Robie Properties is a family-owned commercial real estate company that was founded by Richard Robie Sr., a prominent Boston entrepreneur, philanthropist, and business leader. The company did not originally start out as a real estate company, however, and that is where the story truly begins.
Mr. Robie was a pioneer in the rent-a-car business, becoming one of the first people to rent cars in airports, as well as introducing the idea of being able to “Rent it Here, Leave it There.” Under Richard Robie Sr.’s leadership, the company grew into the largest Hertz licensee in the country, operating nearly 4,000 cars and trucks in forty-two communities in New England and upper New York State. He also became one of the largest owners of parking garages in the city of Boston as well. In 1954, he acquired Avis Corporation from Warren Avis, and in one year, expanded the Avis Rent-A-Car System three-fold to include more than 1000 agencies in principle cities throughout the United States and in eleven foreign countries. A few years later, Mr. Robie sold Avis and decided to concentrate on the real estate part of the business, selling the franchisees but keeping the land that they occupied, and slowly building the real estate portfolio. Mr. Robie continued as President until 1956, when be brought his son, Richard Robie Jr. into the company.
Scroll through the history of Robie Properties…
161 Prescott Street
East Boston, MA
Although Richard Robie Jr. had wanted to attend business school at the time, his father persuaded him to join the family business and expand his father’s successful commercial real estate business – Robie Properties, which he then led for over forty years. A gifted manager and loyal employer, he enjoyed working closely with those around him, with many of his employees spending decades with the company because of his strong leadership. Among his properties was the Castle in the Clouds, a popular tourist attraction in Moultonborough New Hampshire. He served a term as President of Boston Rotary and on the Board of Directors of the Suffolk Franklin Savings Bank. He was also a long-time member of the Board of Directors of The Hundred Club of Massachusetts, an organization Richard Robie Senior co-founded with Norman Knight in 1959 to care for the families of fallen policemen, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians.
Over The Next 30 Years
The company steadily grew, and in 1994 Doug Robie, Richard’s 2nd oldest son began working for the company. Having successfully received his Master’s Degree in Real Estate from USC, and then working for Whittier Partners in Boston, Doug focused on finding new properties to acquire, and developing the real estate portfolio into what it is today. In 1995 the company purchased 285 Mill Road in Chelmsford, and then acquired 9 & 11 Trafalgar Square in Nashua NH in 1996. In 2004, Doug was made President of the company, and continued the strong leadership that had existed since his Grandfather had started the company. In 2006, Brad Robie began working for the family business after having received his MBA at Northeastern in 2002, and then working for Beal and Company in Boston for several years. The company is currently headquartered in Danvers, Ma, and continues to own and manage its own real estate portfolio that spans the North Shore, Boston, and Southern New Hampshire.