Up Close with Bob Cromwell
As Moody Rambin gears up to deliver Town Centre I on May 1, managing director Bob Cromwell (in charge of management and brokerage for the firm) is racing to lease it up. With a new lease signed two weeks ago, it’s on track to deliver at 40% pre-leased.
Bob got into real estate at age 15—he was lifeguarding and Don Mafrige, a family friend and legendary Houston broker, told him to quit and come work for him. Bob started off as a porter in one of Don’s office buildings and stuck with Don through high school and college, moving to the construction crew and then property management. At age 22 he started landlord leasing and never left it. He was getting into real estate when everyone else was getting out—he figured all that vacant space meant job security, and without zoning we’d always build more for him to lease.
Bob came to Moody Rambin in 1993 and has been there since. He says he was fortunate to have three amazing mentors in his career: Don Mafrige, Howard Weathers (Bob worked for him from ’89 to ’93, leasing the Arena Towers) and Howard Rambin (pictured here). One of his all-time favorite assignments was leasing Total Plaza for 15 years, but now he’s enjoying filling Moody Rambin’s Town & Country development. Moody Rambin bought the site in 1994 and has a very long-term plan for it. Over the next 10 to 15 years, it’ll add density, tearing down single-story retail and building vertical.
Bob inked 40k SF for Microsoft in Town Centre I (working with a Fortune 10 company is always challenging, Bob tells us) and all told has 40% of that building spoken for. Phase 2 of the project is designed and merely waiting for market conditions. Despite energy fears, he’s still seeing a good number of prospects due to the high number of amenities in the area. (For example, Town & Country tenants can use the 220-seat community theater, also delivering next month, for events and meetings.) And since parking has been a problem in Town & Country of late, Moody Rambin’s building an oversized garage.
Bob has leadership in his blood—he’s related to Oliver Cromwell on his father’s side and Davy Crockett on his mother’s. He and his wife, Leia, and daughters Lily (9) and Margaret (7) spend a lot of time at their house in Galveston. (He says the little girls keep him in line.) He’s particularly involved with St. Michael’s School—he went there and now his daughters do. He’s also a big supporter of Keep Houston Beautiful, which Howard Rambin helped found decades ago.