Houston-based Hines has launched a multifamily property management firm named after late founder Gerald D. Hines’ first apartment building, the Willowick, a 1960s high-rise near River Oaks.
This artist’s rendering shows the exterior of The Preston, a 46-story residential tower being developed by Hines in the 700 block of Prairie Street in downtown Houston on the site of what was once an employee parking garage of the Houston Chronicle.
The new company, Willowick Residential, has taken over management of nine Hines apartment buildings across the United States, including Venue Museum District and Tinsley on the Park in Houston.
The company transitioned its first building into Willowick Residential in late 2019 and fully launched the company earlier this year.
“We did it for all the reasons an owner-manager would want to do it. We feel we can elevate the experience of our residents,” said Lisa Newton, Hines senior vice president of multifamily operations. “Managing our product has kind of been in our DNA.”
Hines, a global development and investment firm, has managed commercial properties since it was founded in 1957. The company, which developed the Galleria, Pennzoil Place and many other local landmarks, has operations in 25 countries and more than $144 billion of assets under management.
Still, launching a management business during the pandemic has brought unexpected challenges — especially as more people work from home.
“We were able to shift gears and bring services into the buildings so they didn’t have to leave,” Newton said. “A lot of it had to do with delivery.”
The company had to add refrigerated storage in some properties to hold packages with perishable goods. There was more waste to contend with, as well.
“We didn’t anticipate the increase in recycling and trash collection,” Newton said.
She said the company will work to expand its multifamily management portfolio, but there are no immediate plans to manage buildings for other owners.
Willowick has just over 4,000 units under management. Newton said that number could double in the next in the next two years.