How William Ow transformed a colossal chewing gum factory into a promising center for local business
One day, about nine years ago, William Ow stood at the entrance to the former Wrigley’s chewing gum factory on Santa Cruz’s Westside, waiting for his father, George Ow, Jr.
The younger Ow had a big idea that he needed to sell his dad on. He wanted the family real estate business, Ow Family Properties, to buy into a majority of the 385,000-square-foot property and convert it into a bustling, multi-tenant beehive for business. This was a daunting prospect even for the Ows, a prominent local family that, under George’s leadership, has achieved notable success in real estate, but one Ow was hell bent on making happen. He arranged for his father to scope out the building for the first time, and waited for him near the lobby with a small group of other brokers and building owners.