Build­ing on legacy

RYAN MCCORD, pres­i­dent McCord De­vel­op­ment

Houston Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - By Kather­ine Feser

One of the big­gest com­mer­cial real es­tate devel­op­ments in Texas is tak­ing shape at Gen­er­a­tion Park in north­east Hous­ton un­der the di­rec­tion of Ryan McCord.

One of the big­gest com­mer­cial real es­tate devel­op­ments in Texas is tak­ing shape at Gen­er­a­tion Park in north­east Hous­ton. Be­hind the project is Ryan McCord, who car­ries for­ward the legacy of his fa­ther, Rick McCord, who founded McCord De­vel­op­ment in 1973.

The com­pany has been in­volved in the ac­qui­si­tion, de­vel­op­ment and man­age­ment of of­fice, in­dus­trial, land, sin­gle-fam­ily and mul­ti­fam­ily prop­er­ties in Hous­ton and be­yond. McCord, who joined the fam­ily-owned com­pany 15 years ago and is now pres­i­dent, pri­mar­ily fo­cuses on a sin­gle project span­ning 4,000 acres along Belt­way 8 in the Lake Hous­ton area. An­chored by Tech­nipFMC’s cor­po­rate cam­pus, Gen­er­a­tion Park broke ground in 2014 and re­cently sold a large par­cel to Ikea. It’s close to Sum­mer­wood, a master-planned com­mu­nity orig­i­nally de­vel­oped by McCord in 1995.

Q: Can you name some no­table projects where you’ve left your stamp on the city?

A: One of my per­sonal fa­vorites is one we did in down­town Hous­ton called One City Cen­tre. It’s a 600,000-square-foot of­fice build­ing on Main Street that we ac­quired when it was in a state of un­der­per­for­mance. We com­pletely ren­o­vated the build­ing, in­clud­ing re­mov­ing as­bestos from the build­ing, and re-ten­anted the build­ing. We ac­tu­ally of­ficed there for 20 years. It was just a great story of see­ing a lot of op­por­tu­nity and vi­sion in some­thing that oth­ers didn’t. It was right un­der ev­ery­one’s nose. Oth­ers ne­glected to see the op­por­tu­nity or have the vi­sion to see it be­come a great and val­ued as­set for the city of Hous­ton.

Q: Can you tell me about your fa­ther’s im­pact on your ca­reer?

A: We worked to­gether for 12 years be­fore he passed away. He was a very tena­cious busi­ness­man. He loved peo­ple, and he viewed real es­tate at all lev­els. Whether the cap­i­tal part­ners and fi­nanciers or the com­pa­nies oc­cu­py­ing the build­ings or the jan­i­to­rial com­pany that was chang­ing light bulbs, he viewed it as a ser­vice busi­ness. That was some­thing he told me over the years. Real es­tate is about tak­ing care of peo­ple. And so, in stark con­trast with some of his hard-driv­ing ef­forts that he put into get­ting the best out of his team and the con­trac­tors and con­sul­tants work­ing for him, he used to tell me, “There are six lev­els of ‘no,’ and the first five don’t count.” He taught us not just to han­dle re­jec­tion but to seek it out and to want to re­ceive it per­son­ally. Not over the phone. Not via email. But to be told no per­son­ally, and with a smile on your face.

Q: How did that ben­e­fit him in his deal­ings?

A: A lot of times when you’re pur­su­ing an in­vest­ment that other peo­ple have not looked at or that is out­side the main­stream — whether it is a greatly un­der­per­form­ing as­set like an of­fice build­ing in down­town Hous­ton or what we’re do­ing in Gen­er­a­tion Park, which is some­thing that other folks have ba­si­cally looked past — you tell peo­ple, “This is what we’re go­ing to do.” The gen­eral re­sponse is: “You can’t do that. This is not go­ing to work.” You have to ba­si­cally ig­nore them and prove them wrong.

Q: What do peo­ple per­ceive as the big­gest chal­lenge for you?

