Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Commercial Real Estate Profile: Dan Woodward | Developer and Investor, Tampa

  • By
  • | 11:00 a.m. November 20, 2015
  • Tampa Bay-Lakeland
  • Share

Dan Woodward has spent the past three decades refining and honing skills across the commercial real estate spectrum, from brokerage to management to development to finance, with some of the top names in the business in Tampa.

But the Highwoods Properties' vice president for Tampa may be on the cusp of having an even bigger impact.

That's because while Highwoods has focused almost exclusively on high-end, suburban office properties in the past, the North Carolina-based real estate investment trust is now executing a corporate strategy to expand into central business districts.

In Tampa that strategy led Highwoods this summer to invest $124 million to acquire the 35-story SunTrust Financial Centre, a 528,000-square-foot property Woodward refers to as “one of three Class A-plus office buildings downtown.

“Historically, Westshore has been the dominant submarket in the Tampa area,” says Woodward, 55. “But given converging events — the leadership of Mayor Buckhorn, the completion of Riverwalk, a workforce shift, more millennials downtown, the momentum at Channelside and the Port — downtown is now a vastly improving market.”

Woodward adds that most urban U.S. office markets don't suffer from excess supply today, so even if or when activity cools, areas like Tampa won't experience a significant drop.

And SunTrust, in particular, offers tremendous upside for Highwoods. Company materials say the REIT will receive $8 million in net operating income from the building in its first year of ownership alone, a figure that could spike as a result of near-term rent rollovers.

Like Highwoods itself, Woodward has spent his career continually adapting, reshaping and adjusting himself. In the mid-1980s, the Pensacola native obtained an M.B.A. from the University of Florida, which led to a stint with the Dallas-based Vantage Cos. in Tampa. A decade later, Woodward went back to school, to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to earn a graduate degree that focused on real estate development.

With that experience, he developed a handful of buildings totaling more than 1 million square feet for the Pizzuti Cos., in Orlando, before joining the Trammell Crow Co.

“He stood out because he always pursued intellectual excellence,” says Bob Abberger, senior managing director of Strategic Property Partners, the real estate firm led by Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik working to develop the Channel district.

“Dan was always looking to go beyond what you asked him to do,” adds Abberger, who led Trammell Crow's office at the time. “He always took the next step.”

Pat Kelly, president of Tampa's Redstone Commercial and the person who hired Woodward at Vantage, says Woodward possesses a unique combination of skills.

“He's very detail oriented and technologically inclined,” says Kelly. “But he sees things globally, as well, and that's a big deal because you usually don't find that all in the same

Woodward joined Highwoods in 2006, after the company approached him about running its Tampa office, one of two it maintains in the state.

Today, the firm owns and manages 22 Tampa-area properties totaling 3.6 million square feet, in projects like LakePointe I and II, Pavilion, Highwoods Preserve and Tower Place, among others. Woodward oversees 45 employees at the firm.

While Highwoods has grown in Tampa primarily through acquisitions of SunTrust and the Meridian I and II complex, which it bought earlier this year for $56 million, it also is focusing on build-to-suit opportunities with existing clients.

Its latest project, a $56 million headquarters for the Laser Spine Institute, is scheduled to be completed next year. The six-story, 176,000-square-foot building is 100% pre-leased.

Development may be in Woodward's future, too. In addition to a one-acre tract adjacent to the SunTrust building downtown that is valued at $2.2 million, Highwoods owns a pair of sites in Westshore capable of accommodating new projects.

“We're focused on improving the size and especially the quality of our portfolio,” Woodward says. “And we're a long-term owner and investor. That gives us a unique perspective.”


Related Articles

  • December 25, 2015
2015 Top Deals: Tampa Bay
  • October 16, 2015
Gaining an edge
  • December 17, 2009
Pain Management

Special Offer: $5 for 2 Months!

Your free article limit has been reached this month.
Subscribe now for unlimited digital access to our award-winning business news.
Join thousands of executives who rely on us for insights spanning Tampa Bay to Naples.