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Beyond The Bio: 16 Questions With Avison Young Principal Todd Mason

This series profiles men and women in commercial real estate who have profoundly transformed our neighborhoods and reshaped our cities, businesses and lifestyles.

Todd Mason has worn many hats over the course of his career.

Over his more than 33 years of experience in commercial real estate, Mason has worked for firms including Cushman & Wakefield, the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County and McDade, Smith, Gould, Johnston, Mason + Co.

Mason founded his own brokerage company, Mason Partners, in December 2010. After two years, Mason sold the company to Avison Young and joined the firm as principal, where he continues to specialize in brokerage and consulting services for institutional and corporate clients.

Fred Baca (MLB Capital Partners), Jeff Lindenberger (Avison Young), Todd Mason (MLB Capital Partners) and Chris Shepherd (Underbelly Hospitality) at the groundbreaking for transformation of the Houston Farmers Market.

Ever an entrepreneur, Mason also founded MLB Capital Partners in November 2010, which he continues to operate separately. The company has invested in several commercial real estate projects in Texas, including the renovation of the Houston Farmers Market and the acquisition of McCreless Market in San Antonio.

Mason is also co-managing partner with lauded chef Chris Shepherd in Underbelly Hospitality, which has multiple popular restaurants in Houston.

Mason has won plenty of accolades for his work, including awards from the Houston Association of Realtors, the Association of Commercial Real Estate Professionals, the National Association for Industrial and Office Parks, and the Real Estate Forum. He was also recognized by the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors in 2018 for completing one of the top 50 industrial transactions worldwide. 

Bisnow: What is your favorite part of your job?

Mason: Solving complex problems.

Bisnow: What is the worst job you ever had?

Mason: Inspecting pipe thread during August in a pipe yard.

Bisnow: If you weren’t in commercial real estate, what would you do?  

Mason: Invest in operating businesses.

Bisnow: What deal are you proudest of?

Mason: The acquisition of the Houston Farmers Market.

Todd Mason with his wife, Janie, and their son, Richard, at Richard’s wedding in June 2019.

Bisnow: What deal do you consider to be your biggest failure? 

Mason: The JMH Grocery Store on Rice and Edloe.

Bisnow: What is your biggest pet peeve?  

Mason: When people don’t respond or acknowledge you in a timely manner.

Bisnow: What is your greatest extravagance?  

Mason: Really good wine.

Bisnow: What motivates you?  

Mason: Finding and completing the next deal.

Todd Mason doing an elbow bump with Dr. Stewart Niefield at the Avison Young rodeo party on March 5, 2020.

Bisnow: What advice do you wish you got when you started in CRE?

Mason: Begin investing as soon as possible. Only equity investments will create real wealth.

Bisnow: What is the biggest risk you have ever taken?  

Mason: Borrowing money on deals is always risky.

Bisnow: What keeps you up at night?  

Mason: Nothing.

Bisnow: What is your favorite place to visit?  

Mason: Telluride, Colorado.

Todd Mason on a hunting trip.

Bisnow: Outside of work, what are you most passionate about? 

Mason: Spending time with my family, especially hunting and fishing.

Bisnow: What CRE trend do you think will have the most impact over the next few years?  

Mason: E-commerce is the easy answer, but the impact of blockchain technology on how transactions are conducted will probably have a greater impact, I just don’t know how long that will take.

Bisnow: What would people be surprised to learn about you?  

Mason: I’ve never had any formal education in business or finance.

Bisnow: What do you want your legacy to be?  

Mason: I want my children to be proud of our family name and hope they will want to follow me into the business.