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How did Youngwoo & Associates build their business from the ground up?

In 1979, first-generation Korean immigrant Young S. Woo arrived in New York City with just $300 in his name. Yet his rich dreams far surpassed his wealth. Woo believed that the real estate industry was due for an innovative transformation, and he was ready to lead it.

Driven by insatiable curiosity backed by raw talent, Woo navigated the diverse, open-minded New York real estate world and took it by storm. His vision attracted many investors and collaborators and over time, has led to worldwide recognition and a portfolio filled with spectacular projects.


Well-known in international real estate development

Woo is the founder and principal of Youngwoo & Associates. Woo is a Pratt Art alumnus, in addition to being a member of the New York University Schack Real Estate Advisory Board, and governor of the New York Real Estate Board. He continues to think big along with Margarette Lee, his long-time business partner, who is a senior consultant in corporate law and general practice, and a board member of the Queens Museum of Art. In fact, Woo and Lee have helped build several landmark properties.

One globally heralded project is the stunning Sky Garage. While most residential apartment buildings in large cities design garage spaces on subterranean levels or first floors, Youngwoo & Associates reimagined penthouses with adjacent private parking spaces, known as Sky Garage, that allows residents to store vehicles alongside their living spaces. This innovative Sky Garage concept gained lots of press and momentum, and high-profile apartment buyers.

Although Woo is the driving visionary force at Youngwoo & Associates, he recognizes the value and importance of teamwork that can turn ideas into reality. He explains how finding the best business banking solutions for his firm has allowed him the creative freedom to develop dynamic projects more efficiently and confidently, ranging from commercial properties and data centers to urban market showpieces and agribusiness contributions alike.


Banking solutions with a family mindset

As Woo’s company grew, Cathay Bank was an important piece. “Almost every project, they have been somewhat associated with (us),” Lee says. “Whether through lines of credit, letters of credit, mortgages — all those things they have been involved with.”

Woo and Lee continue to break barriers and inspire, but they depend on Cathay, to allow them to bring their concepts to life. “You are so comfortable working with people at Cathay, who really take good care of you, that you don’t want to deal with another bank,” Lee says. “We feel that there is something extra that they can give us, and we feel comfortable in the family atmosphere that they create for us.”

The world has changed dramatically since the late 1970s, when Woo first emerged on the New York real estate development scene. He has invested his original $300 wisely by pursuing his passion and leveraging the resources and knowledge of likeminded organizations such as Cathay Bank.

If you want to reach for the stars or realize your commercial finance goals, learn more about Cathay Bank’s lending options and unsurpassed customer service. Cathay Bank offers full-service banking to clients, including the personal touch that Woo values from a bank. 



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This testimonial was voluntarily provided by the customer, who was not paid or provided with free products or any other benefits in exchange for such.

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