Our latest series of interviews took us to Houston where we recently launched our new shop in an amazing new shopping and lifestyle destination, Heights Mercantile. The developer, Steve Radom, became a quick friend, and we had the pleasure of taking him away from his busy work schedule to talk about life, work and the city.
Raja Ratan: Steve, you are from Houston and a lot has happened here this year with Hurricane Harvey, what can you say about the resilience of the city and its amazing citizens?
Steve Radom: Ernest Hemingway wrote that the ““The best people possess…the capacity for sacrifice.” Amidst the worst natural disaster Houston has seen in the last century, the best of the city of Houston (its people) was on constant display. We saw Houstonians come together and selflessly help each other in every possible way. There was a contagious spirit of giving that we all witnessed, and we remain humbled by the selfless and courageous rebuilding efforts that continue to this day.
RR: Tell us about your professional trajectory. Have you always wanted to be in real estate development?
SR: I was very fortunate to grow up in a real estate family that expected a lot of me. By background, I began my career as a CPA and a corporate lawyer. I loved my colleagues and learned a great deal in both fields... but behind that pinstriped suit, my artist’s spirit was yearning to be released. I always had a sincere desire to create. I was able to join my family’s business in 2006, and for the better part of the next decade. I had the honor of working with my father and learning from him the ins and outs of development, leasing, and financing of commercial real estate. In 2014, I decided I was ready to branch out on my own and started my own principal-investment firm focusing on infill redevelopment projects. It’s been an amazing journey and I’m truly blessed to do what I love.
RR: The type of shopping center you were able to build at Heights Mercantile is certainly unique, do you have plans to build more centers like this?
SR: Thank you for the kind words. We work hard to make each of our projects unique and contextual to the neighborhoods they serve. In the case of Heights Mercantile, we were able to assemble an irreplaceable location with frontage on three major streets, a bike trail, a jogging trail, and across from a treasured park. That allowed us to create a walkable creative destination that maintained the neighborhood’s charm.
We certainly strive to incorporate certain elements that we love from prior projects, but we ultimately treat each future project as its own entity. We attempt to determine the appropriate execution in terms of scale, density, architecture, and tenancy for each development. In every project, we begin by conceptually asking “What would we want if we lived here or if we worked here?” That allows us to create the most appropriate destinations.
My personal philosophy is that I only pursue the properties and locations that I am passionate about!
RR: What are your past times as a husband and new father of twin boys?
SR: There is nothing better than coming home to my twin 16-month-old boys and my beautiful wife. While crazy busy, this has been the best year of my life.
Between work and family, my schedule is pretty committed, but we make time to exercise several times each week (to maintain sanity), actively give back charitably, and travel as much as we can. If my wife and I had unlimited time, you’d catch us traveling around the world and experiencing new cultures and foods along the way.
Steve Radom is the Managing Principal of Radom Capital, LLC, a diversified real estate investment, development and management firm based in Houston, Texas.