Crescent Real Estate’s John Goff is getting ready for a post-COVID boom

A year into the global pandemic, John Goff is making some of the biggest real estate deals of his career.

His Crescent Real Estate paid just $ 700 million to purchase the Crescent complex of the same name in Uptown Dallas.

And in Fort Worth, Goff is planning a $ 250 million mixed-use development – Crescent Real Estate’s first project in his hometown.

While a few other commercial real estate firms sit back and defer deals, Goff is counting on the Texan economy to make his moves pay off.

“I think we’ll come back quick and hard,” said Goff. “We’ll be surprised how quickly the rebound will take place.

“Dallas-Fort Worth will drown on occasion.”

After more than 30 years in the real estate sector, Goff has weathered its share of economic downturns.

He learned the real estate and investment business from the famous Fort Worth billionaire Richard Rainwater. When Goff and Rainwater started their real estate investment company, it was named after the Dallas landmark, Crescent Real Estate, that was just purchased.

Throughout all business cycles, Goff remained optimistic about the Texan market, always looking for the next opportunity.

He completed the final acquisition of Uptown’s Crescent – the third time he has bought the property – ahead of schedule.

“It’s an incredible piece of architecture that you can’t afford today,” said Goff. “Any high-quality move to the city that wants to be in the urban core will see the crescent moon.

“It will be on everyone’s list.”

A Crescent Real Estate fund bought the Crescent complex from JP Morgan Asset Management, which has owned the property for about a decade.

With office rents averaging more than $ 40 per square foot, the Crescent is one of the most expensive office rentals in Dallas. It’s a favorite of financial firms like UBS Securities, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, and Rockefeller Capital Management.

“We saw a lot of good leasing activity there while we were under contract,” said Goff.

He believes that the steady stream of businesses moving into Dallas and Texas from the coastal markets will turn into a flood as the pandemic subsides. “We are at the epicenter of the relocation,” said Goff. “The moves will only increase if tax policies in different countries continue to change.

“Dallas-Fort Worth will receive a disproportionate share of these moves,” he said. “Texas will just be a magnet for business.”

Crescent Real Estate last month announced plans for the $ 250 million Museum Place project in Fort Worth.Crescent Real Estate last month announced plans for the $ 250 million Museum Place project in Fort Worth.(Crescent Real Estate)

Goff said his company’s hotels were already recovering from the pandemic.

Crescent Real Estate owns both the Crescent Court Hotel and the Ritz-Carlton in Uptown, two of the top hotel properties in Dallas that, like most, have seen a sharp decline in COVID-19 business.

“We’re actually recovering very well,” said Goff. “We’ll end the month between the Ritz and the Crescent with an occupancy of 75%.

“And that without a lot of business travel. I never thought I’d be happy with a 75% occupancy rate, but that feels pretty good after the pandemic. “

With more than 60% of local office workers still working from home, Goff expects the number of office workers to increase over the course of 2021.

The Crescent complex recently exceeded the 50% personal office worker mark.

“The pandemic will be in the rearview mirror by the end of the year,” Goff said. “It will certainly affect the way we do things and how we interact at some level.”

Goff said his company recently made major changes to an office building it was building for a customer in Colorado.

“They called us in the middle of the pandemic and said they want to continue the office project but they want to cut the density in half,” he said. “We are now building twice as much as the building.”

John Goff's Crescent Real Estate has owned the Crescent office, hotel and retail project three times in the past 30 years. John Goff’s Crescent Real Estate has owned the Crescent office, hotel and retail project three times in the past 30 years. (Juan Figueroa)