Real Estate

The evolution of a $144 billion real estate empire: How the Hines family company turned global powerhouse

March 17, 2021

The evolution of a $144 billion real estate empire: How the Hines family company turned global powerhouse

Jeff Hines & Laura Hines-Pierce

Chariman & CEO of Hines and Senior Managing Director of Hines

Hines Chairman and CEO Jeff Hines and Senior Managing Director Laura Hines-Pierce join us to discuss their $144 billion family business.

In the one year anniversary episode of the Walker Webcast, Willy speaks with Hines Chairman and CEO, Jeff Hines, and his daughter, Senior Managing Director, Laura Hines. 

Willy opens the episode by providing listeners with some background on Hines and how it came to be the widely respected institution it is today. Founded in 1957 by Gerald Hines, Hines is a global real estate development and asset management firm. With a presence in 225 cities across 25 countries and 144 billion dollars of assets under management, Hines vision is to be the best real estate investor, partner, and manager in the world.

Willy then jumps right in asking Jeff about how he was able to grow and expand Hines over the years since his father’s founding of the company. Jeff focuses on three key factors that have led Hines to have the well-regarded reputation they have today. By delving into investment management, embracing product diversification, and having a well-rounded understanding of the industry, it’s these factors that Jeff believes have successfully carried Hines to the point of international recognition.  

One of the main themes that Jeff and Laura return to throughout today’s episode is the importance of the company culture at Hines. Laura recalls her early years at Hines and how she never once felt parental pressure to join the company. This mindset has persisted through the years at Hines as they work to foster an environment of autonomy, leadership, and a commitment to ongoing learning. 

Willy goes on to ask Laura and Jeff about their company’s unique approach to building design and Laura emphasizes how better designed buildings not only retain tenants, but also increase overall asset value. Having always valued the ingenuity of his father’s work in architecture, Jeff and the staff at Hines work to combine the creative, the practical, and the sustainable when it comes to designing buildings. 

Jeff and Laura continue on by discussing the specific challenges they’ve faced throughout the COVID-19 pandemic when it comes to growth and maintaining company culture. With the end of the pandemic in sight, Jeff believes the means to move forward will lie in Hines ability to adapt to client needs, specifically within the realm of rapidly changing technology. 

As the episode comes to a close, Willy shifts from a discussion of the industry to more personal subject matter by asking Jeff about the lessons he’s learned over the years and what he hopes to instill in his children going forward. Jeff concludes his time on the Walker Webcast by sharing the joy of what it means to work with family within a family-operated business.  

A bit about each speaker:

Willy Walker
Willy Walker

Willy Walker is chairman and chief executive officer of Walker & Dunlop. Under Mr. Walker’s leadership, Walker & Dunlop has grown from a small, family-owned business to become one of the largest commercial real estate finance companies in the United States. Walker & Dunlop is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and in its first ten years as a public company has seen its shares appreciate over 800%.

Jeff Hines

Since joining the firm in 1982, Mr. Hines’ ascent to his position of leadership has been paralleled by a vast expansion of the firm's holdings, products and services as well as a dramatic increase of Hines’ capital base and the reinforcement of the firm's reputation for excellence and commitment to sustainability. 

Mr. Hines is a board member on the KIPP Academy Trustees Advisory Board and is a member of the MD Anderson Board of Visitors.  

Laura Hines

Ms. Hines-Pierce joined Hines in 2012 and was responsible for project management of developments and support of new business opportunities in the Midwest and Southeast Regions, including analyzing acquisition and new business opportunities, developing financial and budget models, assessing market research, evaluating mixed-use development opportunities and assisting with institutional fund raising. Since 2017, she has worked in the Office of the Chief Investment Officer, focused on several firm-wide initiatives that have helped to refine investment strategy and acquisition efforts. In September 2018, she was named the firm’s Transformation Officer to support the firm’s strategic and transformative efforts across the business, and in February 2020, she was promoted to Senior Managing Director – Office of the CEO. 

Prior to joining Hines, she worked for Sotheby’s in New York, where she helped develop and implement standardized auction processes and oversaw daily management of departmental auctions and client relationships for high-net-worth clients. She also interned at Eastdil Secured where she was responsible for underwriting, analysis, market research and the development of offering memorandums for a variety of asset types across geographies.

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