This week’s episode features a real estate legend: Leonard Wood, the Founder and Former CEO of Wood Partners, one of the nation’s leading apartment builders. Since Leonard founded Wood Partners in 1998, the company has developed over 79,000 homes with a combined value of more than $14.1 billion. Additionally, he is the Founder of the Leonard Wood Center for Real Estate Studies as a part of the Kenan-Flagler Business School. In this episode, Leonard talks about leadership lessons learned and important values for the real estate industry. Leonard also addresses potential issues for the next generation of real estate leaders as the industry moves into a post COVID world of urban development.
In 2013, Leonard retired and merged GLJ Partners, a southern California apartment development company he founded in 2008, into Trammell Crow Residential. That same year, he joined the Advisory Board of Trammell Crow Residential where he continues to serve today. Before the inception of GLJ Partners, Leonard founded Wood Partners, LLC in 1998. Wood Partners was the largest multi-family builder in the U.S. in 2004, the 3rd largest in 2005, and the 6th largest in 2006 according to Builder Magazine. Leonard retired as CEO of Wood Partners in 2007, but continued to serve on the Board of Directors through the end of 2013.
Prior to founding Wood Partners, Leonard joined Trammell Crow Residential (“TCR”) as Partner in charge of North Florida in 1982. During Leonard’s tenure at TCR, he was responsible for the Southeast, Texas, Midwest, and Southwest Regions and started over 54,000 multi-family units representing an investment of more than $2.5 billion. In October of 1996, Homegate Hospitality, Inc. (“Homegate”) had its Initial Public Offering. Homegate combined TCR’s development capabilities with Wyndham Hotel Company’s management expertise to create an extended-stay hotel chain. Leonard was on the Board of Directors of Homegate. In December of 1997, Homegate merged with Prime Hospitality, a New York Stock Exchange lodging company. Subsequently, Prime sold to Marriott.
Leonard is a 1972 University of North Carolina M.B.A. graduate, with an undergraduate degree from N.C. State University in 1968. As an Audit Manager with Arthur Andersen & Co., Leonard had an extensive real estate clientele, including Brandermill and Fripp Island.
Leonard is a former Chairman and served on the Multifamily Leadership Board of NAHB. He also is a former Chairman and served on the Board of Directors of the National Multifamily Housing Council. Leonard is a past Governor, Trustee, and Chairman of the Multifamily Council of the Urban Land Institute. He is active in numerous charities with a particular focus on education. He has also been active with various wounded warrior programs. His youngest son, Kevin, served two tours in Iraq. He also serves on the Board of Visitors of the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. In 2001, Leonard received the MBA Alumni Merit Award from the University of North Carolina. In 2007, Leonard founded the Wood Center for Real Estate Studies as a part of the Kenan-Flagler Business School and is the current Chairman of its Advisory Board. In 2018, he was awarded the Davie Award, the highest award a UNC alumni can receive. He formerly served on the Board of the Darlington School. He was also a Board member of Cole Credit Property Trust III, Inc. and Cole Corporate Income Trust, Inc. Leonard served on the Board of the Ocean Reef Club, the largest private club in the world. He is a Past President of Card Sound Golf Club in Key Largo, Florida.