Kingwood resident inducted into Houston Apartment Association’s hall of fame
- Written by Annie Harmon
Larry Hill, 73-year-old CEO of Sumar Realty and Kingwood resident, was inducted into the Houston Apartment Association’s esteemed hall of fame Aug. 21. This prestigious award is not presented every year; it is reserved for when a candidate is deemed worthy enough for such an honor. Real estate wasn’t Hill’s first career choice. He went from naval officer to industrial engineer. The Houston House, which he purchased in 1983, has won an award of its own. Soon after he bought the property Hill realized nobody understood what the building was. “I would ask the taxi drivers what they thought it was. I heard condos, I heard apartments, I heard hotel. I heard everything. So we put a sign up on top that said Houston House Apartments,” said Hill. Sumar Realty has done much for Houston House since then; the last renovation alone was a $15 million rehab with his wife, Suzy, assisting in the interior design. Hill has been publicly recognized for his success in real estate, but he has also been successful as an employer. “I’ve always believed in hiring the people who have the talent and the skills and then not hovering over them – I let them go with it. Then they constantly come back with creative ideas,” he said. This philosophy seems to have worked well for Hill, creating loyal employees, some having worked for Hill for more than 30 years. Hill has also contributed time and money for various causes, including securing emergency housing for Hurricane Katrina evacuees. “When Katrina hit they moved a lot of the people from the Superdome in New Orleans to the Astrodome here. The people kept streaming in. Then I got a call from Mayor Bill White. Since I was president [of the HAA] we all got together and networked and tried to figure out a way to accommodate the people,” said Hill. 37,000 apartment units were provided and, 400 of those units were from Hill’s own properties. Recently, Hill has considered winding down his pace. “We’ve already bought into a winery – Duchman Family Winery in Driftwood, Texas. They make excellent Italian wines.” As a member of the Kingwood Country Club, Hill says he will find time for the occasional game. “When I was in third or fourth grade I started out as a caddy in Ohio. I started playing golf when I was 10 or 11, and in high school I was captain of my golf team. I can assure you my golf game has gone completely downhill from that level,” he said. Cutline: From left are: David Hargrove, Eileen Subinsky, Dick LaMarche, Stacy Hunt, Larry Hill, H.J. Tollett, Gary Blumberg, Pat Tollett, Ken Bohan and Mike Koch.