As we continue to pay tribute to the 70th Anniversary of Weingarten Realty, we resume the Weingarten Story after the passing of a legend, Harris Weingarten. The family carries on in his image and takes the thriving company into a new direction that marks the entrance into real estate and the beginning of a very successful run; a run that we are still enjoying today…70 years later.
From Grocery Stores to Shopping Centers
In 1948, Joe Weingarten and family founded Weingarten Markets Realty for the sole purpose of turning their grocery stores into a supermarket chain. The new company began with $60,000 in cash, two part-time employees, and a portfolio of five buildings totaling 51,000 square feet.
Shopping malls began emerging in the early 1950’s. During this time there were twenty-five locations in operation. That did not stop Weingarten Markets Realty from shifting its focus from building supermarkets to developing whole shopping centers. They successfully began building centers with Weingarten Supermarket as the grocery anchor surrounded by various small shops in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana. With this concept, the company realized there was potential for Weingarten Markets Realty to grow.
In 1962, Stanford Alexander (current Chairman) became the second president of Weingarten Markets Realty. In 1964, he executed an over-the-counter stock offering of the company, of which the family retained the majority.
The Passing of a Visionary
Joe Weingarten passed away in 1967, nevertheless, the companies continued to prosper in the hands of those he had placed his dreams with years ago, his family. Over the years, both J. Weingarten Inc. and Weingarten Markets Realty greatly expanded their portfolios as they continued to develop and began acquiring valuable real estate.
In 1971, Weingarten Markets Realty purchased Houston’s River Oaks Shopping Center. This property is a physical reminder of the early days, symbolizing dreams coming to fruition. Today, it remains an integral part of Weingarten Realty’s premier portfolio.
In 1980, the family decided to sell the 79-year-old supermarket chain, which had more than 100 grocery stores across five states. The sale of J. Weingarten Inc. created an opportunity for the realty company to develop relationships with other supermarket chains, independent grocers, drug stores, and retailers. And that is just what they did.
Head to the Weingarten website to see what the company is today.