Real-estate mogul Sam Zell is dead at 81


Sam Zell, a legendary real estate investor, who made billions scooping up distressed commercial properties, has died at 81, according to reports.

A message from Equity Residential EQR, +0.05%, where he was a founder and chairman said that it was mourning the death of the prominent investor.

“Mr. Zell was an iconic figure in real estate and throughout the corporate world. An active investor in real estate since the 1960s,” EQR wrote.

Zell is credited with popularizing the real-estate investment trust and was known as sometimes as the “grave dancer” due to his appetite for buying distressed real estate for a profit.

The investor bought dozens of foreclosed office buildings in the 1990s at steep discounts and eventually sold most of them through his $39-billion Equity Office Properties deal in 2007, one of his more prominent deals, noted The Wall Street Journal in 2021 article.

He was the chairman of a number of real-estate companies. traded companies, including Equity Residential, Equity LifeStyle Properties ELS, -1.07%, Equity Commonwealth EQC, +0.05%, Covanta Holding, and Anixter International.

Equity Residential, owns almost 80,000 apartments, and Equity LifeStyle, described as one of the U.S.’s largest investors in manufactured homes.

Zell founded the predecessor company to Equity Residential while a student at the University of Michigan and it was taken took it public in 1993.

The real estate mogul started his career as a lawyer before moving into properties where be built net worth of $5.2 billion, according to Forbes.

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