On an idyllic New England mid-summer day in 1991, Russ Wilkinson was enjoying lunch with a friend and real estate broker in Dover, New Hampshire. Conversation turned to the local real estate market that had suffered heavy, negative economic impact. His friend shared the story of a hotel owner, a victim of the recession, who had to give his hotel back to the bank. This cascaded into the bank taking additional assets of his, one of which was a 125-unit apartment complex. Russ later met this man who shared how his apartment complex was valued in the late ‘80s at three times that at which the bank was selling it.
Russ had personally invested in real estate, flipping houses before it was a fad, and dabbling in rental properties, but this conversation and trip to New England inspired him to form his first commercial investment. He returned home to the Yakima Valley where he cobbled together a small group of friends and family pooling a few hundred thousand dollars, to launch Wilkinson Corporation. Together, they acquired WC’s first apartment home community in Dover, parlaying their initial investment into returns greater than three times the initial investment.
This kind of performance solidified in Russ an uncommon passion for real estate that has grown into a three-decades long career across a number of investment platforms culminating in greater than $2.5 billion in volume across several commercial real estate asset classes. To date, the Wilkinson Family of Companies has acquired more than 14,000 apartment units across more than one hundred properties in seven states, and owned and managed more than 50 senior living communities, once breaking into the top 20 owner/operators in the United States. The firm has also experimented in other areas of commercial real estate including office, industrial, luxury residences, and mountain resorts, though never straying far from the company’s roots in multifamily apartment homes.
Hard lessons were learned growing up on the family farm. Over the years and through business, perseverance and focus have been, perhaps, the most valuable. The Wilkinson Family of Companies has not been successful in every venture—COVID-19 recently wiped out a hotel development project in Minneapolis that our team had been working on so diligently—but overall we have had incredible success, time and time again, in the multifamily apartment home asset class, returning all investors’ capital every time and regularly delivering better than expected results.
Our vision for the future is to own and manage upwards of 25,000 apartment homes, continue to cultivate the best-of-the-best value-added and Core Plus apartment homes, and build new properties in the Pacific Northwest to add to our portfolio.
Entering our fourth decade, we reflect on the many friends, family members, business partners, vendors, contractors, and team members who have joined us over the years. Without you, none of this would have been possible. We are forever grateful for the trust you have placed in us and the opportunity you have afforded to us as we work to provide a private investing experience that is second to none, with results that consistently meet and beat expectations.