Real Estate Developers
In 1952, E.E. Jack Wilson, father of Welcome Wilson Sr. and Jack E. Wilson started investing in farm and ranch property in North Houston and East Texas, including rent houses. When he died in 1964, he owned more than 100 parcels of land in four counties of Texas including 1000 acres in Athens, Texas. In 1957 after five years of federal service, Jack and Welcome Wilson, Sr. became real estate developers with their first project, Jamaica Beach in Galveston.
In 1957, Welcome Wilson Sr., with his brother and others, developed Jamaica Beach in Galveston with 1,600 home sites. Jamaica Beach is now a separate city in Galveston County. The Jamaica Beach group went on to develop seven other resort projects in Galveston County including Tiki Island, also a separate city.
In 1964, while the resort developments continued, Jack and Welcome Wilson, Sr., with partners, developed six apartment projects in Houston and Galveston, including the Kingsbrook Apartments, Foxhall Apartments, and Villa Marina Apartments.
In 1965, the Wilsons founded Homestead Bank in North Houston and built a bank building and retail center on Homestead Road. Welcome Wilson, Sr. was Chairman of the Board of Directors.
In 1967, when the Marriott Hotel corporation owned five hotels in the world (now they own 5,000 hotels), the Wilsons developed the sixth Marriott in the world by the Astrodome in Houston, Texas. They owned it and it was managed by the Marriotts. Pictured: Houston Mayor Louie Welch, Texas Lt. Governor Ben Barnes, RE Bob Smith, Welcome Wilson, Sr., Bill Marriott, Jr.
The Wilsons owned ten percent of the Houston Astros baseball team and the Astrodome lease in the 1960s and 70s. Pictured: Welcome Wilson, Sr., Mayor Pro-Tem Johnny Goyen, Archie Bennett, Jr., Rufus Youngblood (Secret Service Agent), Lady Bird Johnson, President Lyndon Johnson and Judge Roy Hofheinz.
In 1970, the Wilson family sponsored the Bob and Vivian Smith Fountain in downtown Houston at the intersection of Polk and Smith to honor their great friends. Bob Smith was the largest land owner in Harris County.
In 1980, in a joint venture with James E. Lyon, owner of the River Oaks Bank in Houston, the Wilsons built a 22-story office building in downtown Houston at 801 Travis.
Also in the 1980s, the Wilson’s, in another joint venture with James E. Lyon, purchased a 22-story downtown office building due to a foreclosure by a lender during construction. They finished the building and sold it to the U.S. Government as the Mickey Leland Federal Office Building.
The Wilsons were development manager and partner in Lakewood Forest subdivision in the 1980’s. It has 700 homes near Highway 249.
With Walter Mischer Sr., the Wilsons developed 1,000 homes at Mason Road in the late 1980’s. The project is called Lakes of Bridgewater.
In the 1990’s real estate bust, the Wilsons teamed up with TCP Realty to purchase and redevelop five million square feet of office and retail buildings. The buildings were purchased from insolvent banks and the RTC.
The Wilson family purchased GSL Constructors in 1998 from Gustave S. Levey. It was both a landlord company as well as a construction contractor. For more information on the company history see the
Brand Story and About Welcome Group pages.