Why Dallas topped Denver, Nashville, Austin as HQ choice for one California. company – Dallas Business Journal – Dallas Business Journal






Dallas beat out Austin, Denver and Nashville for a headquarters site of the newest in a string of real estate companies to move a home office to North Texas.
Los Angeles-based Regent Properties, a real estate investment management and development firm, is planting a second corporate headquarters in Dallas as the company pushes to acquire more office product across the Sun Belt, CEO Eric Fleiss told the Dallas Business Journal in an exclusive we broke Tuesday.
Fleiss, along with other top Regent executives, including Colin Rosenbaum, senior vice president of Texas and Southeast Acquisitions, are in temporary office space now and will move into their permanent corporate office at 2000 McKinney Avenue in January.
The expanded corporate presence will function in parallel with Regent’s longtime headquarters in Los Angeles as well as the firm’s affiliated property service locations across Dallas, Houston, Phoenix, San Diego and Denver, Fleiss said in a prior interview.
Regent is at least the fourth Los Angeles-based real estate company — ranging from biggest in the world to small but growing fast — to put a headquarters in North Texas in the past year.
In October 2020, CBRE Group Inc. (NYSE: CBRE), the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm, announced its move to Uptown. In January, multifamily investment firm Lion Real Estate Group LLC said it is moving its headquarters into office space in Turtle Creek.
In May, diversified real estate company Wedgewood LLC, based in Redondo Beach in Los Angeles County, started to transition its corporate office to Farmers Branch in what will be a multi-year process.
In the interview that follows, Fleiss discusses what the headquarters in Dallas will mean for the company and what he sees as the strengths and weaknesses of North Texas as an HQ locale.
Where else did you consider opening a second headquarters?
We considered Denver. We considered Nashville. We considered Austin.
What ultimately put DFW, and Dallas specifically, over the top?
Those are all markets that we either do business in or are looking to do business in. For us, Dallas was the best combination of geography, airlift capacity, and — you’ll laugh — but of weather. If you take out summers, the rest of the year in Dallas is pretty mild, putting you at a great advantage over many cities in the United States.
On the flip side, as someone who has recently been in the market, what are Dallas’ weaknesses?
The biggest weakness that Dallas has is actually what Amazon identified in its HQ search, which is a relative lack of open space. For a city that’s effectively in the Great Plains, it’s surprising how little open space there is in terms of dedicated park area and how difficult and accessible it is. That was one of the things that Amazon came down on when they decided not to come. I think Dallas is making great strides in that respect. But if you think about it, there are very few spots where you can find a big, open field and, you know, play with your kids, that kind of thing.
In what respects is Dallas making strides?
Look at the usage that a Katy Trail gets — and it’s three miles long. It’s Impressive. And the fact that Dallas is investing, through public-private partnerships, in extending the trail system. When it’s done, from what I’ve been reading, it’s going to be one of the largest trails projects in the country in terms of connecting neighborhoods. It’s like a 100-mile loop. I also think Dallas doesn’t do as good a job as it could to promote what it does have.
In what ways?
Based on the number of people I know who were surprised when I told them there are so many lakes in the Dallas area, the message doesn’t get out there. That (number of lakes) is very unusual. In Los Angeles, we have a lot of access to the beach, but it’s very hard to access the ocean. It’s hard to get on a boat. It’s just complicated; it’s logistically difficult, there’s traffic, etc.
Speaking of, how does the traffic compare? That’s a weakness (in L.A.) That’s something that’s very easy here. I think Dallas has done a good job managing its traffic growth. When people complain about traffic here, you know, it’s a rounding error compared to traffic in California.
Did you consider the DFW suburbs for your HQ office, or is Regent just a downtown/Uptown kind of company?
Our biggest project in DFW is in Plano (Legacy Central), so we’re big believers in the growth in North Dallas and Plano and all those markets. We’ve owned assets in Addison and all along the tollway. We own assets in Las Colinas. So we do a lot of work in the suburbs, and a lot of the growth (in the region) is occurring up there. If you look at corporate relocations to the Dallas market, Plano has captured the lion’s share. That says a lot. So for sure, we’ve thought about that.
What sold you on Uptown?
A lot of real estate participants are based in Uptown, so we chose the location for our office in Uptown because I want to be in the mix of things as we build and grow our organization. We want to be right there where lots of other folks are.
Do you expect your headcount to grow in Dallas?
I would for sure expect growth in our Dallas office. We will be by the end of this year about 75 people (overall) with roughly 10 in our Dallas corporate office. Depending on how our investment activities take us, I think you’re going to see us hire more people in Dallas or people in the Southeast. We’re on a great growth trajectory.
What’s driving your growth?
We have a special sauce for the way that we manage our assets and make money. In an asset class specifically of office, where people very often have trouble making money — I think people misunderstand the asset class dramatically; we’ve done very well in that asset class with our investors. We’re having a lot of success fund-raising, so we look forward to continuing that momentum.
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