Sam and Philip Barshop founded La Quinta Inns & Suites. Credit: Courtesy / Barshop Family

A core principle that former San Antonio real estate giant Philip Barshop lived by was that class and innovation are often rewarded.

On Wednesday, the Real Estate Council of San Antonio (RECSA), an organization Barshop started in 1991, rewarded real estate attorney William Kaufman with the honor of being this year’s Philip Barshop Founder’s Award recipient.

The award has been given annually since 1999, a year after Barshop’s passing at age 61, to recognize excellence in leadership in the commercial real estate industry, which today has a $36 billion annual impact on the San Antonio economy.

Past winners of the award include George Peck, development division manager, Civil Engineering Consultants (2019); Cara Tackett, senior vice president, Pape-Dawson Engineers, (2018), and Bob Worth, founder of Worth & Associates (2017).

Kaufman is founder and president of Kaufman Killen, a law firm specializing in land use law, economic development, and government relations. He is legislative counsel to RECSA and a former assistant city attorney for the City of San Antonio.

Kaufman represents business associations, real estate developers, and property owners on City ordinance cases, including those involving water ordinances, historic preservation, landscape and noise ordinances, and billboard, tree, and traffic impact laws.

William Kaufman

“Bill Kaufman is an outstanding example of the meaning of the Philip Barshop award,” said Martha Mangum, executive director of RECSA. “To recognize those who carry on Phil’s legacy of leadership, hard work, community involvement, and advocacy for the real estate industry.”

Prior to presenting the award at Wednesday’s award luncheon, Barshop’s sons Jim and Ron, who attended the event with their mother, Elsa, and numerous other family members, spoke about their father’s roots in San Antonio and his contributions to the commercial real estate industry. The speech was accompanied by video of Philip Barshop talking about his life’s work.

“Many of you have never met our father who passed away 21 years ago,” Jim said. “So today you’ll meet our dad and the core principles that guided him, in his voice and through the eyes of some of his inner circle.”

The sons of a produce distributor and real estate investor, a young Philip Barshop and his brother Sam worked in the family business before they began building and leasing Ramada Inns on property the Barshops owned. Anticipating the need for hotel rooms during HemisFair ’68, the brothers built La Quinta Motor Inn which, by 1986, grew into a chain of 200 motels in 28 states.

In 1978, Barshop resigned from La Quinta and founded his real estate development firm Barshop Ventures that specialized in developing industrial business parks, including Alamo Downs Business park. He was involved in major developments locally, including the Brookhollow Atrium office building and the sale of land for North Star Mall.

In 1981, he started the San Antonio chapter of the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAOIP), which eventually became RECSA.

Believing it was important to keep his ear to the ground, an eye on the competition, and to stay well-informed, according to his sons, Barshop worked through NAOIP to bring developers from around the country to San Antonio to serve on project review teams and offer suggestions to enhance development.

Some of the aesthetic concepts born of that initiative – uniform deed restrictions, landscaped berms to soften the look of concrete parking lots, uniform signage standards, and inset gutters – were pioneered by Barshop Enterprises.

Barshop also believed mentoring others might be life’s most important work. “Dad’s sharp words forged solid values and work habits we all carry to this day,” Jim said of his father, who died of colon cancer in 1998. “Dad’s tombstone is four words: ‘He made a difference.’ He truly did.”

Shari Biediger has been covering business and development for the San Antonio Report since 2017. A graduate of St. Mary’s University, she has worked in the corporate and nonprofit worlds in San Antonio...