Looking Towards a Bright Future – Video Transcript

Craig Hall (00:00):
And we started a lending business in 1995, Hall Structured Finance. For a number of years, we made loans based on a word-of-mouth basis and not in a huge volume.

Dick Hyman (00:17):
After the recession of 2008, 2009, the capital cost of doing construction loans became greater for banks, so banks started pulling back. And that’s when Craig really saw the opportunity to begin to step it up because there was a void in the financing world for a lot of construction lending.

Mike Jaynes (00:35):
Our target is not the borrower that can go to a bank based on its wherewithal and balance sheet. Ours is to focus on the B-tier borrower, the one that is not quite institutional enough to go that route but still has a track record. They can build, operate hotels or apartments or student housing condominium projects, and that’s our niche. That’s our niche.

Craig Hall (01:06):
Well, we did about 300 million at hotel construction loans last year, which surprisingly made us the third largest in the United States. This year we hope to do about 500 million. It’s a hard business, but we’re good at it and we know what we’re doing. And it’s profitable, very profitable.

Mark Blocher (01:30):
Hall Park has 17 office buildings, multiple restaurants. We’re planning a hotel. We’re planning an event center for the art and music venue. We’re planning more buildings.

Craig Hall (01:43):
We’ll end up with about eight to 10 million square feet when we’re done, and my grandchildren and their children will really be happy. It’s going to be another 25 or 30 years of construction.

Kim Butler (01:54):
Hall Park is what people think of when they think of Hall Group just because of the tenure and the longevity of the development. They’ve seen it come online over 20 years and they identify Craig Hall as being the visionary. He did what no one thought could be done

Craig Hall (02:14):
Better by good luck than by design. Truth is we did start it before anyone else did anything in Frisco. But I had no idea Frisco last year was the fastest-growing city in the United States. It’s crazy. Sometimes you just get lucky and I’ll take it anytime.

Mike Reynolds (02:39):
When I first met Craig and Kathy, we always said internally that what we want to be is the next great Cabernet Sauvignon, the Napa Valley, but we said it really quietly because I think it was maybe a bit presumptuous for us to set a goal so hot.

Craig Hall (02:55):
In 2009, Christmastime in the cold of San Francisco, Kathy and I are out walking and we get a call on our cell phone.

Mike Reynolds (03:06):
Wine Spectator picked our 2006 Kathryn Hall in their Top 100 Wines of the Year. It was the number 20 Wine of the Year.

Kathryn Walt Hall (03:17):
We thought we’d gone to heaven.

Craig Hall (03:19):
We literally both screamed, “Hey.” It was the first high rating we had gotten in a wine.

Mike Reynolds (03:25):
And then about a week later, the wine enthusiasts picked a wine called Excellence from 2006, which was a new wine that we’d made and it was their number-one wine in the world that year. I think that was the moment where people took notice of our brand and of our wines and we really started to get traction in the broader world. The next milestone would’ve happened in 2013. I got an email from Steve Leveque.

Steve Leveque (03:59):
Did like a double take, a triple take and said, “Mike, you have to go online and see if this is for real.” Because I thought I was maybe hallucinating.

Mike Reynolds (04:06):
One of our wines got a hundred points from Robert Parker. I remember the phones were immediately ringing off the hook.

Craig Hall (04:14):
Then we got our second 100 point, then our third. We’ve got something approaching 300 over 90 now, but I’ll never forget that first one in San Francisco. I’m grateful for what we’ve achieved so far in the wine business and at the same time I’m very excited about the opportunities to do so much more in the future.

Kathryn Walt Hall (04:46):
Stone Hinge, the abandoned garage that Hall purchased in the mid-nineties was destined for something great. They just had to wait for the perfect timing.

Kim Butler (04:56):
Craig Hall thought that it was a tremendous piece of property based upon the fact that all of the arts were being consolidated in this arts district in Dallas. Craig had this plan for this incredible office building with restaurants right there just in the heart of the Arts District.

