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CARSON, CA-Chairman William T. Huston will retire from Watson Land Co. this month after 40 years during which he guided the transition from an agricultural and oil producing concern into one of the region’s largest real estate development and investment firms. The new chairman is scheduled to be selected from current board members at a board meeting this month.

Huston became president of Watson Land Co. in 1963, when the company owned vast undeveloped land holdings. The land company traces its roots to a Spanish Land Grant. Since embarking on a development program begun by Huston in the early 1960s, the firm has master planned more than 1,000 acres. It now owns and manages approximately 12 million sf of industrial, office and technology buildings and business centers, primarily in the South Bay area. The firm operates today as a private real estate investment trust.

Huston began the company’s transition in 1964, promoting the concept of a master-planned industrial park in a suburban setting, but located away from residential areas. During the 1960s the company developed four buildings, totaling 600,000 sf, for tenants that included Mercedes-Benz and Huck Manufacturing, both of whom are still tenants.

In addition to heading up Watson Land, Huston is known for contributing time to many organizations and community programs and encouraging employees to follow suit. Among his board memberships are the Southern California Economic and Job Development Council, Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. and the Community Air Quality Task Force.

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