The rich heritage of Burton-Katzman began to take shape when Barnett Burton and his wife Fanny reached the shores of America from their homeland in Russia at the beginning of the 20th century. After settling in Detroit, Barnett worked as a foreman in the city’s developing automobile industry. Finding little room for advancing his entrepreneurial vision, he began building two-family flats above storefronts in 1912, which were leased to early retailing pioneers including F. W. Woolworth & Company. Through hard work and good fortune, the family business grew beyond Barnett’s greatest expectations.

Barnett Burton

Lester Burton

Sidney Katzman

Brothers-in-law Lester Burton and Sidney Katzman began working with Barnett as America and the real estate industry were slowly climbing out of the Great Depression. Once the GIs began returning from overseas at the end of World War II, Lester and Sidney capitalized on the housing boom by developing several of the most successful suburban subdivisions in the country. Their vision, talent and marketing savvy produced up to 2,000 new home sales annually for two decades. As the post-war boom started to wind down, the family began to pursue the development of investment properties that would build long-term wealth.

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