YAKIMA, Wash. — For nearly seven years, the big “W” signs marked the corporate downtown headquarters of Wilkinson Corp. in The Tower office building.

Now, the Yakima-based real estate company will exchange the view — and the big signs — for a building of its own at 212 N. Naches Ave. The company will move into the former First American Title Co. building after its lease at The Tower ends in June, said Russ Wilkinson, founder and chairman of Wilkinson Corp.

The company moved to The Tower in 2006 when it was running out of space in a building adjacent Wilkinson’s home.

Now that the real estate company is bouncing back from the economic downturn, it has outgrown the top floor at The Tower.

With nearly three times more space, Wilkinson Corp.’s new, 18,000-square-foot home gives the company plenty of room to grow, Wilkinson said. “For the long term, the intent was to own our own building,” Wilkinson said.

The company purchased the Naches Avenue site for nearly $1.8 million, according to the Yakima County Assessor’s Office.

With the Tower space completely remodeled, Wilkinson is confident that building owner JEM Development will find a new tenant. JEM Development did not return a call requesting comment.

Over two decades, Wilkinson Corp. has built its business on developing and managing senior housing and purchasing and managing multi-family properties. The company currently employs more than 900 people nationwide, many of them property managers.

There are 17 employees in the Yakima headquarters.

The new home will also house Wilkinson Baking LLC, the retail sales operation of Wilkinson Baking Co., the manufacturer of a bread machine that enables grocery stores to bake bread in-house. Wilkinson Baking is a separate company run by Russ Wilkinson and brother Jim Wilkinson, who is also president of Wilkinson Corp.

Another brother, Ron Wilkinson, runs Wilkinson Baking Co., the manufacturer, out of Walla Walla.

For Russ Wilkinson, the decision to buy in downtown Yakima shows the company’s commitment to the Yakima Valley. The company once considered moving to Portland or Seattle, but ultimately decided to keep the headquarters here.

“We’re not going anywhere,” he said. “This is home.”

• Mai Hoang can be reached at 509-759-7851 or maihoang@yakimaherald.com.