Yuco Buildings

Raymond H. Yu - Third Generation Real Estate Developer

CPC Update Issue 7.3 Spring 2008

March 2008


Link to original article (2.2 MB PDF File)

Raymond Yu represents the third generation of a real estate dynasty that began with his grandfather in Hong Kong more than ninety years ago. Raymond's father, Bong, immigrated to the United States in the 1950s, bringing along his family's entrepreneurial spirit in real estate development.

Armed with both a Bachelor's and Master's degree in civil engineering from NYU, Bong started his own design firm, and by 1969 he was dabbling in real estate. By the early 1980's he was a fulltime developer. Bong's desire to work in and improve living conditions in distressed NYC communities prompted him to get his start in affordable housing. The renovation of abandoned buildings and construction of new housing on vacant lots brought a sense of pride and a stabilizing force at a time when many of these neighborhoods were neglected.

From childhood, Raymond wanted to follow his father into the family business. At eight years of age, he accompanied his father on building inspections and became fascinated by New York's vibrant neighborhoods. Under his father's tutelage he learned how to draft plans and became adept at the nuts and bolts of development and construction. When he was old enough he went to the Department of Buildings on his own and pulled permits, gaining priceless knowledge of the innermost workings of the City bureaucracy.

In 1990, Raymond graduated from Columbia University with degrees in Civil Engineering and Economics and went immediately into the family business.

By that time, the Yu family had already been partnering with CPC in conjunction with the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development. The family business, Yuco, was one of the first Asian-American owned firms to be chosen by the City of New York to construct affordable housing. The Yu's were an early participant and partner in the creation of hundreds of affordable housing units throughout the City. In the 1980s and early 1990's they partnered with CPC on almost all of their company's HPD projects.

The small company Bong had started in 1969 had diversified into four distinct companies: Yuco Real Estate Company, Inc., the development arm, Yuco Management, Inc., the property management arm, Yuco Construction Corp., the construction arm, and Bong Yu, P.C., the design arm. Yuco has contributed to the revitalization and renaissance of neighborhoods such as the Lower East Side, Clinton and Harlem in Manhattan and Sunset Park, Flatbush and East New York in Brooklyn.

Today, Yuco designs and builds affordable and marketrate apartment buildings, as well as office and retail properties. Under Raymond's leadership as president, the company maintains its expertise in building high quality, well-designed affordable housing.

"We have had an excellent working relationship with CPC for more than 20 years," Raymond says. "CPC has been a leader in and has a remarkable history of providing essential financing support for affordable housing projects. Their financing programs offer various options to make each project work. Everyone at CPC has a great background in affordable housing and they understand the process," he continued. "At times, it feels like I've grown up with CPC and HPD."

The Yu's recently completed an 18-unit affordable rental project at 150 West 111th Street, Manhattan, which was financed by CPC. Other projects in the works include an 81-unit, three building project, with a common courtyard, on Fifth Avenue between 115th and 116th Streets in Manhattan and 68 units on East 147th Street on the Mott Haven/Melrose border between Willis and Brook Avenues, with more development sites with HPD in the pipeline.