Longtime Houston industrial exec launches private development company
Apr 2, 2018
Justin Bennett will still be an active member of Houston’s industrial community, but he’ll be working in a role that, in his words, allows him to spread his wings.
After spending eight years with Denver-based DCT Industrial Trust (NYSE: DCT) and launching the company’s regional office in Houston, Bennett is leaving to form a private development company that’ll focus on building speculative industrial projects throughout south Texas, he told the Houston Business Journal. RICK KOOKER
After serving as DCT’s senior vice president for eight The company, Phelan Bennett Development LLC, will be run by years Justin Bennett is launching a Texas development firm, Phelan Bennett Development, Bennett and Jeff Phelan of California-based Phelan Development. alongside Jeff Phelan. Bennett and Phelan have known one another for 20 years; the pair worked for Panattoni Development Co. Inc. in the late ’90s, Bennett said.
“Through the years, I’ve been approached by a lot of different people and a lot of different platforms,” Bennett said. “The gestation period for this decision was very long.”
Phelan launched his namesake company in 2006. In 2010, Phelan joined DCT and recruited Bennett from Panattoni to launch DCT’s Houston office, Bennett said. Phelan was promoted to president of DCT in 2013. In 2016, he left DCT to re-launch Phelan Development.
Now, at Phelan Bennett Development, Bennett will focus on managing Texas development and Phelan will spearhead the company’s investment strategy. The company is backed by individual and institutional investors, Bennett said. Phelan Bennett Development so far has investors from Texas and California, mostly
“This is a Texas company,” Bennett said. “I want to be crystal clear about that.”
Phelan Bennett Development will develop industrial properties with the intent to hold, sell or with the intent of selling to the tenant, Bennett said. The strategy will be a far cry from DCT’s, which almost exclusively builds properties with the intent of holding them for the long term. The new company is already working on a project that should be announced this quarter. Project details weren’t specified.
For the foreseeable future, Phelan Bennett Development will be comprised of its co-founders, though Bennett’s open to hiring people down the road.
Bennett had a busy run as DCT’s regional leader. In 2017, the company broke ground on DCT Petro Port Industrial Park: a two-building, 252,000-square-foot industrial park near Highway 225 off Sens Road. The industrial park is being built on 35 acres of land that DCT acquired from a Fortune 200 company and a Fortune 100 petrochemical company.
Also in 2017, DCT broke ground on a 222,000-square-foot facility for Ohio-based DHL Supply Chain USA near Port Houston.
The 1.5 million square feet of space that DCT has developed in Houston since 2012, which includes DCT Northwest Crossroads Logistics Centre, is 100 percent leased.
Cara Smith: Reporter Houston Business Journal