Panorama, as many know, is Marbella’s longest established Real Estate Agency, founded in 1970, with a reputation for providing a highly professional and quality service to its buyer and seller clients that stands along side those of the best agencies in the world.
What most people are unaware of is that Christopher Clover, Panorama’s owner and Managing Director, comes from a three generation-old family of real estate agents and entrepreneurs. The fourth generation of professionals, Christopher’s children, Alex and Katinka, have also recently joined Panorama.
B.B. Clover, Chris’s grandfather, was one of the first golf course developers in the United States
Christopher’s grandfather, Burtt Byron Clover, was one of the first 01_1905about-BBClovergolf course developers in the United States, and a developer of single family homes in Chicago. In 1904, after having worked for four years with W.A. Marigold and Company as manager of their real estate agency, he founded B.B. Clover and Company, a real estate and property development company headquartered on Evanston Avenue in Chicago.
B.B. Clover began developing real estate in and around Itasca, a suburb of Chicago, and opened a branch office there to help sell its developments. Clover made Itasca a very attractive place to own a home and enjoy a pleasant lifestyle on the outskirts of the city, which led to the small population explosion the city experienced in the 1920s and 1930s. One of B.B. Clover's first and main contributions to Itasca was the development of the city.
Clover to Itasca was the construction of a golf course and clubhouse on land originally owned by the first settler in the Itasca area. Today, Itasca Country Club remains one of the most luxurious residential landmarks in suburban Chicago.
Chris's father, Bill Clover, was one of the most prominent estate and farm brokers in this thriving and beautiful area of the East Coast of the United States.
When B.B. Clover retired in 1952, he founded Clover Realty Company in Charlottesville, Virginia, with his son, and Christopher's father, Williston (Bill) L. Clover, who carried on the family tradition as a Real Estate Agent and Developer for over 40 years. Charlottesville is a very beautiful city located in the centre of the Commonwealth of Virginia, about two hours drive south of Washington DC. Charlottesville, Chris' hometown, was also the birthplace of Thomas Jefferson (the third President of the United States) and is home to the University of Virginia (the most prestigious public university in the United States), where Chris graduated with honours in 1969.
As head of the Clover Realty Company, Bill Clover was one of the leading brokers of important estates and historic residences in this thriving and beautiful part of the United States. During years of hard work, and thanks to his excellent reputation, Bill sold many of the most exclusive properties and estates in this part of the East Coast of the United States. Bill Clover was also a pioneer in purebred Aberdeen Angus cattle breeding techniques, a nationally ranked tennis player, an accomplished architect, teacher and inventor, as well as a builder and developer, responsible for numerous developments in and around Charlottesville. Today, Bill Clover is retired and lives in Hilton Head, South Carolina. Although Clover Realty Company still exists in Virginia today, Bill had always wanted to take his business beyond the borders of the United States. So in 1968 he acquired a Washington DC-based company, Panorama International Ltd.
At the helm of Clover Realty Company, Bill Clover, Chris’s father, was one of the leading brokers of farms and Estates in this very wealthy and beautiful area of the United States. Over years of hard work, and thanks to his stellar reputation, he sold many of the outstanding properties and historical estates in this part of the United States’ eastern coast. Bill Clover was also a pioneer in breeding techniques of purebred and championship Aberdeen Angus cattle, an athlete once nationally ranked in tennis, an accomplished architect, a teacher and an inventor, as well as a builder and a property developer with several developments in and around Charlottesville to his credit. Bill Clover is retired today in Hilton Head, South Carolina. Clover Realty Company still exists in Virginia to this day, but Bill had always aspired for his business to reach beyond the borders of the United States. In 1968, he acquired a Washington DC-based company, Panorama International Ltd.
Panorama International was the first company to offer international properties and developments to investors in the United States. The company distinguished itself by selling second homes and retirement homes in Mexico, the Caribbean, France, Morocco, and most notably Spain. It established the first international real estate office in Marbella in 1970, which was originally intended to service clients sent to Marbella from the United States, and shortly thereafter, offices in Mexico City and Mallorca.
