Our History

Overview
The Early Years
The Nineties
Through the 2000s
The Past Decade
Today's Growth

The history of Johnson Development Associates, Inc. (JDA), founded by George Dean Johnson, Jr. and now led by his son, George Dean "Geordy" Johnson, III, epitomizes the results of Principled Entrepreneurship in action.

With a rich history dating back to the 1980s, the company has evolved into a multi-division national real estate developer in the industrial, multifamily, and self-storage arenas, with offices in South Carolina, California, Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania, Washington, DC, and New Jersey.  

JDA is known for its perceptive business insight, extensive market knowledge, and skilled investment strategy, as seen illustrated below.

JDA is part of The Johnson Group, a family of diverse companies united in shared values and committed to extraordinary success.

1974

George D. Johnson, Jr. and his brother, Stewart, establish Johnson Waste.

1978

Waste Management, owned by Wayne Huizenga and Dean Buntrock, purchases Johnson Waste.

1985

Because of the relationship formed during the waste business's acquisition, when Huizenga buys Blockbuster Video, an 18-store chain, he contacts Johnson about franchising the concept in the Carolinas. This is the start of a lifelong business partnership and friendship.

During this same year, Johnson purchases Space Properties to create American Storage Mini-Storage.

1985
1986

Johnson forms Johnson Development Associates, Inc. (JDA) as a real estate development company initially focused on retail center development in Spartanburg County.

1986
1987

Johnson Development begins acquiring raw land in Spartanburg, South Carolina and developing land into retail strip centers, consisting of grocery stores, drug stores, and storefronts for local tenants

Simultaneously, the company starts to develop small metal industrial speculative facilities, each totaling 15,000 to 50,000 square feet, while also developing small to medium-sized office complexes.

1987
1992

Johnson Development assembles 153 parcels totaling 1,200 acres pro bono for Governor Carroll Campbell to provide the site for BMW’s North American manufacturing plant in Spartanburg County, a meaningful economic development opportunity for the community.

1992
1993

Johnson and his business partners become Blockbuster’s largest franchisee, having opened 208 video stores from Texas to Virginia in an 8-year period.

1993
1994

Blockbuster is sold to Viacom, and shortly thereafter, Johnson and Huizenga continue their partnership by forming Extended Stay America (ESA) to meet the needs of guests seeking long-term, high quality, affordable lodging.

Corry Oakes and Todd Turner, who started their careers on Johnson's team at Blockbuster, are hired as ESA's first employees.

1994
1995

With only two hotels developed, Extended Stay America goes public on the NYSE, a signal of the massive growth to come.

1996

Meanwhile, JDA begins developing multifamily communities on excess land adjoining retail strip centers in Spartanburg.

1996
1997

As Extended Stay America continues to grow, Johnson also founds Advance America Cash Advance, which will become the largest provider of payday cash advance services in the US.

1997
1998

The JDA team begins construction on its first concrete speculative industrial building, marking a shift to larger Class A industrial facilities.

1998
2003

JDA acquires land for Extended Stay America to build One Morgan Square in downtown Spartanburg to relocate the Extended Stay America headquarters from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. This building now serves as the headquarters for Johnson Development Associates, Inc.

2003
2004

After developing 475 hotels, Extended Stay America sells to The Blackstone Group.

The day after the sale of ESA, Johnson, Huizenga, Oakes, and Turner establish OTO Development to develop and manage select-service hotels with premier brands in top US markets.

2004
2006

JDA's Multifamily Division is formally established to begin development in South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, and Virginia.

2006
2007

JDA's Industrial team sells 30 industrial properties, totaling approximately 5 million square feet, and begins aggressively expanding its footprint beyond the Carolinas.

During this time, JDA sells the majority of its developed retail strip centers in Spartanburg but continues its investment in the City of Spartanburg with additional Class A office space.

This year, American Credit Acceptance, part of The Johnson Group, is founded to partner with national automotive dealers to provide financing to emerging credit consumers.

2007
2010

JDA’s Industrial Division is recognized as a preferred national Build-to-Suit developer.

2010
2011

JDA sells its legacy multifamily holdings of 3,212 units located throughout the Southeast, as the Multifamily team continues its growth up the Atlantic seaboard.

American Credit Acceptance centralizes its servicing model.

2011
2012

JDA expands its Multifamily Division's geographic footprint to the west coast and begins developing apartments in California.

Following the economic downturn, OTO Development shifts their strategy to target high barrier, gateway markets such as Manhattan, Santa Monica, and Washington, DC.

2012
2015

George Dean "Geordy" Johnson, III becomes CEO of Johnson Development Associates, Inc.

2015
2016

Seeing an opportunity in the storage industry, JDA sells its American Storage portfolio of 32 properties, totaling 1.1 million square feet in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, and begins rapidly rolling out new self-storage facilities with a bi-coastal strategy.

2016
2019

JDA's team refinances 27 self-storage assets across 8 states and the District of Columbia and four multifamily assets across multiple geographies and seeds a master credit facility with Fannie Mae for additional projects over the next 15 years.

2019
2020

The Self-Storage team opens its 60th self-storage facility since launching the division in 2016.

2020
2021

Today, Johnson Development, OTO Development, and American Credit Acceptance continue to experience remarkable growth.

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