Sam Zell, an actual property titan and the founder and chairman of Chicago-based REIT Fairness Residential, died Thursday at age 81.
On the information of his passing, those that labored with Zell or for rival industrial actual property companies expressed their admiration for his trailblazing work.
“To me, the mark of nice leaders is that they encompass themselves not solely with sensible individuals, however they create an atmosphere for these sensible individuals to have the ability to thrive,” mentioned Doug Bibby, former president of the Nationwide Multifamily Housing Council. “And that’s what Sam Zell did.”
He earned respect from Chicago-area competitor Greg Mutz, who took his personal firm, AMLI Residential, public in 1994 earlier than it was privatized in 2005. Mutz, AMLI’s present chairman and CEO, referred to as Zell a visionary and a artistic dealmaker who constructed EQR right into a “premier, excellent” REIT.
“I’ve competed towards Sam Zell my total enterprise life and I can attest that’s no simple feat,” Mutz instructed Multifamily Dive. “Sam Zell is a tenacious competitor and has put extra factors on the board throughout his lifetime than anybody I do know in the actual property trade.”
David J. Neithercut, who served as EQR’s CEO from 2006 to 2018, will exchange Zell as chairman of the EQR board efficient instantly.
“Sam spent many years creating worth for the buyers in Fairness Residential and his many different enterprises. It was my nice privilege to work intently and be taught from him for greater than 35 years and my honor to succeed him as chairman of Fairness Residential,” Neithercut mentioned in a press launch saying Zell’s passing.
A large-ranging profession
Zell, who started investing in actual property within the Sixties, based Fairness Finance and Administration Co., the predecessor firm to EQR, whereas he was a scholar at The College of Michigan in 1969. Zell and fraternity brother Robert Lurie purchased properties from builders who have been saddled with excessive rates of interest within the Seventies.
He purchased extra properties after the Financial savings and Mortgage Disaster of the Nineteen Eighties, which solely added to his rising repute as “the grave dancer” who was capable of carry struggling properties again to life.
After Fairness Finance and Administration Co. turned Fairness Residential, Zell took the corporate public in August 1993. He constructed the corporate right into a $31 billion condominium proprietor, developer and operator and S&P 500 member. This yr, it was No. 6 on the Nationwide Multifamily Housing Council Prime 50 homeowners checklist with 79,322 models.
“The world has misplaced one in all its best buyers and entrepreneurs,” mentioned Mark J. Parrell, Fairness Residential’s president and CEO, in a press launch. “Sam’s insatiable mental curiosity and fervour for dealmaking created a number of the most dynamic corporations within the public actual property trade. He was a beneficiant philanthropist and an unbelievable mentor and good friend and will probably be missed by all who have been fortunate sufficient to be a part of his extraordinary world.”
Zell’s attain was wider than simply the multifamily trade. He spent three many years constructing his Chicago-based Fairness Workplace into the nation’s largest proprietor and supervisor of workplace buildings earlier than promoting it to Blackstone Actual Property Companions, an affiliate of The Blackstone Group, in a transaction valued at roughly $36 billion in 2006.
The EQR founder additionally invested and grew companies in a number of industries, together with manufacturing, retail, journey, healthcare, power and even media, the place he purchased newspaper large the Chicago-based Tribune Co. for $13 billion in 2007. A yr later, the media agency filed for chapter.
Zell was additionally an lively philanthropist with a concentrate on entrepreneurial schooling, establishing the Zell/Lurie Institute on the College of Michigan; the Zell Fellows Program for entrepreneurship at Northwestern College’s Kellogg Faculty of Administration; the Samuel Zell & Robert Lurie Actual Property Heart on the College of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Faculty and the Zell Entrepreneurship Program at Reichman College (previously IDC Herzliya), a personal increased schooling establishment in Israel.
Ric Campo, CEO of Houston-based REIT Camden, recalled their instances snowboarding and stress-free collectively. “I believe that what was most attention-grabbing about this man is just not solely his wonderful mind and curiosity in regards to the world, however he was additionally actually enjoyable,” he mentioned.
Mutz additionally famous Zell’s humorousness and affect on the Windy Metropolis’s actual property neighborhood. “It is a big loss for Chicago and your complete actual property neighborhood,” Mutz mentioned. “Sam Zell was a legend in his personal time…. Sam Zell will probably be terribly missed.”
Click on right here to enroll to obtain multifamily and condominium information like this text in your inbox each weekday.