In Memoriam – Marvy Finger: a Multifamily Giant

HOUSTON – (Realty News Report) – Marvy Alan Finger, a Houston apartment developer who led a downtown residential revival, has passed away. He was 86.

A native Houstonian who graduated from the University of Texas in 1957, Mr. Finger started his career working for a small homebuilder and evolved into a significant multifamily developer.

Mr. Finger, who was president and chief executive officer of The Finger Companies, built 93 multifamily developments with 30,000 units in eight states over his lengthy career.

He built his first project on Chimney Rock Road and he retained ownership of it for decades, practicing hands-on management and the frequent site-visits that were constant, detailed and legendary.

But it was his bold, but well-reasoned move to erect a 37-story residential tower in downtown that changed Houston. Mr. Finger began contemplating the downtown project in 2005 when he studied development in other cities and – although it had been years since downtown apartments had been built – he knew demand downtown in Houston would be strong enough to make the project a success. When the Discovery Green park was being planned, his firm acquired an adjacent block where One Park Place, a 350-unit tower opened in 2009. The downtown tower, which includes the Phoenicia international grocery market, leased briskly  from the start. To Mr. Finger’s surprise, many of the initial tenants did not own cars – a rarity in Houston.

Other multifamily developers followed Finger Companies into downtown and the population soon doubled, injecting much-needed activity into a central business district that had emptied daily when office workers left for the day.

Mr. Finger had a reputation for expecting excellence from his employees. But he was also loyal. In October 2021, the Finger Companies sold 20 garden-style and mid-rise projects for $2 billion to a venture led by the Greystar multifamily organization. Mindful of his long-time employees as the deal concluded, Mr. Finger required the Greystar venture to retain all of Finger’s on-site personnel, such as maintenance people.

His philanthropy endeavors through the Marvy Finger Family Foundation included a scholarship program that has sent hundreds of low-income Houston high school graduates on a full scholarship to technical college or to attain a degree.

Mr. Finger is survived by his wife, Elaine Willits Finger, and his children, grandchildren, and a great-grandson.

His daughter, Jill Jewett, and son, Edward Finger, will lead Finger Companies going forward.

“For more than 60 years, the Finger Companies has had an unwavering approach to developing and managing the highest quality multifamily projects,” said Jill Jewett. “My brother Edward and I have been working alongside our father as his business partners and officers of the company for many years, and I will continue leading the day-to-day operations in the wake of his passing. Edward and I, along with our executive management team, are committed to ensuring that business continues as usual, for the ongoing success of each property.”

Visitation will be Tuesday evening at Geo. H. Lewis & Sons, 1010 Bering Drive.

A memorial service will be held at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022 at Congregation Beth Israel on North Braeswood Boulevard with Senior Rabbi David A. Lyon officiating.

Oct. 25, 2022 Realty News Report Copyright 2022


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