CFD 528 – Welcome Wilson On Industrial Real Estate Investing and Building an Empire

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Welcome Wilson is the Founder & Chairman of the Board of Welcome Group, a privately held real estate development firm that owns ninety manufacturing and other industrial facilities in Texas comprising just over 4 million square feet of space. Wilson is also a principal in Kingham Dalton Wilson, Ltd, a regional industrial construction company. Mr. Wilson has been a real estate developer in Texas for fifty-seven years beginning with his first project in Galveston County, which is now the incorporated City of Jamaica Beach (1,600 home sites). He was also the developer of Tiki Island in Galveston County, now an incorporated city of 1,200 home sites. In total, Mr. Wilson developed 8,000 home sites in four counties in Texas.

Podcast Highlights

  • Who is Welcome Wilson?

Welcome has had six life-changing conversations in his life. The first one was with his father when he was 17, just before he was about to join the Army. He told him that in order to succeed in business you need to have guts and determination. The guts to make a pitch for what you believe has been a talent that has served Welcome for many years.

Welcome’s father convinced him that being able to make a pitch was vital to success and taught him how to become self-reliant.

  • Real Estate Empires

Welcome has never met anyone who is an entrepreneur who thought they were rich. Welcome’s company is now worth $77 million dollars, but he knows that there is always somebody who has more money.

You learn from scrambling, so by not inheriting anything, in particular, Welcome had to do the work to build his real estate investments from scratch.

Some people think real estate is a risky play due to its speculative nature. To protect yourself against potential down times, you should bring on multiple partners, each with different areas of expertise. The important thing to remember is to make sure the partners have enough at stake so success is important to them.

You have many advantages today that weren’t around years ago. Banks are more willing to take a chance on different kinds of deals today than when Welcome got started.

Regardless of how big your business gets, you have to deal with cash flow. When Welcome was running his business years ago, it cost him $20,000 a day to operate the business. You can’t get around the need for cash flow. In many cases, a single long-term committed tenant is better for cash flow than multiple less stable, less reliable tenants.

  • Industrial Real Estate Investing

Welcome has built nearly every kind of property possible including residential, apartments, and office buildings. Early on in his career, Welcome had the opportunity to buy a few industrial buildings but the caveat was he also had to buy an industrial development business. Once the deal closed, by running the development business and after seeing the cash flow generated, he never looked back. Now industrial real estate investing is Welcome’s main source of business.

Now Welcome focuses entirely on single tenant industrial buildings where the cost of construction is well over $100 per square foot.

Reference: Always Welcome: Nine Decades of Great Friends, Great Times & (Mostly) Great Deals

Links:

Always Welcome: Nine Decades of Great Friends, Great Times & (Mostly) Great Deals

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