Gerald Hines founded his business in 1957 as a developer of office properties. His namesake company now has a presence in 201 cities and 24 countries, and manages over $110 billion in property. Hines is renowned for not only creating the highest quality buildings in the market, but for partnering with the world’s best architects.
Born in Gary, IN in 1925, Hines was the child of parents who came on a boat from Nova Scotia. Growing up, he ran cross country and track and is proud to share that his team won the city championships. He entered college at Purdue early, completing 3 semesters of studies before joining the Army at 18.
While in the service, he was part of the Army Corps of Engineers, and his travels introduced him to the inspiring architecture in Seattle and Tacoma.
After the Army, Hines returned to school to complete his Mechanical Engineering degree and spent some time selling engineering equipment.
He made the leap to development when his neighbor needed a building for 5,000 square feet and Hines said, “let me build it.” This catapulted his career and he began working with larger companies and properties.
“We just evolved… the brokers seemed to get the fact that we had a very high hit rate and so that attracted the better brokers to us with their projects, and quality and good value sustained our entry into that.”
The timing was perfect, as Texas was expanding and companies were moving there, so there was a lot of new construction. Hines’ reputation for quality and straight shooting helped them grow.
Hines recalls his first big project for Shell, building their new headquarters in Texas. He worked with architect Bruce Graham of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill on it, and for the pitch, they used a fancy German lock set to denote the quality of the project they were going to create – and they won. He went on to work with architects like Phillip Johnson on Pennzoil, and create iconic buildings like New York City’s Lipstick building, The Galleria in Houston, and the Marche St. Germain in France.
Hines emphasizes the importance of a strong business culture, rooted in integrity.
“I think our (team) all realize what integrity means and we stand by our word. We treat people fairly and that’s very important to all of us.”