October 25, 2023 | Careers
Superlatives are plentiful for Davis Weaver. Colleagues consistently describe him as a rising star — a label validated by his recent inclusion in Hotel Management’s 2023 list of Thirty Under 30.
Weaver, 27, is the director of real estate at OTO Development, a company he joined fresh out of school in 2018.
The Raleigh, North Carolina, native developed a keen interest in commercial real estate while attending Washington & Lee University. A finance professor had encouraged him to join the school’s esteemed Real Estate Society, and he was instantly hooked.
A conversation with CEO Todd Turner — who at the time was OTO’s VP of real estate — convinced Weaver that this company would be “a really cool place” to begin his career.
“If you talk to Todd, he’s a real estate savant. You can mention any town in the country, and he can tell you two different restaurants you should try, and he knows who owns what and on what corner of the road,” Weaver says. “Hearing his passion about real estate and hotels really sold me. To be able to learn from the best in the industry was a real selling point.”
Weaver began as a real estate analyst and quickly leaned into OTO Development’s culture, earning several promotions and achieving impressive results.
“I was looking for the ability to grow quickly and gain responsibility — and OTO has delivered on that promise for sure,” Weaver says. “Sitting here five years in at 27 years old, I feel heard, whether it’s a minor decision or a $100 million hotel investment. Being able to have a voice in the room is something I appreciate very much.”
In 2020, Weaver’s voice provided the spark that ultimately secured a significant investment in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina — one of the Top 10 Beaches in America, per Travel + Leisure, and one of the most popular destinations in the Carolinas.
OTO had initially been outbid on the purchase of an old but ideally placed Holiday Inn on Wrightsville Beach. Then March 2020 came along, and the group that had the property under contract backed out of the deal. Where those investors saw uncertainty, Weaver saw potential.
As he watched momentum build for beach and leisure destinations, Weaver became more and more convinced that OTO should pursue a second chance on the Wrightsville Beach deal.
So he pitched his thoughts to the C suite.
“I was definitely a little bit nervous” — he was a 24-year-old real estate associate at the time — “but I believed in what I was pitching,” says Weaver. “I didn’t think this was going to work, I didn’t think it was a good deal — I knew it was good.”
The leadership team was convinced. OTO closed the deal in December 2020 and went on to transform the property into Lumina on Wrightsville Beach, a Holiday Inn Resort, which recently ranked No. 2 on Time Out’s list of the 10 Best Beach Resorts in the USA.
Early success makes Weaver more eager than ever to gain more experience.
“I’ve been able to do a lot in my first five years, and now my goal is to work on more complex deals and deepen my arsenal of tools,” he says. “I want to create value in the hospitality space. I really enjoy working in the hotel industry, especially on the investment side, and I see myself being here for a long time.”