Craig Hall grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan and by age 8 was running small businesses, including an elaborate version of a lemonade stand. By age 18, Craig had saved $4,000 and purchased a student rooming house, and he quickly purchased a dozen more, becoming a self-made millionaire at age 21. 1975, the company built its first racquetball club. In 1977, HALL Group entered into a joint-venture with Time, Inc. and named the company Sports Illustrated Court Clubs. During this time, the company also started a Health Maintenance Organization and a Savings & Loan. At age 29, Craig was named one of the "Ten Outstanding Young Men in America" alongside Bill Clinton.
In the early 1980s, the company experienced a period of great growth. One of the company's new regional offices opened in Dallas, and ultimately, the company decided to move the headquarters there. In 1984, Craig became a true Texan when he became a partial owner of the Dallas Cowboys. At the peak of its growth spurt, the company made the largest single apartment purchase in the U.S. in Phoenix, Arizona and owned more than 72,000 apartment units.
In 1986, banks and S&L's were dealing with growing defaults on real estate loans due to overbuilding. HALL Group began to see declining revenues at their properties and completed a major analysis of the market, concluding that it was headed for a nosedive. From 1986 to 1992, the entire company was focused on survival. Some of the company’s proudest moments came from the way the team pulled through these difficult years.
After surviving the downturn, the company had a platform to begin growing again. In the early 1990s, HALL Group acquired more than one million square feet of depressed, high-quality office properties in Downtown Dallas, which it ultimately turned around to make a substantial profit. At the same time, the company opened its new lending operation affiliate, HALL Structured Finance. In 1997, construction began on Hall Office Park (now HALL Park), the company's master-planned development in Frisco, Texas. HALL Group also purchased the HALL Arts property in Downtown Dallas in the mid-1990s, with a plan to begin construction when the public Arts District buildings were completed.
In the early 2000s, the Halls' winemaking business purchased thousands of acres for vineyards, built two new wineries and embarked upon growing a unique, worldwide, direct-to-consumer wine operation. Further diversifying, HALL Group invested in a small start-up software company called Skywire Software, which over time would become a major player in the insurance software industry. HALL Group built 11 new buildings at HALL Park and HALL Structured Finance made several loans to real estate developers. The company also bought 12 million shares of American Airlines, which at its high point was valued at approximately $500 million. HALL's oil & gas companies saw great success in the early part of the decade, quickly followed by a great setback.
Analysts, politicians and newscasters had proclaimed that a downturn due to residential housing financing problems would be short-lived. The Great Recession turned out to be anything but. HALL Group’s American Airlines position lost $400 million in value, and the company lost $150 million in oil & gas. This caused significant setbacks and the company went into survival mode in several of its businesses. However, there were positives. HALL Group's real estate and wine businesses did reasonably well despite the slow economy. The sale of several real estate properties, as well as the sale of Skywire Software to Oracle for just over $300 million, helped pay for losses elsewhere.
In 2015, HALL Group completed the first phase of the HALL Arts development in the Dallas Arts District, including a 500,000-square-foot office tower and sculpture walk featuring Texas artists. Active plans are now in place for phase two, which will include HALL Arts Residences and Hotel. HALL Park now includes 16 completed buildings, with a 17th on the way, and recently underwent a park-wide refresh. HALL Wines continues to produce world-class wine, with more than 140 being rated 90-points and above and two achieving perfect 100-point scores, inspiring Kathryn and Craig Hall’s New York Times best-selling book, A Perfect Score, which was released on Sept. 13, 2016.