A: The big­gest chal­lenge is sim­ply that peo­ple are un­aware of the area in which Gen­er­a­tion Park is lo­cated. It’s beau­ti­ful. It’s con­ve­nient. Be­cause it’s new in the com­mer­cial real es­tate world, most com­mer­cial real es­tate stake­hold­ers have not been here.

“Some­times build­ing some­thing that is ar­chi­tec­turally at­trac­tive and sig­nif­i­cant takes time and en­erg y and some­times costs more.” De­vel­oper Ryan McCord

Q: When they do take a tour, what sur­prises them?

A: They’re like, wow, this is great. This is a brand new, pris­tine en­vi­ron­ment. I didn’t re­al­ize how close it was to wher­ever they’re com­ing from, pri­mar­ily the down­town or Gal­le­ria area, which is ground zero for com­mer­cial real es­tate stake­hold­ers in Hous­ton.

Q: What best prac­tices are you us­ing that ev­ery­one wants in to­day’s en­vi­ron­ment?

A: Real es­tate is de­signed for the ben­e­fit of the build­ing oc­cu­pant. Whether it’s a ware­house, an apart­ment, a restau­rant, a ho­tel room, a store, it’s about peo­ple. It’s about hu­man be­ings. We try to stay very fo­cused on what the ex­pe­ri­ence is for each one of these peo­ple go­ing into these spa­ces. Where are they go­ing to park? What are they go­ing to see? Is it con­ve­nient? Is it beau­ti­ful? Is it nice to look at? If it’s a com­mer­cial build­ing, when that ten­ant’s in­vestors come in, what will their per­cep­tions be? When that ten­ant’s cus­tomers come in, what will their per­cep­tions be? The sec­ond thing is we want to make sure that our in­ter­est as the de­vel­oper, as the owner, as the op­er­a­tor of Gen­er­a­tion Park and many of the build­ings here, that our fi­nan­cial in­ter­ests are gen­er­ally lined up with the peo­ple com­ing into our spa­ces.

Q: Can you give me an ex­am­ple of that?

A. Some­times build­ing some­thing that is ar­chi­tec­turally at­trac­tive and sig­nif­i­cant takes time and en­ergy and some­times costs more. If some­thing costs more, it may mean that rent is higher than some­thing that is unattrac­tive. Peo­ple ap­pre­ci­ate the beauty. There’s align­ment in the ex­pe­ri­ence. There’s mu­tual agree­ment that any premium as­so­ci­ated with it is worth it.

Q: to What other are prop­er­ties the costs in rel­a­tive that re­gion? A: Be­cause we’re pi­o­neer­ing this re­gion, there re­ally are not di­rect cost com­pa­ra­bles.

Q: How would you com­pare with down­town or the En­ergy Cor­ri­dor?

A: I’d say we’re com­pet­i­tive with down­town or the En­ergy Cor­ri­dor.

Q: Are peo­ple will­ing to pay that?

A: They are.

Q: Did the col­lapse in oil prices have an im­pact on your de­vel­op­ment?

A: The short an­swer is no. McCord De­vel­op­ment has been in busi­ness for 45 years. We’ve been through many cy­cles in the Hous­ton mar­ket. The most re-

McCord from page B16 cent was ex­cep­tion­ally mild by his­tor­i­cal stan­dards. We an­tic­i­pate more ups and downs in Hous­ton’s fu­ture dur­ing our build-out. We’re very well po­si­tioned to ab­sorb that and han­dle it.

Q: What kind of res­i­den­tial op­tions do peo­ple have in Gen­er­a­tion Park?


In our gen­eral area, there are prob­a­bly seven or eight master-planned com­mu­ni­ties un­der de­vel­op­ment right now with a wide range of hous­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties. In Gen­er­a­tion Park, we’re un­der con­struc­tion on our first mixed-use mul­ti­fam­ily apart­ment com­mu­nity with 251 units, a re­tail podium with 17,000 square feet of re­tail space.

