Craig Hall Past, Present and Future – Video Transcript

Craig Hall (00:01):
Well, when I was younger and growing up, I, I, I wouldn’t have been voted by, uh, any class that I can think of as, uh, most likely to succeed. I would’ve been voted as, uh, most likely to get arrested or, or, uh, end up in the funny farm or something. I’m, uh, Craig Hall and, uh, I’m a very lucky guy.

Kathryn Walt Hall (00:26):
When he imagined his life, 10 year old Craig Hall could have never dreamed this, a life lived, developing magnificent real estate, collecting a wide ranging collection of art, authoring seven books, working and living in beautiful locations, adventuring to far off places, truly living the American dream.

Craig Hall (00:49):
Well, I had an unusual childhood because I had, uh, a form of epilepsy that you outgrow, uh, around age 13, but it’s treated, or at least it used to be, uh, with phenobarbital, which is a depressant, uh, drug. And so that, uh, adversely affected my ability to learn, my ability to, um, communicate. When I did go off of the drug, I started to change in many, many regards. I started, um, what I call my first adult business, uh, when I was 18, just, just turning 18. And that’s actually the company that, uh, I have today.

Kathryn Walt Hall (01:28):
Craig’s version of the American Dream all started in the 1960s. It started with a rent strike involving students of the University of Michigan and the landlords in Ann Arbor. It started with $4,000, money Craig had earned and saved as a kid. No silver spoon here.

Craig Hall (01:46):
So what my theory was to prove you could be a good guy, landlord, and, um, I, I bought my, uh, first building with that in mind and had every intent that I would do it for no more than two years, and then I would get onto something more realistic and useful, like, you know, a social worker. That was actually what I wanted to be. Finally, uh, by the time I was, uh, 20, I had, uh, about 30 properties. So I quit college.

Donald Braun (02:17):
Actually met Craig after I joined the Hall Group. So I started, uh, with the company, uh, in 1980. I was a staff accountant at the time, so I was hired by the controller and didn’t, didn’t know Craig actually at the time. And I was there by myself working late and in stroll, somebody who I didn’t really know sits down, introduces himself as you know, Craig Hall, and he must have sat there for an hour and a half telling me his vision for the company.

Craig Hall (02:45):
I was a naive idealist when I started in business. I’m hopefully a little less naive, but I’m still an idealist and I don’t want to change that

Kathryn Walt Hall (02:57):
Hard work and idealism made Craig a millionaire, by his 21st birthday, by his mid twenties Hall Group, was a national company looking for a more centrally located home, landing him deep in the heart of Texas.

Speaker 4 (03:11):
All real estate is concerned about investors. There are two important questions that they ask. First, when is a good time to invest? And second, who with?

Craig Hall (03:23):
Dallas has always had just tremendous, uh, luminaries in, in real estate, and I thought it’d be a great place to see if I could join in and be a part of, of the city here. And, and it worked so well because people were very welcoming.

Kathryn Walt Hall (03:40):
Hall Group was booming in Big D, so much so that Craig was able to quickly identify as a Texan.

Craig Hall (03:46):
Ironically, Dallas, from a real estate perspective, in a few years after we moved our headquarters was a terrible place to be in terms of the then market from the mid eighties to the, the early nineties. It was tough times in Texas and Dallas in particular.

Herb Weitzman (04:02):
Yeah, it was during that ’86 to ’90 period that Craig and I were really commiserating together. We were talking about the circumstances that we were in, and we really became close during that period. We spent a lot of time together after that. You know, Craig, who had been, uh, quite the deal maker, um, he had to do some soul searching about his future and how his path was gonna be.

Donald Braun (04:30):
Well, it was a defining moment, you know, here we were, uh, really having, you know, tremendous success as a company in terms of growing the company in the early to 19, mid early eighties to 1985. Uh, and we literally coming to the, you know, to an edge and there was a cliff at the other side.

Interviewer (04:51):
Why did you not go under, like everybody else went under?

Craig Hall (04:54):
Uh, I was fortunate and I still have problems. I’m not over all the problems. No, no one in the real estate business is, but if you are honest and straightforward and you try to deal with them, things usually work out.

