg's Pimm Fox to discuss the top US markets for real estate investment in 2015. If you were too busy watching Friends on Netflix, here's a rundown. Roschelle points out that with prime buildings in New York and DC fetching $1k PSF rents or higher, investors are increasingly looking for higher yields and replacement costs. Texas cities driven by oil score high in those categories, especially as their economies diversify.

On the note of diversifying, Mitch says that perennial retiree favorite Phoenix is catching on with Millennials thanks to impressive job growth. "Jobs are chasing people," he says. "Not the other way around." And areas popular with students (e.g. Phoenix and Charlotte) are reeling in employers. Jobs and young residents should revive several markets in 2015 and even boost the fortunes of downtrodden cities. When it comes to the year's biggest comeback kid, Roschelle puts his money on Detroit. Listen to what he has to say here.

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Join Us for Our First Event of 2015!

Houston's industrial real estate is one of the very best in the nation. Will that momentum continue through 2015? Will another submarket rise to compete with the saturated Northwest submarket? Join us for Bisnow's 5th annual Industrial Real Estate Summit, Jan. 29 at the JW Marriott. We've collected a panel of some of Houston's biggest developers to discuss leasing rates, new investment and future pipelines. Don't miss it (plus our legendary networking hours)--register now and we'll see you there!

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Who do you think will win the Super Bowl? We've decided to root for the Packers, although we will not be pleased if Aaron Rodgers is named league MVP over JJ Watt. Send your news to Catie Dixon, catie@bisnow.com.