This story appeared in the RBJ’s commemorative 30th Anniversary section. See more content related to the RBJ’s anniversary here.
Robert Morgan built his property management empire with the intention of operating primarily out of the limelight.
That has changed significantly this decade as Morgan Management LLC has become involved in an array of high-profile projects and transactions.
Morgan has become a well-known figure by partnering with Buckingham Properties LLC to redevelop the Midtown Tower downtown, and with Christa Development Corp. on co-ownership and redevelopment of the Strathallan hotel and the purchase of Hyatt Regency Hotel; as well as his involvement in the proposed development at Parcel 5. Those are just the tip of a wide array of projects he and his company are involved in.
Morgan, paralyzed from the waist down since being shot in 1991 while operating the cash register at his family’s seafood business on Plymouth Avenue, has grown Morgan Management into a multimillion-dollar real estate ownership conglomerate with residential and commercial properties in several states.
He founded Morgan Management in 1976, but Morgan chiefly dabbled in real estate for 15 years after establishing the company and buying a two-family house on Overdale Park near Monroe Avenue for $18,000. He flipped it a year later for $42,000.
He bought a few more two-family homes, then expanded with the purchase of small neighborhood shopping centers, the first of which was the North Park Plaza at Portland Avenue and Norton Street in the early 1980s. Then he cut franchise deals for a CVS Caremark Inc. pharmacy, a Convenient Market & Deli at Portland Avenue and Norton Street, and some Pizza Hut restaurants and Family Dollar stores.
Still, real estate was his second job. The seafood business was how he made his money.
The family sold that business 13 weeks after the shooting. Morgan had worked there for 18 years, starting as a 15-year-old.
Real estate would become his primary source of income. In 1992, he entered the mobile home park business after researching it and deciding there was a lack of competition.
The firm has more than 140 properties in 14 states, totaling over 30,000 apartment homes. Morgan Management employs more than 1,300 workers, including roughly 500 in the Rochester area.
He was inducted into the Rochester Business Hall of Fame in 2013.