George W. Rowley, Sr. hadn't initially planned to be a landlord. In 1935 he joined two men in a roofing/siding and remodeling business named Century Builders. When one of the partners died, George took over as construction boss, even though the only part of construction he knew was roofing. Fortunately, his crew was not aware of this and the first person to challenge his expertise was a roofer. As a result of this encounter, George Sr. quickly gained a reputation as a shrewd construction expert. Business boomed and between the years of 1947 and 1953, thousands of homes were built in White Center, Three Tree Point, Bellevue and Eastgate.
In 1953, a friend and fellow construction head asked George if he wanted to begin building in the Lake Hills area. George Sr. declined and instead headed five miles east to Issaquah. Everyone thought he was crazy. In the early 50s, Issaquah was a small town of dairy farms and considered by many to be too far from Seattle to be desirable. George Sr. was convinced that as Seattle grew, Issaquah would become a suburban city. In 1954 he bought 640 acres of undeveloped land on Squak Mountain. Between the years of 1956 and 1976, George Sr. and his wife Pat designed and constructed more than 300 homes on this land.
In 1954, George Sr. and Pat formed a company that later became Rowley Properties. George Sr. saw the need for commercial office space because none existed between Seattle and North Bend. In 1963, Rowley Properties built its first commercial building in Issaquah located on 12th Avenue. George Sr.'s vision began to materialize. Throughout the late 60s and 70s, Rowley Properties expanded development to include more commercial, manufacturing, office buildings, RV storage, mini-storage and apartments.
In 1988 at the age of 80, George Sr. passed away and George W. "Skip" Rowley, Jr. took over the leadership of Rowley Properties. Skip understood the challenge before him. He saw the importance of private and public partnerships working together and became an active member of the community, educating city officials on real estate and city planning matters. Skip quickly gained a highly respected reputation in the community and on the Eastside as a regional thinker, community and business leader, and contributor.
In 1992, the third generation of family leadership came aboard with Kari Rowley Magill. An Industrial Engineer by training, Kari proved to be a combination of her grandfather's forethought and tenacity and her father's dedication to community and relationship-building. She focused her initial years with Rowley on creating greater internal efficiencies, including installing a voicemail system and computer network. She became active in communities where Rowley was acquiring and developing property, such as Maple Valley, and continued Rowley's involvement in the Issaquah and Bellevue communities.
In the late 90s and early 00s, Rowley Properties remained progressive in meeting the needs of its community. Rowley sold part of its property on Cougar Mountain to Kelkari L.L.C., which built a resort-quality condominium community, Kelkari. In June 2000, Rowley Properties re-routed Tibbetts Creek to make Issaquah safe from winter flooding and allow for the first ever Tibbetts Creek run of hatchery salmon.
Today, Skip Rowley serves as Chairman of the Board and Kari Magill serves as Chief Executive Officer. Rowley Properties continues to engage with the communities in which it does business in order to serve present and anticipate future needs of those communities and their citizens. In April 2007, Rowley Properties completed development on Issaquah’s newest hotel, the Hilton Garden Inn® Seattle/Issaquah. The hotel features 179 guestrooms in four stories, approximately 3,500 square feet of meeting space including a Legacy Ballroom, complimentary high speed internet access, the Garden Sleep System™ incredibly comfortable adjustable beds, an indoor pool with whirlpool, a 24-hour business center, the Great American Grill Restaurant, and a fitness center, all perfect for the business or leisure traveler. Additionally, Rowley Properties is developing Hyla Crossing, a high-tech office campus of 620,000 square feet, which will allow local residents to live and work in their own community, easing traffic congestion and bringing added prosperity to Issaquah. Within this campus, the Hyla Office Building, offering Class-A office space and flexible floor plans opened October 2007 with anchor tenant John L. Scott occupying the entire third floor. We are pursuing LEED certification for this building, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. This certification is obtained by incorporating sustainable features into the building such as using recycled materials in construction, conserving water and energy, and utilizing low-emitting interior materials, such as paint and carpet.