10 Real Estate Execs With Lake Houses
Labor Day may be past and school’s in session, but we’re not ready to let go of summer yet. (And neither is the thermometer.) These lucky pros own lake houses around Texas and get to keep the fun going with weekends on the water.
Planned Community Developers principal Don Janssen (pictured with his family at his lake house) is one of a couple of dozen real estate execs with homes on Lake McQueeney near Seguin/New Braunfels. He says most people are drawn to the Lake Breeze Ski Lodge, which has been a staple in the area since 1952, with a restaurant on the lake, pool, motel, playground, about 30 boat slips and one of Don’s favorite features—huge Adirondack chairs where people sit and watch boats come and go. It’s like going back in time, Don says.
Here’s Don’s house on Lake McQueeney. It’s not all laid back over there; the area is referred to as the water ski capital of Texas, and a lot of Houston natives have been water skiing there since they were young. It all started with lodge founders Buzz and Beverly Mueller (CBRE EVP Lucian Bukowski’s aunt and uncle—although he doesn’t own a home there, you’re likely to run into him hanging out with family on the lake). Buzz was a professional water skiier on the River Walk when he was young, and he, Betty and Bob Spalten Sr originated the Lake McQueeney Ski Bees ski club, which still performs every Thursday throughout the summer. Don says he’s always running into CRE pros down there, including Trammell Crow’s Jim Casey, Colliers’ Jay Kyle and NewQuest Crosswell’s Allen Crosswell.
Trammell Crow SVP Aubrey Haines and his wife, Donna, have owned a waterfront home on Lake McQueeney for several years and go there frequently. (Here's the view from his house.) He says it's more than merely a second home—it has sentimental value because they both grew up water skiing on the lake in the '70s. They often take Houston friends to the lake and a few have become so enamored that they bought property there as well. (Aubrey's been told about half the waterfront is owned by Houstonians; Pixley-Heikkila Construction's Tim Pixley is a neighbor there.) Aubrey closely follows the general conditions of the lake and is a past board member of the Friends of Lake McQueeney org.
Savills Studley EVP Mark Russell and his wife, Carla, have owned their home on Lake Travis for about 10 years, and Mark says they’re up there basically every weekend over the summer. They surf, wakeboard, golf and just sit on the porch enjoying the beautiful view. Mark calls it their slice of heaven and says going out there helps bring the family’s crazy lives into balance.
Lincoln Property Co SVP Kevin Wyatt and his wife, Celia, built their home on Lake Travis in ’08 and go up there whenever possible. It’s their “family time place,” he says, where Kevin and Celia and their children can relax by the pool, wakeboard, surf and ride jet skis in the summer and watch football and play golf in the fall. It’s also a wonderful place to host friends, including some Houston real estate pros. Here they’re enjoying dinner on the lake with Mark and Carla.
Colliers principal/director David Carter takes his family to their house on Lake Livingston at least twice a month in warmer weather and once a month in cooler months. He purchased the house five years ago in poor condition and has basically rebuilt it since. His two sons love it up there because they wakeboard, ski, tube, ride Sea-Doos and fish.
What a lovely view from his house.
Jake Donaldson, Eric Hudson and Keith Holley
Three Square Design Group owner Jake Donaldson and Architects Plus owners Eric Hudson and Keith Holley co-own a lake house on Lake Limestone near Groesbeck. Here’s Jake with his wife and sons at the house, which used to be a Laguna Jacks beach resort. Jake and some other families used to rent it out each year for a long weekend, and when it was put up for sale last year, the Donaldson, Hudson and Holley families bought it together.
Jake tells us the property is on seven acres, has a boathouse, sand volleyball, disc golf course, horseshoes, RV hookups, two kitchens and locker rooms. The gents use it for family gatherings, weekend getaways and company retreats for the two architecture firms.
Triad Retail Construction president Jay Dorsey spends as much of the summer as possible at his home on Lake Buchanan (the kids and dogs just can’t get enough of it). This summer he got an extra boost of joy—the lake is up almost 20 feet since spring. Here’s Jay and his son jet skiing, one of their favorite activities up there.
FS Group managing partner Fakhruddin Sabir owns a home in Conroe’s Harbour Town/Seven Coves. The family (including his daughters Fatema and Zenab, pictured with him on the boat) go out there every weekend during the summer. They enjoy the beautiful marina and host parties at the Outrigger club house, and Fakhruddin says it’s a peaceful and perfect getaway from the city.