Jim Wright, of the Jim Wright Company, in Killeen is one of the biggest names in local real estate. Wright’s company handles residential and commercial properties, so he has a unique perspective on the local market. Wright sat down with the Herald to discuss some of the projects his company is working on.
You are working on a lot of retail projects on the south side of Central Texas Expressway. Which ones are close to being finished?
We’ve got a new building on Stan Schlueter Loop that is basically a small office type space. We’ve got eight suites over there designed for individual entrepreneurs, whether it’s an insurance agent or a Mary Kay salesperson who wants an office, or something of that nature. There was quite a bit of demand for that. We have three or four already leased, and the building was just finished this week. We are developing an office building on W.S. Young for a dentist. It is about 15,000 square feet. The dentist is going to occupy about 5,000 square feet of it and the rest will be additional lease space. Another doctor has a large office building that is finishing up on Clear Creek, and we’re leasing it for him.
Is there a project you are particularly excited about?
We’re getting ready to start a project we’re calling the Village at Clear Creek, which is a multi-use building that will have retail downstairs and apartments upstairs. That is right across from Metroplex Hospital. We’re getting ready to break ground on it shortly. My guess is sometime in April we’ll be pushing dirt out there. It’s very nice. It’s going to be upscale, mostly two bedroom apartments with retail downstairs. There has never been anything like it in Killeen, and we’re hoping that it works.
Is it tough to balance the residential and retail sides of your business?
Not really. Our office handles close to 3,000 residential properties. I’ve got a staff of over 30 people. They pretty much take care of the residential. I do nearly exclusively commercial myself. I have a couple of people that help me with that. We’re one of the few companies, the only company that I know of in Bell County, that has certified property managers and certified public accountants. I’m a certified commercial investment member, which is a CCIM, and means I have had training in commercial property. I am also a certified residential specialist, or CRS. These are just designations offered by the National Association of Realtors for expertise in these areas.
What is an emerging sector on the retail space side?
There is a lot of growth, and a lot going on across the board. There is a lot of medical/health care activity. King’s Daughters recently rented some space in Harker Heights, and they brought a couple of OB-GYNs in. I got a call yesterday from another doctor that was looking for space. There is a lot of medical, partly because of the new Seton hospital. Partly because Darnall is expanding (at Fort Hood).
How will the emerging health care market influence the rest of the retail market?
If you have more upper-income people like doctors and dentists, it will create more business for the entire area, the retail shops. Retail had done quite well around here. There are a lot of things we don’t have, but I think eventually we’ll get them. For years, national chain restaurants were reluctant to come into Killeen. Once they came in, they discovered it is one of the best retail markets they’ve been in. I understand Freddy’s broke records when they opened up in Killeen, and they are about to break ground in Harker Heights.