Wolff Companies was founded in 1970, a time when Houston was on the cusp of a massive westward expansion. As a Vice President at Brookhollow Corporation in the 1960’s, David Wolff had recognized opportunity in Houston and developed Brookhollow at Interstate 610 and U.S. 290. This mixed use park was one of the first of its kind in Houston and was cutting edge in its “outside the loop” location.
Wolff Companies’ first development was a 400-acre property named Beltway, after the major freeway that wouldn’t come to fruition until two decades later. Several major corporations purchased land in Beltway, including Gulf Oil, Coors Distributing, Gulf States Toyota, Hewlett Packard, and Westinghouse. Beltway remains a high-quality development today.
After Beltway, we purchased Westway Park, 630 acres also on the proposed Beltway 8 between U.S. 290 and Interstate 10. Westway Park is a testament to Wolff Companies long-term vision, as we held the property for over 20 years before starting development. Because of our patience, Westway is now a high-quality park that will stand the tests of time for the next 20 years and beyond.
The 1970s also saw the start of one of Wolff Companies’ largest projects to date, Park 10 Regional Business Center. In the early 70s, most of Houston’s real estate community believed that the Addicks and Barker Reservoirs would halt the westward movement of Houston. We had a different vision. We believed that the high-quality housing in west Houston would lead to a demand for office and commercial uses along Interstate 10 that would push through the barrier of the reservoirs and beyond. We accumulated over 550 acres along Interstate 10 and sold sites to MW Kellogg, The Houston Chronicle, Atwood Oceanics, Procon, Morris and Knudsen, Sercel, Associated Credit Bureaus and Hyundai. Park 10 eventually became the genesis of The Energy Corridor.
When the bottom fell out of the local real estate market in 1984, we had built up enough capital to weather what would become a decade long real estate slump in Houston. Throughout the 1980s, we made a few key acquisitions, including Interwood, a 440-acre parcel at the entrance to George Bush Intercontinental Airport. We were also able to make several sales into a struggling market, including a large sale in Interwood to the U.S. Postal Service. By maintaining a strong balance sheet throughout this period, we were well positioned when the real estate market in Houston returned in the 1990s.
In the 1990s, we made several acquisitions and sales in and near previous developments, particularly Park 10. Wolff Companies also finally started developing Westway Park, when the segment of Beltway 8 connecting U.S. 290 and Interstate 10 finally opened. We used the proceeds from our second sale in Westway to purchase First Crossing in the rapidly growing Sugar Land market.
The year 1993 saw a flurry of activity that continued into the next millennium. We sold numerous sites in and near Park 10 to companies like Red Roof Inn, Gross Builders, Members Choice Credit Union and The Opus Group. In Westway Park, we sold properties to the Texas Department of Transportation, J. A. Billipp Co., Seismic Exchange, DeVry, Invensys and Cameron. First Crossing quickly sold out to owners such as Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, BBVA Compass, Chase Bank, and Kelsey-Seybold Clinic, an affiliate of the St. Luke’s Episcopal Health System.
Today, each of these developments is a testament to Wolff Companies long-term vision. While some properties were developed over several years, others were developed over several decades. However, all of our developments represent our commitment to quality and ability to create long-term value – our lasting legacy in Houston.