Woodbine Development Corporation is celebrating 50 years. The Dallas-based company was created in 1973 by John Field Scovell and Dallas businessman Ray L. Hunt of the Hunt Oil Company. Their relationship would provide the foundation on which other relationships, partnerships and projects would be built during the next half-century, among them: resorts, hotels, spas, golf courses and clubhouses, master-planned communities, residential developments, special event venues, industrial/office buildings and mixed-use destinations.
Over the years, Woodbine has grown its asset base into a billion-dollar-plus portfolio that stretches across the country. The team’s focus has been hospitality, specifically the renovation and ground-up development of limited-, select- and full-service properties for brands like Hyatt, Hilton and Marriott. The company has also been growing its office, industrial and multi-family development portfolio. Its other offerings include asset management, development services and more. Woodbine also oversees Woodbine Commercial, an office/industrial brokerage entity, and Woodbine Legacy Investments, an acquisition platform dedicated to purchasing and repositioning independent and lifestyle hotels.
In honor of its 50th anniversary, Woodbine will continue developing, of course—and it will also celebrate its half-century milestone by supporting the people, partners and community that made its success possible.
“Relationships and teamwork are what got us here,” said King Scovell, managing partner and chief development officer. “Over the past 50 years, many people and organizations have put their faith in our company and given us opportunities, and we want to show our appreciation for those who helped us get to where we are today.”
Woodbine and the Scovell family also want to pay it forward. The company and its leaders will donate approximately $1 million to various organizations this year, some of which they have long supported professionally and personally and others they’ve recently selected given current social and economic challenges.
“Life’s opportunities are seldom equally distributed, and many folks in our community stand to benefit from extra support,” said Dupree Scovell, managing partner and chief investment officer. “So, in addition to the nonprofits and institutions we’ve long supported as a company, team, and family, we’ve identified numerous other Dallas organizations we plan to support this year. Our goal is to help them continue their difference-making impact in the community—the community where Woodbine has lived and worked for 50 years.”
Woodbine has always taken time to consider the past while looking to the future. Back when Hunt and John Scovell joined forces in the early 1970s, John Scovell did a lot of research and learned that the Woodbine Sand in East Texas provided the financial base for the founding of Hunt Oil Company in 1934. As a salute to Hunt and his family, John Scovell recommended Woodbine as the name for the real estate company whose future they were going to build.
The company’s first project—Reunion Tower and Hyatt Regency Dallas at Reunion—opened in 1978. It was ultimately one of the first private-public partnership endeavors in the United States, requiring collaboration among railroads, municipalities, preservationists, and highways, all in a market that hadn’t built a new downtown hotel in more than 10 years.
“Had we been older, wiser, smarter, the Reunion project wouldn’t exist,” said John Scovell. “Youth was a big advantage, as was having a partner like Ray Hunt and the absolute trust he put in me and our team.”
John Scovell and Ray Hunt’s relationship has stood the test of time and spanned many projects. Hunt and his companies continue to invest in and support Woodbine projects. In 2016, John Scovell shed his responsibilities as president of the company—retaining his role as founder and chairman (and he still reports to work). At that time, he appointed Woodbine’s current leadership team. King Scovell and Dupree Scovell serve as managing partners, with King also serving as chief development officer and Dupree as chief investment officer. Ian James “Jim” Cihak is the firm’s COO and CFO.
“I’ve always said development is a team sport,” John Scovell said. “Those who partner with us —including Ray Hunt, as well as the many friends, families, and organizations—always know that we are in this together. Relationships have been our foundation for the last 50 years, and they will be for years to come.”