Up Close with Eric Johnson
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Since becoming Transwestern’s national director of healthcare, Eric Johnson hasn’t been doing as many transactions. Instead, he’s expanding its practice line, growing from 15 to 34 markets. We got a glimpse behind the curtain.
Eric got into real estate in his last year at UT, working with Buffington Homes. After nine months in a trailer in South Austin learning the business, Eric decided he would rather work with businesses than homeowners. His first commercial job was doing RTC work for an investment group in Dallas, but competing with people who knew the market and had established relationships was difficult. He came home to Houston, helping Mac Haik lease 1.5M SF of Memorial Healthcare system properties. In 1996, there was a downturn in the healthcare market, so he moved to Transwestern to work on other sectors while he waited for it to rebound.
It didn’t take long; in 2002, he helped St. Luke’s develop 6620 Main, a 675k SF property in the Med Center. That led to his all-time favorite deal—right after the system moved into that facility in ‘04, it negotiated an affiliation with Baylor College of Medicine. The Baylor docs moved into the new building, and Eric (pictured with wife Delia) had to very quickly find St. Luke’s admin/executive offices a new home in Midtown or the affiliation would fall through. He locked in space in the HCC building, which made everyone happy because they could take light rail.
Eric and his wife have five sons ranging from 5 (twins) to 14. Their sports keep Eric busy—he coaches baseball, and his oldest son plays year-round lacrosse that includes a lot of travel. (He and Eric went to a lacrosse camp in Florida together recently.) Eric and Delia also have their own sport—they play tennis together a few times a week, and compete in tournaments now and then. But it’s not all sweat and competition—Eric leads eighth grade Bible study at River Oaks Baptist.