RECA celebrates 25th anniversary

The Real Estate Council of Austin is celebrating its 25th anniversary in a year in which its advocacy efforts are perhaps more important than ever, members said.


RECA, a nonprofit established in 1991, is made up of more than 1,800 commercial real estate professionals in the region and provides counsel to local leaders on policy issues affecting the local real estate industry.


Growing its membership from about 150 after its first year to nearly 2,000, RECA has become “a formidable organization in size and impact,” said one of the organization’s founding members, Tom Terkel, a principal at FourT Realty.


A former RECA president, Terkel said the organization was born out of a need for a moderate voice in the Central Texas business community.


“[RECA took a] shift in approach and attitude in what was going on from other real estate organizations at the time,” he said. “They wanted to take a sort of all-or-nothing approach; we disagreed with that. We didn’t think it would create a good long-term business environment.”


Formed on the heels of the 1980s—a decade of Texas economic tumult because of plunging oil prices—RECA sought to unite the business community and create stability in the market moving forward, Terkel said.


Another of RECA’s five founders, Gary Farmer, Heritage Title Co. of Austin president, said the organization branched off at the time from the NAIOP, also known as the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, which had local chapters in several Texas cities.


The growth of RECA 25 years later and the significant role it plays in advocating for the interests of the local commercial real estate industry speaks volumes for its merit and necessity, he said.


“We’ve enjoyed phenomenal growth,” he said. “And we have a very strong membership base—young and old and from a diversity of industry sectors.”


One of RECA’s younger members is Kevin Burns, owner of Urban Space, which provides real estate brokerage and is also a furniture store and interior design studio. Burns said he joined RECA in the late 1990s—prior to founding his business and just after graduating from The University of Texas—on the advice of a local broker. After consistently attending RECA luncheons and happy hours, he said he saw just how valuable the organization was. The events provided not just an opportunity for socializing, he said, but a foundation for building his career.


“Really it’s an organization that has a keen eye toward helping Austin grow in a manner that helps everybody out,” Burns said. “We’re kind of the watchdog for thoughtful growth and development and making sure our local government doesn’t run amok.”

By JJ Velasquez
The Central Austin editor since 2016, JJ covers city government and other topics of community interest—when he's not editing the work of his prolific writers. He began his tenure at Community Impact Newspaper as the reporter for its San Marcos | Buda | Kyle edition covering local government and public education. The Laredo, Texas native is also a web developer whose mission is to make the internet a friendly place for finding objective and engaging news content.


MOST RECENT

A graphic that reads "today's coronavirus updates"
Travis County coronavirus indicators still hovering at upper end of Stage 4 risk

Travis County saw 657 new cases and 68 new hospitalizions July 13.

The city said residents should make sure they are only watering on their scheduled days based on address. (Courtesy city of Georgetown)
Georgetown faces watering restrictions, SW Austin private school closes: News from Central Texas

Read the latest business and community news from Central Texas here.

In Rollingwood, officials are pursuing the creation of the city's first-ever comprehensive plan. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)
Rollingwood pursuing city's first-ever comprehensive plan

Citing sustained growth and a need to manage development, the city of Rollingwood is pursuing the creation of its first comprehensive plan.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, shown here in March, announced July 13 the U.S. Department of Defense would provide additional resource to help Texas combat COVID-19. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)
Department of Defense task forces deployed to help Texas combat COVID-19

Gov. Greg Abbott announced July 13 the U.S. Department of Defense would provide more resources to Texas to combat the rise of COVID-19.

The proposed fiscal year 2020-21 budget includes an $11.3 million reduction in police spending, achieved largely by eliminating 100 vacant positions within the Austin Police Department. (Design by Shelby Savage/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin's $4.2 billion proposed budget includes 2.5% reduction to police department funding

Community groups and some Austin City Council members have called for a police department budget reduction of at least $100 million.

Of the 14,788 COVID-19 cases, 754 originate from the Lake Travis-Westlake area, which encompasses nine ZIP codes in western Travis County. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)
See how COVID-19 cases have grown in the Lake Travis-Westlake area since last week

Of the 14,788 COVID-19 cases, 754 originate from the Lake Travis-Westlake area, which encompasses nine ZIP codes in western Travis County.

Thousands marched from Huston-Tillotson University to the Texas Capitol on June 7 to protest police brutality and systemic racism. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
Where Austin's mayor, 9 City Council members stand on police reform, funding, leadership

With decisions coming soon on the city's fiscal year 2020-21 budget, all but one City Council member sat down for interviews on where they stand on various policing issues in Austin.

Travis County has added 3,069 new confirmed cases over the past week from July 6-12. (Community Impact Staff)
Travis County adds 3,069 new coronavirus cases over past week

Travis County has added 3,069 new confirmed cases over the past week from July 6-12.

A sign directs voters inside Ridgetop Elementary School in North Central Austin. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
11.8% of voters in Travis County have voted early since June 29, exceeding 2018 primary numbers

More than 97,000 Travis County residents have voted in person or by mail. The turnout far surpassed the combined early and Election Day totals in the 2018 primary run-off election.

A photo of the potential Tesla property
Travis County updates Tesla incentive package, pushing for $1 billion-plus investment from the company

Poised for a possible July 13 vote, Travis County has released a refined incentives structure proposal with electric carmaker Tesla.

Texas Commissioner of Education Mike Morath announced in a June 30 State Board of Education meeting that students will be taking the STAAR in the 2020-21 school year. (Courtesy Pixabay)
Education organizations call for STAAR requirements to be waived another year

Gov. Greg Abbott waived the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, testing requirements in March of earlier this year in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

With a clinical background in internal, pulmonary and critical care medicine, Corry has been with BCM for 20 years. He now focuses primarily on inflammatory lung diseases, such as asthma and smoking-related chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases. (Graphic by Ronald Winters/Community Impact Newspaper)
Q&A: Baylor College of Medicine's Dr. David Corry discusses immunity, vaccine production amid COVID-19 pandemic

Rapid development and distribution of a vaccine worldwide and successful achievement of herd immunity will be key players in determining the lifespan of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Dr. David Corry, a professor of Medicine in the Immunology, Allergy and Rheumatology Section at Baylor College of Medicine.