Mark Blocher (05:15):
He just had immense respect for the Arts District venue and wanted it to be compatible and helpful to the city. And to be successful, we had to really have the rest of the Arts District flesh out. Just in the recent years did the other projects in the Arts District finish up.

Craig Hall (05:33):
The Dallas Arts District is a great place of these beautiful architecture buildings. Sir Norman Foster, one of the most famous architects, did the Opera Building. Rem Koolhaas from the Netherlands did the theater building. I. M. Pei, did the Symphony Building. Those three buildings surround our property and it gives you this eerie kind of awesome feeling of responsibility.

Kim Butler (06:10):
The moment of great pride for me, and I know for all of Hall and Craig especially, is the groundbreaking for Hall Arts. It was wonderful. The mayor was there. Everyone who had worked so hard to make it possible was there and it was just a very special moment in a special place.

Craig Hall (06:29):
When we’re all done, we’re going to have a roughly a billion-dollar project in a real wonderful, beautiful area of Dallas.

Kim Butler (06:38):
Craig has often told me Dallas welcomed him when he came here from Michigan. He wasn’t from here, but that didn’t matter. He was committed here to doing business and doing business the right way, and so people embraced him and I think he felt like leaving some sort of legacy and doing something very special in Dallas. Proffer was important because that’s where he started the company here in Dallas, his home.

Craig Hall (07:10):
Ever since I was a teenager, I had a deep-seated view about responsibility of all of us to help each other. In 1974, when I was 24 years old, I started our first foundation, which to this day continues. We try to do things to help our communities that we work in and also to help areas that we believe in to make the world a little better. Hall Group is a team effort, always has been and always will be.

Don Braun (07:48):
A lot of people ask me about, “Why have you stayed with Hall for 38 years?”

Dick Hyman (07:53):
Quality of integrity, consistency, loyalty. People want to be associated with that type of a vision, that type of a leader.

Mike Reynolds (08:02):
I think that’s what keeps people coming back is that shared core values.

Mark Blocher (08:08):
He always gives people an opportunity to grow and expand.

Larry Levey (08:12):
I’ve been with him from Racquet Falls to apartments, to office, to syndications to the wine business, and that’s a lot of ground.

Mike Jaynes (08:21):
He demands a lot out of his folks, but at the same time, he gives a lot and he cares a lot about those folks as well.

Don Braun (08:28):
It’s always been different, challenging and exciting.

Mark Depker (08:34):
There’s so much history there, so many people, a 25 year people, 30 year people. I had a maintenance supervisor from Spice Street, worked 40 years with us. That’s family.

Larry Harris (08:47):
I stay here because I know it’s a caring company. I’ve seen people get married. I’ve seen people have children. I’ve seen their children graduate. I’ve seen their children have grand babies. I’ve seen it all.

Mark Depker (09:02):
Hall is ingrained in my heart and my soul.

Craig Hall (09:06):
When I look back at 50 years, I feel very lucky and privileged to have had this ride and it’s a milestone. A lot of companies don’t last a year, let alone 50 years. I’d like to hope this company has another 50 years and many more after that.

Kathryn Walt Hall (09:24):
My hope for Hall Group in the future is that it continues to be charged with the excitement and the creativity. I just hope.

Suzie Ebbing (09:33):
It continues to grow, thrive. I hope the family atmosphere stays.

Mike Jaynes (09:38):
We’ve added a lot of young people and you like to see these folks that being around each other not only during the work hours, but they like to play together as well.

Ron Berlin (09:57):
I would say if I was a guessing man, that Craig still has his yellow pad, he still demands early Monday morning meetings, maybe not at seven o’clock, it might be at eight o’clock.

Kim Butler (10:12):
I don’t know exactly what it’s going to be in the future. I just know that it’s going to be of high quality and that those of us who are going to be involved are going to have a lot of fun.

Craig Hall (10:21):
No doubt it’ll change and be a whole different company over time, but there’s a lot of strong, great talent here, a lot of wonderful people, and it’s an exciting time. So, here’s to all of you who’ve been part of this ride and who’ve really made this overall experience so great for so many. Thank you. Thank you.

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