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This profile was last updated on 9/2/04  and contains information from public web pages.

Leasing Agent

Phone: (214) ***-****  HQ Phone
Email: c***@***.com
Trammell Crow Company
2001 Ross Avenue, Suite 325
Dallas , Texas 75201
United States

Company Description: Trammell Crow Company provides the full cycle of real estate solutions for both users of and investors in commercial real estate. As one of the largest diversified...   more

Employment History

  • Collector of Contemporary Art


  • Stanford University
Web References Business, 2 Sept 2004 [cached]
A week ago, Chris Erck was close to selling Finesilver, a former uniform factory he had painted a cobalt blue as part of a plan to transform the old building into workspaces for creative professionals.
The buy offers were tempting: Seven years after Erck bought the building, the gallery he opened there represented 30 artists from across the country with international followings Erck had helped develop.But the three-story structure at Camaron Street and Interstate 35 was only 40 percent leased.
Despite ample free parking, leasing efforts were hampered by the lack of nearby restaurants for office workers and fire safety-code requirements that keep the third floor undivided.
Erck, a restless young entrepreneur and developer who specializes in inventing concepts to creatively reuse older buildings, decided he'd rather abort his vision than become a full-time leasing agent.
But as he showed a visitor around the 122,000-square-foot building last week, it was obvious Erck still fervently believed in his original concept.He still could look at the work in progress and see the completed project he envisioned the first time he walked into the building.
"I can walk into a space and immediately see what it can be transformed into, and I like finding the inherent beauty in mundane objects," Erck said.
He also owns and created the concept for Swig Martini Bar in a former restaurant space downtown and Cementville Laboratory and Café located in an old chemical lab across from Alamo Quarry Market.
As if to justify Erck's faith in Finesilver's potential, Monday morning unexpectedly brought two calls from brokers with firm offers from clients to lease the entire third floor.
So Erck switched gears again.Not an uncommon occurrence for this 39-year-old father of two whose imagination, drive and growing list of successful projects have won the admiration of seasoned San Antonio redevelopment specialists - and whose Finesilver project, his first commercial venture, is the only one that has been slow out of the starting gate.
Erck, a 1987 graduate of Stanford University with a degree in social sciences, began his career as a leasing agent for Trammell Crow in Dallas.He quickly discovered he didn't like leasing.What he did like was developing new uses for older buildings.
He and his wife, Georgia, in 1989 returned to San Antonio, and Erck began buying, remodeling and reselling older houses in Alamo Heights and Terrell Hills.But it was older commercial structures that drew Erck, whose business concepts are often hatched by standing inside a building and imagining a new use with a ghost of the past allowed to linger.
A collector of contemporary art, Erck went looking for a space of about 6,000 square feet to open a gallery from which he could help artists attract international patrons.Then he walked into the sprawling old Finesilver building.
"I wasn't looking for anything this big, but I fell in love with it," Erck said.
That willingness to take a risk, even one that has no relation to his original plans, is what distinguishes Erck's style as a developer, said a local developer and friend of Erck's who sold him the building where Swig is on the River Walk.
"Chris is incredibly creative and talented," said Bill Atwell, president of Atlee Development.
"And unlike most practical developers who say, 'Wait a minute, that's a lot of risk,' and are not willing to take that risk, Chris gets a vision and is willing to take the risk to see that vision to fruition."
Erck will open a second art gallery this fall in Houston in the city's Midtown.Swig Martini Bar, whose profits have grown 20 percent yearly since its 1997 opening, now has a twin in Memphis and will have a third location in Aspen this fall.Erck wants to open two Swigs a year and is scouting locations and fielding interest from potential investment partners.
But even as his vision expands beyond San Antonio, Erck said San Antonio would remain his home base and incubator for new business concepts.He's got several more bar concepts and one for a boutique hotel with loft-like spaces, all waiting for the right buildings to inspire them.
"Fifteen years ago, if you had said, 'You're going to own bars and restaurants and galleries,' I'd have said, 'No way,'" Erck said.
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