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Welcome Group Gets $300M Infusion To Expand Industrial, Office Investment

The Welcome Group Chairman Welcome Wilson Sr.

A longtime family-owned business has secured a new source of funds to expand its portfolio inside and outside of Texas.

Houston-based Welcome Group signed an agreement for up to $300M in growth capital from an investment fund managed by New York-based Almanac Realty Investors. 

The funds will allow Welcome Group to expand its investment activity focused on acquisitions, build-to-suits, value-add and spec development of industrial and office properties, Welcome Wilson Jr. said in a release

Founded by its current chairman, Welcome Wilson Sr., a well-known Houston real estate developer, Welcome Group has been around for decades. His sons help run the day-to-day operations. Welcome Wilson Jr. is the president and CEO, and Craig Wilson is the firm's executive vice president and chief operating officer. 

"Welcome Group is an established organization with a strong investment track record," Almanac Managing Director David Haltiner said in a release. "The leadership team has significant experience in the industrial and office space and is well positioned to execute on the growth strategy. We are pleased to partner with Welcome, and we look forward to the opportunities ahead."

In the late 1990s, Welcome Group purchased four single-tenant industrial projects under construction in Houston, Wilson Sr. previously told Bisnow. That industrial deal changed the trajectory of the company, which previously developed office, multifamily, hospitality, retail centers and subdivisions, including Jamaica Beach Tiki Island in Galveston.

Wilson Sr. shifted to focus on single-tenant industrial development. It helped that industrial assets are less risky and tenants typically sign longer leases and bear the bulk of the responsibility as far as repairs and maintenance go. He also revealed that he rarely sells assets anymore. 

“We do not build spec buildings,” Wilson Sr. told Bisnow. “We have a tenant and a signed lease before any developments start.”

Welcome Group owns 4M SF of manufacturing and industrial facilities worth more than $450M in 87 locations, but Wilson Sr. said he wanted to own more than $1B in assets. This partnership will help the company get closer to that goal. The timing may be ideal as industrial remains one of the hottest property types in Houston and office is primed to make a steady recovery.   

“Every major real estate investment company is under the quota for industrial assets,” said Wilson Sr., who gets calls from companies looking for him to sell. “Everyone is looking for an investment. And, we are competing with all of them.”