Stream Realty was started in a borrowed Dallas office space with no air conditioning by Mike McVean and Lee Belland in 1996.
Today, the real estate company has offices in 12 cities around the U.S. and employs almost 800 workers.
McVean and Belland did it without acquiring new companies – a throwback to the legendary build ups of Trammell Crow and Lincoln Property Company in the 1960s and 1970s. The company is built like a series of partnerships as the “owners” of its different arms in office space, industrial, retail, medical properties and data centers.
With many U.S. cities experiencing a boom in a building, Stream is about to get bigger as it eyes more than half a dozen new markets to enter into. McVean and Belland are also in the middle of raising a new $400 million fund for its real estate investments that are made alongside its core servics business like tenant representation, leasing and managing properties.
McVean and Belland sat down with the Dallas Business Journal at their downtown office to talk about what opportunities they’re eyeing next.
You must get offers from outsiders. Why have you never considered it?
McVean: Control. We get offers. I just got a call Monday from one of the big international companies saying, “You guys want to sell?” And we say no.
Belland: Every four years since we were about three years old, JLL, Insignia at the time, all of a sudden these larger companies decided they wanted to grow by acquisition and so whenever that becomes part of their business plan, which seems to be about every four years, all of them come calling on us.
McVean: We elected to grow organically. We have never acquired another company. Each office that we’ve built was opened by taking a person from an existing office and sending them to that new market. So they had our culture in them. They have a bonded trust with us. We had a bonded trust with them. But we send them off to a brand new market, and in many cases they don’t even know their way around town when they get there. What we sell is local real estate knowledge, so it takes a while for them to get that. It’s an expensive and slow way to grow, but it’s an organic way to grow.
Are there new markets you’re looking to move into?
McVean: We still need to populate Boston, New York, Florida, Phoenix, the other two major markets in California, Los Angeles and San Francisco, and then… [READ FULL ARTICLE]