Next Generation Leader: George Billingsley
George Billingsley is an industrial guy through and through. And for a market like DFW that continues to both densify and expand, industrial space will be interesting to watch in coming years. We caught up with the Billingsley Co partner to hear his thoughts on the future. Hear more from George and many other Dallas Next Generation Leaders at our event on Sept. 15.
Billingsley Co's atypical strategy of acquiring land, then deciding how to develop it when the time comes, has served it well for industrial projects—the company boasts more than 10M SF of industrial space in its portfolio. George (here with his wife, Lindsay, and their son) tends to pick up a few large deals as opposed to plentiful small deals.
These days, he's working on three big projects. Austin Ranch, the master planned community in The Colony, has a 330k SF warehouse under development—the first build-to-suit for George—that will deliver in November. A spec warehouse under construction called Mercer 3 at Mercer Business Park in Farmers Branch has already pre-leased 50% of its 204k SF and will deliver in October. Construction begins on a fourth industrial building at Mercer Business Park later this month to add another 330k SF to the corporate campus.
Besides those three developments, George spends time focusing on taking advantage of low interest rates. "Our projects are only as successful as the debt we get on them," he tells us.
George (top left with the Billingsley family) started on the multifamily side after earning a bachelor's from DBU and a master's from SMU. After three years in multifamily, he moved to industrial, which he feels fits his conservative personality. In a low-drama asset class where the buildings age well and the tenants are easy to work with, George says industrial is a safer asset class.
But George can pretty much sum up the near future of his career in one word—McKinney. Many other industrial folks continue to invest big bucks in South Dallas along I-20, but Billingsley looks north and west. George and his father, Henry Billingsley (top right), have similar philosophies on industrial investments—they like barriers to entry. They find the McKinney and Fort Worth markets especially interesting.
And McKinney might be sitting even prettier when driverless cars (literally) pick up speed. George says he's looking forward to seeing how the decreased need for parking will reinvigorate urban areas that have parking issues, and give new opportunities to surface lots in the outskirts. The potential to build on former parking lots will allow for more density throughout metros. "Driverless cars will be a real game changer for the positive with parking ratios, safety and productive commutes," George tells us.
Hear more from George and several other Dallas Next Generation Leaders at our event on Sept. 15. Sign up here.