Q: Do you plan any sin­gle­fam­ily or other types or res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ment?


We do plan to build sev­eral thou­sand mul­ti­fam­ily rental apart­ment homes at vary­ing price points.

Q: What’s on the hori­zon for hospi­tal­ity?


Our first ho­tel, a Court­yard Mar­riott, should be com­pleted in the next 12 months. In our first phase, we an­tic­i­pate two ad­di­tional ho­tels, an ex­tended stay and a full-ser­vice ho­tel. In sub­se­quent phases of Gen­er­a­tion Park, we an­tic­i­pate hav­ing ful­lon con­fer­ence and ex­hibit hall fa­cil­i­ties here that serve the greater Hous­ton re­gion.

Q: Will in­dus­trial be a big com­po­nent of Gen­er­a­tion Park?


It will be a bal­anced com­po­nent of Gen­er­a­tion Park, just like it’s a bal­anced com­po­nent of the Hous­ton econ­omy. Gen­er­a­tion Park is of a scale that it will sta­tis­ti­cally re­sem­ble the makeup of Hous­ton as a whole.

Q: How much of­fice space will there be?


12 mil­lion square feet. 28 mil­lion feet of in­dus­trial, 6 mil­lion of re­tail and hospi­tal­ity, and 12,000 apart­ments.

Q: Will McCord De­vel­op­ment see it through to the end, or pos­si­bly sell it along the way?


It’s hard to an­swer, sit­ting here to­day. We as a com­pany and as a team have started to rec­og­nize our moral obli­ga­tion to de­velop the land in a man­ner that re­ally raises the bar for Hous­ton, and be­cause of that, it’s not just about try­ing to get the top dol­lar from the sale. Again, it’s get­ting back to this idea of align­ment and peo­ple and try­ing to dis­cern and un­der­stand what’s re­ally best for Hous­ton and the fu­ture of this land.

Q: How did you as­sem­ble that huge tract of land?

A: It took over 20 years to put it to­gether. The great­est chal­lenge is re­ally just com­ing to terms of the over­all scale of the de­vel­op­ment and mak­ing sure that our vi­sion is ap­pro­pri­ately large. You have to have a big vi­sion for a de­vel­op­ment of this size. We have to con­tinue to chal­lenge our­selves to think big­ger. To think about any­thing and ev­ery­thing that may be pos­si­ble that is miss­ing in Hous­ton, Texas, that be­longs here, and what we can do to bring it to this mar­ket­place.

Ryan McCord, pres­i­dent of McCord De­vel­op­ment, is lead­ing the de­vel­op­ment of Gen­er­a­tion Park, a 4,000-acre master-planned com­mer­cial de­vel­op­ment in north­east Hous­ton.

El­iz­abeth Con­ley / Staff pho­tog­ra­pher

David Hop­per / Con­trib­u­tor

McCord De­vel­op­ment cre­ated the 1,500-acre Sum­mer­wood com­mu­nity in the Lake Hous­ton area in 1995. New­land Com­mu­ni­ties pur­chased it in 2000.


McCord led the re­de­vel­op­ment of down­town’s One City Cen­tre, 1021 Main, 20 years ago. The 30-story build­ing, which once housed First City Bank, went from be­ing nearly va­cant in 1999 to al­most fully leased two years later. It has since been sold.

Staff graphic

Source: McCord De­vel­op­ment Inc.

McCord De­vel­op­ment

1. 250 As­say St. of­fice-re­tail build­ing in Redemp­tion Square. 2. Fu­ture of­fice build­ing in Redemp­tion Square 3. Apart­ments un­der con­struc­tion at 255 As­say4. Tech­nipFMC cam­pus 5. Pre­vail­ing Winds art in­stal­la­tion at 250 As­say garage 6. Lone Star Col­lege-Process Tech­nol­ogy Cen­ter.


McCord De­vel­op­ment

McCord De­vel­op­ment

McCord De­vel­op­ment

Lone Star Col­lege-King­wood

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