All timeline stories.

The ’70s

  • In light of growing demand for condominiums in South Florida, Ben began designing and building 2400 condo units on the 300 acres of land he had retained in western Hollywood. He also built a 27-hole championship golf course known today as Hillcrest.
  • In 1971, the State of Florida took a third of the Hollywood Beach Hotel’s land to build a bridge over the intracoastal Waterway through eminent domain, the property was sold.
  • Believing that an exclusive resort could not properly operate in such proximity to a thoroughfare, the company followed Herbert’s admonition:  “knowing when to get out is as important as knowing when to get in.”

Other notable events that marked the 1970s:

    • Hillcrest continues with Phase II sales and development – Hollywood, FL
    • Quadrangle Office Complex across from the Biltmore Mall is built – Phoenix, AZ
    • Investments in real estate are made in Mexico and the Bahamas.
    • A portrait of Ben Tobin is completed by artist Antonio Sereix.


2000s to Present

  • Uncle Norty – McDonalds and Walgreens – Springfield, TN
  • JoJo’s – Marathon, FL
  • Oneco Shopping Center – Bradenton, FL
  • Championship Academy – Ben Tobin Campus
    800+ Student Charter School – Hollywood, FL
  • Conversion of K-Marts
  • Expanded 3rd party construction management
  • Expanded 3rd party brokerage and real estate
  • Increase in 3rd party management

Passing the Torch

  • In 1992, Herbert’s youngest son, Jason Tobin,  joined the company. Today, Jason is the President and COO of Tobin, Inc.
  • In 1996, Ben Tobin passed away.  Later that year, the City of Hollywood honored Ben Tobin by co-naming Hillcrest Drive, Ben Tobin Drive in recognition of his years of contribution improving the City of Hollywood.
  • Other notable transactions included:
    • Smyrna Shopping Center – Smyrna, TN
    • Mooreland Shopping Center – Springfield, TN
    • Thoroughbred Village – Building N – Cool Springs, TN
    • Green Hills Office Park & Shopping Center
      – Hillsboro, TN
    • Greenbriar Village – Nashville, TN

Continued Sales and Development

As Hillcrest continues with sales and development in Phase III, various other projects are also tackled, including:

  • Marketplace Design Center – Philadelphia, PA
  • Park Towne Place Premier Apartments – Philadelphia, PA
  • Eastwood Shopping Center – Cleveland, TX
  • Jackson Village Shopping Center – Hermitage, Nashville, TN
  • Whitfield Shopping Center – Dalton, GA
  • Kmart Plaza – Jesup, GA
  • Section 8 housing – Syracuse, NY and Chicopee, MA
  • Park Lane Ocean Resort Waikiki (in partnership with Unico) – Honolulu, HI
  • Ondine Charters – Hollywood, FL

Hollywood Beach Hotel Purchase

  • When Ben acquired the Hollywood Beach Hotel, the acquisition included 300 acres of land in western Hollywood, which he land banked for future development. His foresight paid off and in 1964, Ben designed and started Phase I of Hillcrest Development, a total of 2,400 condominium units, which was built over the next two decades. They also built the Hillcrest Country Club, a 27-hole championship golf course.
  • Together with George Jenkins, founder of Publix, and Joe Blanton, Executive Vice President of Publix, Ben built Publix-anchored shopping Centers
    • Projects initiated in the 1960s included:
      • Taft Hollywood Shopping Center – Hollywood, FL
      • Young Circle Shopping Center – Hollywood, FL
      • Dunedin Shopping Center – Dunedin, FL
      • Union Central Building – Cincinnati, OH
      • Brooklyn Paramount     Theater    and     Office    Building      – Brooklyn, NY
      • Taft Hotel – New York, NY
      • The Power and Light Building – Kansas City, MO
      • Roosevelt Field – Long Island, NY
      • Governor Morris Hotel – Morristown, NJ
      • Main Post Office – Trenton, NJ
      • Tobin Way – Sherman Oaks, CA

In 1962, Ben’s son, Herbert A. Tobin, joined the company. Under Herbert’s leadership as Chairman and CEO, Herbert benefited from Ben’s in-depth experience in real estate, hotel management, and the construction industry.

The Story Begins

The story begins when Ben Tobin started Tobin Management, the predecessor to Tobin. Although his initial focus was managing properties for others,  his heart’s aspiration was to buy his own real estate. He had big dreams and a big vision!

At the beginning of the Great Depression—a time when there were no interstates or highways!—Ben drove from Detroit to Baltimore to meet with an insurance company that held bonds on a great deal of real estate in Detroit. Acquiring the bonds, he worked the properties until they were cash flowing and substantially enhanced in value. The experience resulted in a treasure trove of learnings which Ben used to successfully expand his holdings. 

The Boom Years

  • In 1951, Ben, along with partners Alfred R. Glancy Jr. and Roger L. Stevens, purchased New York City’s Empire State Building from the John J. Raskob Estate, the building’s developer. The history-making transaction was the greatest recorded single real estate transaction, with financing for the $51 MM purchase price provided by Prudential Insurance.
  • Other purchases Ben made included:
    • Cleveland Terminal Building, Cleveland, OH
    • Warwick Hotel, New York, NY
    • Federal Department Stores (total of 4), New York, NY
  • Unico Properties – In 1953, along with his partners, Ben Tobin founded University Properties, today known as Unico Properties. Leasing the Metropolitan Tract from the University of Washington, they added numerous iconic buildings to the Seattle skyline. Today, Unico still manages the 10-acre Metropolitan Tract in Downtown Seattle from the University of Washington. In addition, owning and managing over 17 million square feet of Class A office buildings in 6 states. The Tobin Family represents the largest shareholder of Unico and Ben’s son, Herbert Tobin, is a Director. In 1950, Ben founded the Bank of Hollywood (Florida), which is now Bank of America.

Tobin’s History with The Grand Lady Begins

Relocating from Michigan to Florida in 1945, Ben purchased the ocean-front Hollywood Beach Hotel. He transformed it from a Naval barracks back into the grand hotel it had been before the war, further expanding the space to 800 rooms and employing over 1,000 people. The iconic resort won every award, including the then-coveted Holiday Magazine Award.

Additional purchases Ben made:
– Tobin Building – Detroit, MI
– Hollenden Hotel – Cleveland, OH
– The Hollywood Beach Hotel, Hollywood, FL
– Hollywood Country Club, Hollywood, FL