Everything is Bigger in Texas – Video Transcript

Craig Hall (00:04):
In the late 1970s, I wanted to be a national company. We started expanding into Indiana, Illinois. We became the largest owner of property in the state of Arizona. We, in very early 1981, opened an office in Dallas.

Larry Levey (00:20):
At that time, Dallas was a can do. Detroit was a cannot do.

Don Braun (00:25):
Dallas seemed actually the perfect spot. It’s Texas. It always, even back then, felt entrepreneurially welcoming.

Female Narrator (00:33):
So Craig and the executive management team decided to move the company headquarters to Dallas.

Craig Hall (00:44):
We moved about 90 families.

Tom Jahnke (00:46):
It was hotter than blazes.

Don Braun (00:48):
It wasn’t South Fork Ranch in any respect, so that was quite a surprise.

Larry Harris (00:52):
I looked at my wife, and I says, “What do you think?” She says, “Let’s move.”

Tom Jahnke (00:56):
I knew I had to buy some cowboy boots.

Ron Berlin (00:58):
It was hotter than hell. I wondered, the first month, “What the heck did we get into?”

Don Braun (01:02):
It was scolding hot. Scolding hot.

Mark Blocher (01:04):
I actually liked it. Yeah, I especially liked the weather.

Craig Hall (01:08):
Some people say it’s hard to break into a new place. Dallas was very welcoming to me.

Ronald Reagan (01:18):
Good evening. I’m speaking to you tonight to give you a report on the state of our nation’s economy.

Craig Hall (01:24):
After Ronald Reagan became president, there was an effort to get the economy out of the doldrums, and they passed the Economic Recovery Act of 1981. It looked like it could have been written to help people who were doing what we were doing. We were using tax benefits as a way to raise capital to buy apartments.

Tom Jahnke (01:45):
You form a partnership agreement and you would go offer people an opportunity to become limited partners.

Ron Berlin (01:52):
A doctor or professional in most cases that had high taxable income, would place an equity interest in a partnership and receive the benefits offsetting his tax liability.

Craig Hall (02:04):
In real estate, we were given shorter depreciation lives so that somebody could put a dollar as an investment in and they could get $2 of tax write off that same year.

Bob Cohen (02:15):
A person could put $100,000 in and get $200,000 induction so in effect, you put in nothing and then you got the tax benefits.

Craig Hall (02:24):
All real estate is concerned about investors. There are two important questions that they ask. First, when is a good time to invest? Second, who with? As far as when is a good time to invest, I can’t think of a better time than now. Who do you invest with? Well, I’m biased. I think Hall Real Estate offers investors a great opportunity because we truly care. We have financial strength, but most importantly, we have people strength.

Ron Berlin (02:58):
Most people don’t realize that by early eighties, the portfolio tipped almost 88,000 units of multi-family at that time, which was a phenomenal growth.

Mark Blocher (03:11):
We could barely keep up with the demand for our investment products.

Craig Hall (03:14):
I knew almost all of the investors personally. We had a little over 10,000 investors.

Male Speaker (03:22):
The cornerstone of Hall Real Estate’s Profitable Ventures is our onsite team of property management professionals. Our property managers both at our apartments and our office buildings are supported and guided by property Vice-Presidents who are seasoned veterans. Properties owned and managed by Hall Real Estate, are run in a caring, hands-on, responsive manner.

Larry Harris (03:46):
We had a box on the wall that said We Care and there was a suggestion box.

Mark Depker (03:50):
The We Care creed, the We Care plaques in all the properties.

Larry Harris (03:54):
We cared about someone’s maintenance requests. We cared about someone’s issues that they had and we addressed them. I think the management philosophy was top-notch from start to finish.

Craig Hall (04:06):
We were planning to not just grow and be big, but to be good. We created a university for training for our property managers. Our vision was to create a large operation that was really quality.

Mark Depker (04:21):
Everything from then on that we would purchase, we’d rename to tree names. I thought it was pretty neat, pretty creative. The feeling was trees create shelter and shade and the trees were a good fit for an apartment property for a name.

Don Braun (04:37):
Could move from one city to the next and recognize there was a tree and the name of an apartment, and therefore that branded that as a Hall type property.

Interviewer (04:46):
Tom, can you rattle off some tree names for us?

Tom Jahnke (04:47):
Oh my goodness. Yeah.

Suzie Ebbing (04:52):
Okay, Lemon Tree.

Mark Depker (04:54):
Green Tree.

Bob Cohen (04:55):
Wind Tree and Plum Tree and Peach Tree and…

Mark Blocher (04:58):
I just go them alphabet. Ash Tree, Amber Tree, Aspen Tree.

Mark Depker (05:02):
Some that just didn’t seem to fit with a tree name.

Larry Levey (05:05):
West Tree.

Don Braun (05:06):
Crystal Tree.

Larry Harris (05:06):
Copper Tree. Lodge Tree. Harvest Tree.

Mark Blocher (05:09):
Carriage Tree. Desert Tree.

Larry Harris (05:12):
Pebble Tree. Oak Tree.

Mark Depker (05:14):
Oh man. I need Larry Harris here.

Tom Jahnke (05:16):
Bramble Tree. Bent Tree.

Suzie Ebbing (05:21):
I’m so bad at this.

Tom Jahnke (05:22):
Pine Tree. Oak Tree.

Larry Harris (05:24):
Spice Tree. Plum Tree. Willow Tree.

Mark Blocher (05:26):
We wanted to buy properties that were all for adults and we wanted to call it adultery.

Receptionist (05:38):
Good afternoon, Hall Real Estate Group.

Craig Hall (05:40):
We were growing like crazy.

Ron Berlin (05:41):
The pace that Craig set was beyond belief.

Bob Cohen (05:45):
Everything was expected. There was no, I can’t do it. Everybody had to work and work very hard.

Ron Berlin (05:51):
There was many nights that we would have board meetings until two in the morning, three in the morning, and turn around and come back at eight o’clock in the morning.

Larry Levey (05:59):
He motivated you. Made you think you can do more than you could do. Looking back with history, it is like, well, we did that. We didn’t know how to do that, it didn’t matter.

Suzie Ebbing (06:17):
I think all of us thrived on it. It became like an adrenaline. Who could work longer, harder. Who was there on Saturday and Sunday and it was fun, but it was addicting because you could see the success.

Tom Jahnke (06:30):
We would set goals and everybody go back and really focus on hitting those goals and when you hit them, boy you felt great.

Bob Cohen (06:43):
We were all working very hard, but we were all young. We were having fun, so we worked hard and played hard.

Craig Hall (07:03):
At that time, we had a private airplane and we used to have year-end parties with our investors and we literally would be flying from one party in Atlanta to the next party in Detroit to the next party in Dallas.

Larry Levey (07:16):
It was one day there and back.

Bob Cohen (07:18):
I guess we were only allowed one day off to party, so we did all one day.

Tom Jahnke (07:26):
My guess is that Craig felt to be a Texan, he needed to be tied to something big and the Cowboys is about as big as you can get in Texas.

Craig Hall (07:35):
I became a part owner of the Dallas Cowboys and I guess that made me a Texan.

Bob Cohen (07:41):
It was nice because he had a box as part of it. We went to a few games. It’s much better in the box than sitting up in the stands.

Ron Berlin (07:50):
The euphoria during that period of ’74 to ’84, we believed that we could have lavish parties and celebrate the successes along the way. It was only right to give them to the employees and show our gratitude towards them.

Craig Hall (08:04):
They were really great times. Really great times.

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