Donald Braun (05:06):
Why we survive that and why Craig survived it is this extraordinary ability of his to deal with issues head on.

Craig Hall (05:14):
We learned to be a lot more, uh, cautious and careful about how we are, uh, dealing with liquidity and financial matters, and we’re, we’re very detail oriented. We always were. But, um, I really don’t care about being big today. I care about being profitable and strong financially and having a good time and treating people the same way. I always cared about that.

Lucy Billingsley (05:41):
I think Craig is an incredibly creative person. He’s not creative, though without a depth of knowledge. So he knows the marketplace, he understands development, he’s got experience. And when you put that insight of creativity with the base of knowledge, then what you do get is a visionary who delivers.

Kathryn Walt Hall (06:06):
Today, Craig’s developments are much more than bricks and mortar. A central theme at his buildings is his love of art, some art for a building, some art before a building. He’s an avid art collector who doesn’t buy art because it’s famous, doesn’t buy for ego. He simply buys art that moves him and that he thinks will move others too.

News Anchor (06:30):
The Hall

Office park unveiled it’s Texas Sculpture Garden today.

Craig Hall (06:34):
I buy art almost every week. My wife and I bought, for instance, a this really great piece of art that we then realized, oh my gosh, it’s, it’s a round piece and it’s, um, 16 feet wide. And we thought, wow, we have no place to put it. So I buy art and then I figure out where to put it.

Eddie Abeyta (06:57):
Art in his mind, is a lens for which people can start to see the world in a different way.

Kim Butler (07:05):
He loves to learn. So when he is traveling, he’s always out looking at things, uh, seeing how people are, you know, approaching things differently and learning and constantly letting that mind work and come up with his vision for his next project.

Herb Weitzman (07:22):
What he did, you know, for Hall Office Park, it’s, it’s really, you know, kind of a museum and you see so many different pieces of art everywhere. If you go into any building, you see art in art in the building. That’s really something special.

Craig Hall (07:37):
Designing, um, buildings and working with the architects and figuring out where to put what in what way is really a privilege and an honor and a pleasure.

Kathryn Walt Hall (07:52):
But more than an artist, it’s entrepreneurship. That’s in Craig’s DNA. After my service as US Ambassador to Austria, where for four years Craig patiently watched Hall from afar, we returned to the US with a bang in the early two thousands, Hall Group greatly expanded its North Texas portfolio. Meanwhile, Craig shared his love for entrepreneurship and my love for wine and Hall Wines was born.

Andrea Immer (08:23):
Now, let’s visit a Napa Valley home, owned by a couple who’ve conquered both the worlds of politics and business, but found their true calling making wine.

Craig Hall (08:32):
Wife had an interest to have a small vineyard and maybe make a little bit of wine. And then, um, I mistakenly put it on steroids. And, um, together we’ve really enjoyed building a wine business. We, we sell wine all over the world, and, um, we, we have five retail locations right now, three wineries.

Donald Braun (08:56):
Entrepreneur. I think, you know, when I think Craig defines himself, you know, as an entrepreneur, he said, you know, what do you do, Craig? I’m an entrepreneur and I don’t think it matters, you know, how big the company gets or, or, or whatever. He, he defines himself as an entrepreneur.

Eddie Abeyta (09:13):
He’s a man of honor. So what he, what he says is what he actually does, and he stands by that word. Um, he will do anything and everything to actually protect his name, the Hall name, the Hall brand.

Kim Butler (09:27):
The growth of the economy and of the Dallas Fort Worth area has really taken hold. And I think people have come to appreciate the quality that Craig Hall, uh, delivers. It’s not always been the day that people, uh, recognize that quality, but they do now.

Craig Hall (09:46):
I don’t think that there’s a secret to, to success. If you do something you really care about, that makes an economic difference to our world, the world will take care of you. But your fundamental thing should be, I want to do something that makes a difference, that I feel good about, that I’m passionate about, and, um, help improve other people’s lives. So, that’s it. Simple.

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