Philip Williams began his professional career in the 1980s as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Although a CPA, taxes were not his fate. His grandfather had been in the real estate business as a general contractor and builder, so real estate was in his blood. Even as a teenager, Williams was given a glimpse into the real estate business by attending land-planning meetings with his mother.
“It looked like the guys in the real estate business were having all the fun,” Williams said. “I got in and paid my dues. I did all of the staff level work and learned how to be a developer.”
In 1988, Williams was faced with a decision. He could either go to work for the government because they were starting to own all of the property, go back to being a CPA or start his own company.
“My mom loaned me the money to start my own company,” Williams said. “I did what any American boy would do. I went to my momma.”
Twenty years ago, Williams started Emerson Partners, a commercial real estate investment company. For the last few years, the main focus of Emerson has been on the environmentally-friendly development Montgomery Farms in Allen. The land the development sits on has been in the Williams family since the 1900s.
“The most that we had was 700 acres,” Williams said. Now we have 180 acres that is undeveloped.”
For Williams, attention to the environment came at an early age and he attributes his environmentally-conscious mind to his mother.
“My mom was the one that really said, ‘pay attention,’” Williams said.
Much of the undeveloped land sits in the Connemara Conservancy, one of Texas’ first land trusts. Frances Williams founded it in 1981 with an initial gift of 72 acres.
Williams has gone through added efforts to do what he can to make sure that Montgomery Farms follow the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standard.
Through the development of Montgomery Farms, it was discovered the property sits on a limestone base.
“Like a quarry or a lake in the hill country, it will hold water,” Williams said. “The project is going to have a million gallons of water storage on site that will be used for landscape and to recycle storm water. It is underground and all controlled so that we capture the water and use it for irrigation and other plumbing purposes.”
The underground water storage is one example of how Montgomery Farms is using its natural resources to better the land.
If you are going to go through the trouble of being LEED certified, then you are putting a lot of thought, effort and expense into the design and building of your project. Just by a consequence of that you end up with a higher quality piece of real estate.
“A whole lot of credit needs to go to my sister, Amy, one of the general partners in the projects, for what she has done on the conservation side,” Williams said. “I have always said my job is the bookkeeper and she is the keeper of the vision.”
Visit http://www.montgomeryfarm.com for more information.