The Clover brothers, Williston H. (Bill) and Christopher, have continued and brought into the 21st century a family tradition of involvement in the real estate industry that began more than 100 years ago. That tradition is set to continue for many years to come; Christopher’s children, Alex and Katinka, have joined their father’s business in Spain.
B. B. Clover
Bill and Christopher’s grandfather, Burtt Byron Clover, was one of the first golf course developers in the United States and a developer of single-family homes in the Chicago area. In 1904 — after having worked for four years with W.A. Marigold and Company as manager of their real estate agency — he founded B.B. Clover and Company, a real estate and property development company headquartered on Evanston Avenue in Chicago.
B.B. began developing homes in and around the village of Itasca, a Chicago suburb, and opened a branch office in Itasca to help promote his developments. He transformed Itasca into a highly desirable place to build a home and to enjoy a comfortable suburban lifestyle — helping to fuel a small population explosion that the town enjoyed during the 1920s and ’30s.
One of B.B.’s first and major contribution to Itasca was a golf course and a clubhouse that was built on the land that had originally been owned by the first settler in the area. Today, the Itasca Country Club still stands as one of the most attractive residential landmarks of the area.
*Very special thanks to Mrs. Joan Stinton of the Itasca (Illinois) Historical Society for her invaluable help in providing material for this article.
Williston L. (Bill) Clover
When B.B. retired in 1952, he opened Clover Realty Company in Charlottesville, Virginia, with his son, Williston L. (Bill) Clover Sr. Bill Sr. continued the family tradition as a real estate broker and property developer in the Charlottesville area for more than 40 years. At the helm of Clover Realty Company, Bill Clover Sr. was one of the leading brokers of farms and estates in this very wealthy and beautiful area of the United States. Over years of hard work and thanks to his stellar reputation, he sold many of the outstanding properties and historical estates in this part of the United States.
Bill Sr. was also a pioneer in breeding techniques of purebred and championship Aberdeen Angus cattle, an athlete once nationally ranked in tennis, an accomplished architect, a teacher and an inventor. Bill Sr.retired to Hilton Head, SC and passed away in 2012 .
Clover Realty Company still exists in Virginia today, but the Clover family had always aspired for its business to reach beyond the borders of the United States. To this end in 1968 the family acquired a Washington, D.C.-based company, Panorama International Ltd.
Panorama International was the first company to offer international properties and developments to investors in the United States. The company distinguished itself by selling second homes and retirement homes in Mexico, the Caribbean, France, Morocco, and most notably Spain. It established the first international real estate office in Marbella in 1970, which was originally intended to service clients sent to Marbella from the United States. Shortly thereafter offices were established in Mexico City and in Mallorca.
The Third Generation
Bill Sr. eventually sold Panorama International to his two sons, Williston H. and Christopher, who moved to Spain to assume management of the Spanish operations.
Williston H. (Bill) Clover
Bill Jr. expanded the company into residential brokerage in Washington, travel, hotel representation and property ownership, including a prestigious New York hotel. In the mid 1970s opportunities evolved to sell the Panorama conglomerate; and with Chris already in Europe, Bill moved operations to Mexico. There the company was given an opportunity to consult with FONATUR, the government agency that was just starting the development of Cancun and Ixtapa — the powerhouse developments that helped drive a booming future tourism economy in Mexico.
Panorama developed into the only organization of its type in Mexico, focusing on consulting, marketing, finance and development. During a seven-year period Panorama International owned hotels, started the first real estate agency in Cancun, bought and sold property, and built a company that worked in every resort area and most major cities within the country.
In the early 1980s, Bill and his wife, Jo, who helped in every step in building the business, moved back to the United States to San Antonio, Texas. During this period Bill continued the company’s international focus by developing properties in Texas for sale to international investors. Six properties were developed during a five-year span. At the same time Bill continued the company’s consulting, finance and development activities by focusing on expanding its services into Europe, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.
For over 40 years Chris has developed the Spanish arm of the company into one of the premier real estate companies on the Costa del Sol. Today Panorama has three offices along Marbella’s prestigious “Golden Mile,” where the “quality image” of Marbella began with the establishment of the Marbella Club in the early 1950s. Chris leads a team of sixteen property consultants and ten support staff, with staff members speaking a total of 10 languages to keep up with their international clientele. The company has grown so that it also handles commercial and investment business and quality property rentals. During his years in Spain Chris has been active not only as a leader in the real estate community but also in civic affairs, including membership in the Rotary Club of Marbella.
The biggest family reward, however, is that both of Christopher’s children are active in the business. Alex, a graduate of the University of Virginia, is a vital link managing and expanding new projects for the company; and Katinka, a graduate from the American University of Paris, has launched her career in property consulting and public relations under the family flag. The fourth generation of Clovers to maintain the family business is now a reality.