ROSEWOOD PROPERTY SEEKS NEW DEALS AND HIGHER PROFILE IN DALLAS REAL ESTATE MARKET
Feb 7, 2013 | Steve Brown
The property business founded by the family of Dallas businesswoman Caroline Rose Hunt has had a much lower profile since the 1980s, when Rosewood Property Co. built the huge Crescent complex in Uptown and founded the luxury Rosewood hotel chain.
Now Rosewood Property is expanding its reach with a varied portfolio of new investments and several projects in North Texas.
"We want to build our brand," said Bill Flaherty, who was hired in 2011 by the family to head up the real estate investment operation. "The hotel and resort group made the Rosewood name known worldwide.
"The hotel company principles taught us how to treat our customers."
Four years ago the company built its landmark Rosewood Court headquarters tower on Cedar Springs Road in Uptown.
Rosewood is now a partner in apartment projects in Richardson and Garland, is developing a shopping center in Flower Mound and is teaming up on an industrial development at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.
"We've been successfully investing in the Dallas and national real estate market for the last 30 years," said Steve Sands, executive director of parent company Rosewood Corp.
"We have repositioned the property company to build upon that tradition of excellence and create a diversified portfolio of assets as part of the Rosewood legacy," Sands said.
Rosewood probably won't go it alone as the company did in previous decades.
"In most of what we do, we are going to have a partner," said Flaherty, who worked on Rosewood's Crescent development in the 1980s. "We'll bring the capital and whatever experience we can put into the investment.
"It's likely we will do multiple transactions with certain folks."
Rosewood is contributing long-held land to some of the projects, including apartments at Custer Road and State Highway 190 in Richardson.
The 162-unit Alta Creekside apartments were developed with builder Wood Partners.
"We developed a relationship with Wood Partners when they built the Glass House apartments next door to our Rosewood Court," Flaherty said.
The new apartment community near the Telecom Corridor is leasing to the first tenants, said Wood Partners' Todd McCulloch.
"Rosewood contributed the land and equity to the project," McCulloch said. "They have been a major stakeholder in the State Highway 190 corridor for years.
"And they have been fantastic to work with," he said.
Rosewood is also a partner with Trammell Crow Co. and Clarion Partners on a speculative industrial development at D/FW Airport. The group is building almost 1 million square feet of warehouse space at the north end of the airport.
Flaherty said that real estate and oil and gas and investments are the primary sources of income for Rosewood's family owners.
"They give us the capital, and we give them the returns," he said. "It's up for us to source the best transactions."
Rosewood sold its hotel business in 2011.
Starting with the Mansion on Turtle Creek in 1980, the luxury hotel chain launched a string of major real estate investments for the daughter of legendary Texas oilman H.L. Hunt and her family.
Rosewood's Dallas buildings — including the Crescent complex, the Premier Place tower on North Central Expressway and Prestonwood Tower in Far North Dallas — were among the top-performing local properties in the 1980s.
The investment firm sold off those properties years ago.
But Rosewood never really got out of the real estate business, Flaherty said.
"They had outside advisers and funds doing things, but it wasn't in the Rosewood name," he said.
Flaherty previously worked in California with Irvine Corp. and for Maguire Properties and Hillwood in North Texas. From the mid-1980s until 1990 he leased Rosewood's office projects, including the Crescent.
Now he's busy overseeing Rosewood investments in developments including a community retail center in Flower Mound anchored by Sports Authority and more apartments in Garland and San Antonio.
Rosewood may do some out-of-state deals, but not right now, Flaherty said.
"We like the Texas markets because it's Texas' time," he said. "We are the envy of the country."
One of Rosewood's biggest holdings is a 125-acre site on State Highway 190 in Plano at Custer Road. The property has long been zoned for a major office development.
"It's one of our most important properties," Flaherty said. "Now with all the State Farm announcements in Richardson and the growth along 190, we are looking at that land again."