At that time Marbella was in the early stages of establishing itself as a quality resort destination. The company specialized in selling quality developments primarily to Americans, and succeeded far beyond expectations. Panorama International was the first real estate agency to ever organize inspection flights to the Costa del Sol. The buyers came in droves, inspired by Bill Clover’s professionalism, integrity and reputation, as well as Spain’s unique allure and its excellent comparative prices.
Christopher Clover graduated from St. Andrew’s School in Delaware in 1965, and received his degree in Economics with distinction from the University of Virginia in 1969, where he took part in a study abroad program with the University of Lyon in France in 1967 and 1968. He taught French at the Landon School in Bethesda, Maryland for two years, before joining his father and brother (Williston H. Clover) at Panorama International in Washington DC in 1971.
Armed with a strong linguistic background and after gaining extensive experience by marketing properties in the United States, Chris arrived in Spain in February 1973 for his 26th birthday. He took over Panorama International’s Marbella office, which at that time served to receive the clients sent to it from the United States. Shortly thereafter, Chris formed his own company under the same name with independent business ideas.
The company was expanded to include the marketing of prestige properties on the Costa del Sol to an international market. Over the years, Panorama has sold properties to clients from thirty-five different countries.
In 1975 Panorama International closed its Washington DC office due to a combination of a strong recession and new securities legislation that made it impossible to continue the business as it had been originally structured. Chris’s philosophy of focusing on a specific area and marketing properties in that area to an national and international audience encouraged Chris’s brother Bill to transform Panorama International’s Mexico office in much the same way as Chris had transformed the Marbella office.
Over time, Chris’s brother Bill took over the business in Mexico and transformed it into a world-class international resort consulting and finance company today known as Panorama International, Inc. Bill has personally performed consulting missions in over 65 countries, while his company has been active in several dozen more. Bill is currently living in San Antonio, Texas, where he presides over Panorama International, Inc. He is also an active and invaluable consultant to Chris’s own company.
From its base in Marbella, Panorama Properties has accomplished everything from finding and managing properties for Royalty to managing the acquisition of a building for an Embassy in Tokyo. Major deals have included selling large tracts of land on the Costa del Sol to prime office buildings in Madrid and London, but Panorama’s main activity has been the marketing of quality residential properties to a national and international clientele. Providing a high level of personal service, coupled with firm professional ethics and integrity, and competence in negotiation, Panorama has earned an outstanding and long-lasting reputation achieved by few agencies.
Panorama International, Ltd. was the first real estate agency ever to organize property inspection flights to the Costa del Sol.
Today, Panorama has two offices on Marbella’s prestigious “Golden Mile,” where the “quality image” of Marbella began with the establishment of the Marbella Club in the early 1950’s. A team comprised of twelve property consultants and ten support staff work from the two offices. Truly keeping up with their international clientele, combined staff members speak ten different languages. The company has grown so it also handles commercial and investment business, and quality property rentals. It is selectively expanding its residential marketing group.
Over more than 50 years in Marbella, Christopher Clover has been active not only as a leader in the Real Estate community but also in civic affairs. The biggest family reward however, is that both of Christopher’s children are active in the business – Alex, also a graduate of the University of Virginia, is a vital link managing and expanding new projects for the company, and Katinka, a graduate from the American University of Paris, has launched her career in property consulting and public relations under the family flag. The fourth generation of Clovers to maintain the family business is now a reality.
Christopher: “The guiding principles of Panorama are the family values of fair, honest and transparent dealing, accompanied by a lot of hard work, as taught by my father to me and by his father to him. Any success we might have had is thanks to following these principles carefully, and to our dedicated and talented staff, the invaluable support of our many friends, our ability to adapt to changing markets, and to learn from and collaborate with our competitors.”
*Very special thanks to Mrs. Joan Stinton of the Itasca Historical Society (Itasca, Illinois) for her invaluable help in providing material for this article.