Houston's Wealthiest Moguls
Houston’s richest people are almost all oilmen, but most also have a commercial real estate connection. We tracked down how five of our wealthiest residents who have their fingers in the real estate pie.
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 his wife Nancy in their work with the Kinder Foundation, which was very involved in the development of Discovery Green.
Founder of Hilcorp
Jeff’s worth $6.5B, but he may skyrocket up Forbes’ list in a few years if Hilcorp becomes, as predicted, the largest privately held oil company in America. That mega company will have a beautiful new home—Hilcorp is building a 475k SF office tower at the site of the former Macy’s Downtown. Employees will start moving into the 23-story building in Q4 of this year. Jeff is a known horse lover—he’s built a polo field on his ranch, and serves on the board of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.
Owner/Chairman of Gulf States Toyota
Dan’s got $3.3B to his name, thanks to exclusive rights to import and distribute Toyota vehicles in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Oklahoma. But his interests (and ownerships) are varied—he invested in Auberge Resorts in 2013 and serves as its chairman (he’s pushing its international expansion), started a film company, and Forbes reports he owns one of the largest collections of vintage military war planes. (Pictured is his Corsair F4U-4 Navy plane being flown in a French air show.) He’s also a conservationist, donating over $100M to support wildlife anti-poaching efforts in East Africa, and serving on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.
Owner of GeoSouthern Energy
George’s firm is also on the path of rapid growth—he founded it in 1981, but its recent efforts in the Eagle Ford Shale are really putting it on the map. On the real estate front, the $3B man owns the Eagleford Restaurant in Cuero, is a partner in the River Ridge Golf Club, and last year, he purchased the Chub Cay resort in The Bahamas. He will be resuming development on the project, which stalled six years ago. Here’s the George Bishop Park, which opened in 2013 outside of Cuero’s Chisholm Trail Museum.
Owner of Landry’s
Tilman, who is worth $2.4B according to Forbes, also started in the real estate biz. After graduating from college, he ran a construction company, and got into restaurants as a real estate specialist for Landry’s. Besides his 500 restaurants, Tilman owns Golden Nugget Casinos (one just opened in Lake Charles at the end of the year), the Kemah Boardwalk, and the Tower of the Americas in San Antonio. He’s been very vocal about how he thinks an ‘80s-level real estate crash is coming soon, starting with Houston and spreading throughout the country. (Here's him talking to Bloomberg about it.) That’s not stopping him from planning a major hotel and conference center near Landry’s HQ.