The FORT Podcast: Ray Washburne

Ray Washburne is the owner of the Mi Cocina restaurants, Dallas Highland Park Village, and former President and CEO of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.

On this episode, Chris and Ray talk about Ray’s career path in real estate and how he developed Highland Park Village in Dallas into nearly $380 million in annual sales. They also talk about Ray starting one of the most popular Tex Mex chains in Texas, his experience working under President Trump, OPIC, and much more. Enjoy!

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(02:27) – Ray’s Background and Career

(04:14) – How did you get started in real estate?

(05:16) – How do you find operating platforms that you want to back?

(06:58) – How do you think about getting a deal done?

(08:05) – How Chris and Ray Met

(08:42) – How Ray Bought Highland Park Village

(11:50) – Developing the Property

(13:11) – How does it work bringing in super-luxury tenants?

(15:10) – What does ‘Retail is Dead’ mean to you? Why is it wrong?

(16:35) – How do the personal shoppers work in your spaces?

(18:51) – What has Park House done for the center?

(20:55) – Why is Dallas winning so much?

(22:21) – Understanding the Consumer From a Property Management Perspective

(26:00) – The Story of Mi Cocina and Where it is Today

(30:40) – Why do brands not travel well?

(32:04) – What’s the long-term vision for the brand?

(33:20) – What was it like owning a restaurant in 2020?

(38:01) – Are there places where you’re now saving money due to COVID?

(40:43) – How important is it for a restaurant to have a signature drink or dish that people can rally behind?

(43:26) – How do restaurants make money?

(44:36) – Is there anything that you’re seeing that anticipates the next roaring 20’s?

(46:53) – Thinking About National Competition

(48:21) – Are most retailers located in major centers to make money or is it for marketing/branding?

(49:12) – What was it like working for President Trump?

(53:19) – Is there a time or interaction with him that you’ll never forget?

(55:31) – Was the division between Trump and top Democrats just for show or was it real?

(56:31) – What is OPIC and why should private business owners be thinking about it?

(59:52) – How do you determine which companies\countries have the entrepreneurs to drive capital?

(1:01:03) – The Chinese Belt & Road initiative

(1:01:48) – What’s the coolest project you worked on?

(1:03:19) – Where is the world growing that we in America aren’t thinking about?

(1:04:54) – How are we going to be competitive against China?

(1:05:35) – What’s interesting to you going forward now that you’re out of government?

(1:07:44) – What’s the pitch of Downtown vs. Uptown Dallas?

(1:08:39) – Do you have a childhood experience that shaped the direction of your life?

(1:09:52) – What’s one thing you believe that a lot of people do not?

(1:11:09) – Can we keep a clean government?

(1:11:33) – What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

(1:12:02) – If you owned the biggest billboard in DFW and you could put anything on it, what would it say?

The FORT with Chris Powers is produced by Straight Up Podcasts

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