San Antonio developers get creative with their business names

When setting up a company for a real estate transaction, many developers and investors simply use the property address or their company name.

Randy Smith, co-founder and CEO of development company Weston Urban, takes a different approach.

“It usually involves a cocktail party and a few friends,” he admits.

For example, there’s “All Out of Bubblegum LP,” the Weston Urban limited partnership used to purchase the Dry Goods building at 107 N. Flores St. downtown. It’s taken from a line in the 1988 film “They Live”, about a man who discovers via magic sunglasses that aliens are running the world and humans have been tricked.

“I came here to chew gum and kick ass. And I’m out of bubblegum,” the man, played by wrestler “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, solemnly declares before a shootout.

Smith said it was probably the first movie with a swear word he was allowed to watch – “When you’re 11 and you think you can quote Rowdy Roddy Piper and get away with it, that’s a big victoire.”

He says it’s also a tribute to the Dry Goods building, his favorite historic building in Weston Urban’s portfolio.

why they do it

Business owners, homebuyers, investors, and developers often form a limited liability company or limited partnership to purchase property. They do it for liability protection, tax benefits, or to hide who they are.

Smith declined to disclose the origins of “WWG Wobmisa Ltd.”, which Weston Urban used to purchase the Milam building at 115 E. Travis St. and adjacent properties.

“It’s a puzzle,” he said. “I’ll tell you, it’s a landmark in Texas history. That’s it.”

Then there’s “Cabbage Ltd.”, which the company used to purchase the downtown Savoy building on Houston Street – a reference to the Savoy variety of cabbage.

“It’s just that a lot of what we do in our line of work is mundane and tasteless,” Smith said. “I have to look for these opportunities to be a little less mundane and a little less heavy.”

Using a property’s address for an entity’s name can help keep things simple and organized, said Ryan Reiffert, a local business attorney. Using a name that has nothing to do with ownership or involves “shell” companies can make it harder for someone to determine who a buyer is.

“I’ve helped a few people buy land at a price that’s still above market, but they would have been charged more if the seller had known who they were,” Reiffert said.

Other clients take a different approach.

“I’ve had some that were weird enough that they asked me two or three times, ‘Can I really call it that?'” said Reiffert, who invoked client confidentiality by refusing to divulge examples. specific.

Some make me hungry

As a real estate reporter, I comb through deed records for big deals and monitor where companies are buying land and homes.

The LLC and LP names are usually boring, but sometimes I stumble upon a star before my eyes glaze over. I was inspired by a 2010 article titled “The Weird World of LLC Names”, in which the New York Times highlighted several eye-catching companies, such as “the Worm In The Big Apple”, and the stories behind the nouns.

Some of the local businesses I encountered are food-related (Kale Fund LLC, Turkey Pot Pie LLC) or seem to reflect religious beliefs (Primarily Serving God LLC). There are song encores (SA Rocking in the Free World LP) and homages to the chemical elements (Fluorine 9 TX LLC).

Others are related to the nature of a business, such as Washed by the Water LLC, which is affiliated with two car wash stations. Some cut to the chase: Sell Me Dirt LLC and Need a Bigger Boat LP.

Others appear to be movie or literary references, such as Mithril Holdings LLC. Mithril is a precious metal from JRR Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” series.

Local philanthropist, residential real estate developer, and founder of Morgan’s Wonderland, Gordon Hartman, uses the names of Scooby-Doo characters for businesses he started to buy and sell property.

Its limited liability companies include Velma Development, Shaggy Development, Daphne Development, Fred Development, Scooby Investments and Scrappy Development.

The names come from his daughter Morgan’s love of Scooby-Doo.

“It’s all named after Morgan’s inspiration and enjoyment of watching Scooby-Doo and my many hundreds of hours watching Scooby-Doo with her,” Hartman said.

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Andrea G. Henderson