The founder of Robert Young and Associates will be turning over daily operation of the Tri-City development firm to his son, Grant Young, at the first of the year, the family announced Tuesday.
Since Robert Young founded the business in 1958, it's grown to include 1,500 apartment units, about 80 acres of commercial land and other Tri-City real estate holdings with its partners.
Robert Young will continue to monitor economic, cultural and political activities in the Tri-Cities, but thought it was time to relax and "let me do the worrying," said Grant Young. His father will turn 78 next week, he said.
Grant Young has been a partner and participant in many of the family company's business activities for the last decade. Although the family lives in the San Francisco area, members make frequent visits to the Tri-Cities.
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Robert and his wife, Jaqueline, have been well known for their philanthropy, supporting the Tri-Cities Water Follies, the air show, Tri-Cities Symphony, Women Helping Women and numerous other causes. Robert Young graduated from Whitman College in Walla Walla and in 2007 donated $100,000 to the college's David Stevens Internship Endowment.
Among the company's commercial properties in the Tri-Cities are lands near Tapteal Drive and Steptoe Street in south Richland and land in west Pasco.
Robert Young has stayed with the Tri-Cities through good times and bad, and Grant Young says the family expects to continue to do business here long into the future.
Robert Young grew up in Camas, but became interested in investing in the Tri-Cities when Dennis Davin, a fraternity brother from Whitman College, told him the federal government was selling land in Richland at a low price.
During college, Robert Young and a few other students were picked by economics professor David Stevens to complete an economic thesis about Richland, which was then a government-owned town.
Davin and Robert Young spent $11,500 to buy 60 acres from the government, subdivided the land, put in streets and started the first Northview Heights.
Robert Young continued to build homes and offices in the Tri-Cities, branching into apartment ownership to meet the need for housing scientists and engineers working at Hanford. Through the 1970s, he built 1,200 apartment units.
But then came the collapse of nuclear power plant construction at Hanford, when 10,000 Mid-Columbia residents lost their jobs.
Demand for apartments plummeted and Robert Young sold all but one of his complexes to avoid bankruptcy.
But he later began buying apartments back, confident the Tri-City economy would rebound.
Now, Robert Young and Associates pays more than $800,000 in property taxes on just its apartments in the Tri-Cities.
-- Annette Cary: 509-582-1533; firstname.lastname@example.org.