Company History

Company History


Milwaukeean Joseph J. Zilber having served in World War II and working for a small real estate firm, wanting to marry his college sweetheart and being denied a raise by his employer, decides to establish his own real estate brokerage office - Towne Realty.


To fill the need of returning GIs for housing throughout Wisconsin, Towne Realty expanded from a residential brokerage firm into a full-fledged real estate company that develops, designs, builds, and sells a wide range of homes starting at $9,995.


Towne Realty continues to grow and expand into ownership of commercial real estate by purchasing major office buildings in downtown Milwaukee. Mortgage servicing and financial services were added as well. To meet private and public housing needs, Towne Realty expands outside of Wisconsin into apartment buildings and student dormitories and successfully bids on major government construction projects. A public company was formed which would become one of the largest health care companies in America.


Towne Realty undertakes a major geographic expansion of its activities including the design and construction of a number of a large condominium projects on the Florida Space Coast and in the Phoenix Metroplex. To help meet the high demand for quality health care, Towne constructs nursing, subacute, assisted and senior living centers for itself and non-related clients.


Zilber Ltd. is formed as a holding company for Towne Realty and other Zilber family interests. The 1980's marked the expansion of Towne Realty's development activities into California and Hawaii. Projects included single-family residential, condominium communities, office buildings, and medical clinics. In response to the high demand for interval vacation ownership, Towne Realty created its first interval ownership resort in Cocoa Beach, Florida. These properties would later be marketed under the Resorts by Towne®* brand name.


Taking advantage of decades of experience, a strong financial base, and a deep management team, Towne Realty directed its focus on the planning, design, development, construction, and marketing of a full range of residential, commercial, and light industrial real estate products, as well as managing its own extensive real estate portfolio. By the end of the decade, Towne Realty, with its Homes by Towne®* brand name, conducts operations in Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Nevada, Texas, and Wisconsin.


Zilber Ltd., through its Zilber Property GroupSM (formerly Towne Investments) division, continues to expand and enhance its portfolio of office, warehouse, and light industrial products in Wisconsin and Northern Illinois. Resorts by Towne expands its footprint with two beachfront resorts in Cocoa Beach, Florida and brands one utilizing naming rights with Ron Jon. Housing operations expand with robust demand for waterfront condominiums in Florida along with single-family housing in Hawaii and Sacramento. With lower land prices as a result of the late 2000s economic slowdown, the company makes significant well-positioned land acquisitions for future growth.


Zilber Ltd. becomes majority owned by the Zilber Family Foundation, a not for profit focused on enhancing opportunity and quality of life for individuals in need. Zilber Property Group refocuses its expertise on the industrial sector and Homes by Towne and Towne Island Homes grows its portfolio of single-family homes for sale. In 2015, Zilber Ltd. launches a new brand, Zilber Residential Group, to focus on the demand for rental housing and began developing and building apartment communities in Wisconsin, Florida, and Arizona. Zilber Residential Group becomes an early adopter of the horizontal multi-family community structure which offer renters an alternative to traditional multi-family apartments.


Today in Wisconsin, Illinois, Florida, Texas, Arizona, California, and Hawaii, Zilber Ltd. continues to focus on its strategic, well-positioned industrial, multi-family, and housing businesses. Diversification is a key to our success. We create value as a fully integrated development company with far reaching management, entitlement, construction, leasing, and sales expertise. The Zilber Family Foundation continues to grow and is actively engaged in social and economic change with a focus on Milwaukee and Oahu, making sure families and neighborhoods have the resources and opportunities to prosper.

*Registered trademark of Homes by Towne, a Zilber Company LLC

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