Welcome Group Lands $300M Capital Infusion

The Texas developer will use the funding from an investment vehicle managed by Almanac Realty Investors to reinforce its existing strengths in single-tenant projects, primarily industrial.
Welcome Wilson Jr., Chairman, Welcome Group LLC
Welcome Wilson Jr., Chairman, Welcome Group LLC

Welcome Group LLC, of Houston, has entered into an agreement with an investment fund managed by New York City-based Almanac Realty Investors, which has committed to provide as much as $300 million of growth capital to Welcome. The funding will be used “to expand its investment platform and portfolio of primarily industrial and office assets in Texas,” according to Welcome.

Welcome Group LLC specializes in single-tenant office, lab, industrial and manufacturing facilities and also offers build-to-suit and sale-leaseback services for new properties. The full-service firm has developed more than 250 single-tenant properties and currently owns more than 85 industrial buildings in Texas, totaling about 4 million square feet.

Welcome Group was previously led by Welcome Wilson Sr., who remains the firm’s chairman. Welcome Wilson Jr. is the current president & CEO, and Craig Wilson is its executive vice president & COO.

Our new relationship with Almanac will allow us to expand our investment activity focused on acquisitions, build-to-suits, value-add and spec development of quality industrial and office properties in an expanded market not only in Texas, but across the U.S.,” Welcome Wilson Jr. said in a prepared statement.

At press time, Welcome had not replied to Commercial Property Executive’s request for additional information.  

Founded in 1981 under the name Rothschild Realty, Almanac Realty Investors has raised more than $6.5 billion related to a wide array of real estate opportunities. Since 1996, Almanac’s primary investment activity has consisted of making private placements into private and public real estate operating companies. To date, Almanac managed funds have committed/invested more than $5.3 billion into 42 companies in North America.

Last spring, MAN Diesel & Turbo took a sizable lease at Twinwood, a 650-acre Houston industrial park that was co-designed by Welcome.

Texas-sized growth

Metro Houston’s industrial real estate market is doing well, driven by nation-leading job growth (among the largest 12 MSAs), which in turn has been bolstered by a surge in construction jobs as work continues to recover from Hurricane Harvey, according to a third-quarter report from Cushman & Wakefield.

Additional factors include increasing traffic at the Port of Houston (despite trade jitters) and strong local manufacturing, especially of oil field equipment.

The metro’s industrial sector of about 432 million square feet is an average of only 6.4 percent vacant. Net absorption through the third quarter was about 2.8 million square feet, and about 10.5 million square feet was under construction. The weighted average net rent was $6.10, again per Cushman & Wakefield.

Image courtesy of Welcome Group LLC