Beyond The Bio: 16 Questions With Boxer Property CEO Andrew Segal
This series profiles men and women in commercial real estate who have profoundly transformed our neighborhoods and reshaped our cities, businesses and lifestyles.
In 1992, Boxer Property CEO Andrew Segal skipped his graduation from New York University School of Law. He was ready to do something he always knew he would do: launch a real estate business.
"I thought I knew more than I did," Segal said.
Segal heard Texas was struggling from the oil bust and had a lot of vacant buildings. He moved to Dallas and then called everyone he knew to invest in his first property. Building the company came with sacrifice — he remembers living at the Red Roof Inn for $19 a day and purchasing a car for $270.
Six months later, he had new office tenants and expansion came quickly. He acquired two building in 1993, four buildings in 1994 and eight buildings in 1995. By the end of 1996, he had a total of 32 buildings.
"I realized that we were in way over our head," Segal said.
Hiring Jeff Harris as the chief financial officer in 1996 was the catalyst that made Boxer Properties an organized company, Segal said. Harris was living in Houston at the time so Segal moved the company.
It turned out to be a good decision, he said. After more than 25 years, Boxer Property owns and manages more than 18M SF of commercial property nationwide.
Bisnow: How do you describe your job to people who are not in the industry?
Segal: A bit like Captain Stubing of The Love Boat. I'm theoretically driving the ship, but really spending most of my time interacting with my crew and passengers.
Bisnow: If you weren’t in commercial real estate, what would you do?
Segal: I would pursue failed companies through the bankruptcy process. I took every BK elective in law school, hoping never to use it for myself.
Bisnow: What is the worst job you ever had?
Segal: I was a waiter at a summer camp at 15. I learned that the saying "never quit" was not for me. On a related note, don't keep your eye on the ball, literally.
Bisnow: What was your first big deal?
Segal: I refinanced my first building in Dallas in 1995. Delicious, tax-free proceeds.
Bisnow: What deal do you consider to be your biggest failure?
Segal: I was never able to pull the trigger in three markets I probably knew the best, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. There are streets in each I can't bear to walk for fear of seeing buildings I passed on. I'm sure, in the end, I'll be proven correct that Tulsa, Baltimore and Cleveland are much better long term.
Bisnow: If you could change one thing about the commercial real estate industry, what would it be?
Segal: We need to be massively more technologically organized. We developed stemmons.com to do that at Boxer.
Bisnow: What is your biggest pet peeve?
Segal: Mostly myself
Bisnow: Who is your greatest mentor?
Segal: Willard Hackerman, former CEO of Whiting-Turner. He never told me my intrusive questions were inappropriate and was a model person and business leader.
Bisnow: What is the best and worst professional advice you've ever gotten?
Segal: In 1998: Manhattan is underpriced (best), Manhattan is overpriced (worst).
Bisnow: What is your greatest extravagance?
Segal: Exploring the planet.
What is your favorite restaurant in the world?
Segal: Bofinger in Paris
Bisnow: If you could sit down with President Donald Trump, what would you say?
Segal: Please don’t tell my friends from California we met!
Bisnow: What's the biggest risk you have ever taken?
Segal: Buying what is now La Gran Plaza mall in Fort Worth.
Bisnow: What is your favorite place to visit in your hometown?
Segal: George Bush Intercontinental Airport
Bisnow: What keeps you up at night?
Segal: Inflation. I have been incorrectly predicting it for so many years, only my new friends will think I'm smart when it happens.
Bisnow: Outside of your work, what are you most passionate about?
Segal: I am a huge fan of constant learning through exploration with a backpack.