The Daily Courier Logo
Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
8:41 AM Fri, Sept. 21st

Legacy of a landowner: Property profits earmarked for charity

If downtown Prescott was a Monopoly board, then Bill and Annette Williams' roll of the dice landed them most of the best squares.

Bill began acquiring his commercial property empire more than 40 years ago, overseeing them until his death in the 1980s.

When Annette died a day after her 91st birthday this past fall, she left behind an impressive collection of properties that might ultimately benefit the entire community.

"We can all be very thankful for Annette Williams' contributions to Prescott's historic preservation and other philanthropic gifts," said real estate agent Fred Lindquist.

He should know: Lindquist worked closely with Annette and Bill going back to the early 1980s.

As Lindquist remembers, Bill was a multi-sport athlete at the University of California Los Angeles. After graduation, Bill got a law degree and became a successful entrepreneur and real estate agent.

Bill and a friend of his who lived in Prescott began buying commercial properties in the mid-1960s, according to Lindquist.

Bill eventually bought out his partner and turned to Lindquist to get a tenant for his Union Street property in the early 1980s.

A few years later while in Lindquist's office, Bill began having chest pains. Bill went home to Grand Terrace, Calif., where he had bypass surgery, but died of pneumonia shortly thereafter.

What he left Annette were nine downtown properties that are home to some popular businesses, including Kendall's Famous Burgers & Ice Cream, Bill's Pizza, the Cortez Street Emporium, Ogg's Hogan, TCBY and Raskin's Jewelers.

The properties run from the Yavapai Republican Committee offices on Union Street to the intersection of Cortez Street from Lundquist's offices to the 'Tis gallery.

Annette owned the building across Gurley Street where the Ogg's Hogan store is, and the building along Gurley from the yogurt shop to the Prescott Plaza.

Jeff Ogg said he first met Annette about the lease for his space on Cortez Street in 1997. Ogg said he rarely saw her and she was pretty easy to work with. "She was a character," he said. "She was good to her word."

Lynn Raskin, who opened his family's jewelry store on Gurley Street in 1967, said Bill was flexible and "perfect" to work with, especially to get the retail space where he wanted it. "Bill did everything I asked him to," Raskin said.

Bill would visit about once a month, and Raskin said he never had a problem. "He was very fair," Raskin said. "If something went wrong in the building, he took care of it right away."

Lynn's son, Greg, said he never had a problem with Annette, and she never blocked any improvements to the building.

"She was pleasant," he said. "She wasn't as hands-on as Bill."

Their inquiries into buying the building went nowhere, and Greg believes that if Bill had lived awhile longer, then perhaps more business owners might own the spaces where they worked.

"But (Annette would) always turn us off, she wouldn't listen," Lynn said.

Kendall Jaspers, who has been running his hamburger business on Cortez for more than two decades, said he barely saw Annette, and he never worked with Bill.

"We managed to work together for 25 years, and that says something," Jaspers said.

County Assessor Pam Pearsall said the net assessed full cash value of Annette's nine downtown properties is $699,744.

Annette died suddenly in late October 2011 and those golden properties are sitting in a living trust for now that Lindquist and two lawyers run.

Lindquist said it's still a work in progress, and he hopes to take the money that comes from the rents and distribute it among charities, which have not yet been determined.