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Equity Residential founder Sam Zell dies at 81

May 18, 2023 10:51 AM ETEquity Residential (EQR) StockBy: Max Gottlich, SA News Editor30 Comments
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Equity Residential (NYSE:EQR) said the founder and chairman of the multi-family residential REIT, Samuel Zell, died at the age of 81 on Thursday.

The legendary real estate investor founded the predecessor company to Equity Residential (EQR) while a student

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Comments (30)

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John Naccarelli profile picture
I had the privilege of seeing him speak to a small group in 2005 at Kellogg - Northwestern. He was absolutely brilliant and a pragmatic and down-to-earth businessman that achieved tremendous success, but you would never know it by his attitude. This presentation was done before the RE crash commenced and he had been selling properties in anticipation of it. This is definitely a loss in times when rational leadership and wisdom are needed in our country.
@John Naccarelli
Thanks for the nice tribute to Mr. Zell -- yes, we certainly use some rational leadership & wisdom especially these days here in the US and in NY.
As a long-term shareholder of EQR -- this is truly sad news.
Mr. Zell looked like the "picture of health" in this year's EQR proxy...What a shock to hear of his passing.
RIP Mr. Zell -- you will be truly missed...
julienperville profile picture
RIP Mr Grave Dancer. EQR/ELS shareholder.
I always was inspired from his point of view. We lost a giant which always stayed on the ground.
FFO includes depreciation on items that really do appreciate as well as items that do not. This is true even for REITs that provide a modified FFO. Does anyone know of a methodology for correcting for that (approximately)?
Listening to him talk was always educational, a Giant.
SnufferBottle profile picture
RIP Sam!

For those that haven't read his autobiography "Am I Being Too Subtle?" it is a classic.

He was still extremely sharp in recent interviews/podcasts, it's sad that we will no longer get to hear his wisdom. He was a very young 81.
Brad Thomas profile picture

Dedicating my new REITs For Dummies book to Mr. Zell
stocklicker profile picture
There are not that many truly smart investor. Sam Zell not only was smart but he had an abundance of common sense.
Doctor E profile picture
Non-GAAP Earnings profile picture
I'm just a random nobody so my opinion doesn't matter, but I wanted to say that the big contribution of Sam Zell to investing knowledge (at least imo) is the importance of looking at NIMBY as a barrier to entry & economic moat in real estate. A couple examples:

1. Give me an apartment building in a big city where you can charge high rents and the locals won't allow new apartments due to "the character of the neighborhood."
2. RV parks and mobil home communities, since they generate all sorts of NIMBY and no new ones are allowed to be built.

Before Zell, people just weren't looking at this. If you look at Zell's "Equity ____" companies, these are wide-moat properties.
mike ekim profile picture
RIP sam
bill h illify profile picture
A sad day. Mr Zell had a great perspective on things. I always will remember his hot mic moment on CNBC where he said a congressman, who was being interviewed on CNBC at the same time was full of it, of course worded slightly differently by Mr Zell. 😂. As usual, he was correct.
townandcountryliquor profile picture
Rest In Peace
Non-GAAP Earnings profile picture
Not even a mention of this on CNBC. Screw that channel.
21thomas99 profile picture
@Non-GAAP Earnings There have been multiple mentions of Sam's passing on CNBC
Non-GAAP Earnings profile picture
@21thomas99 Yeah, finally noticed it, so I'm glad they at least mentioned it. At the time I posted that, I rewound the DVR until the posting of this SA story and didn't see anything at all. I will say though that he's an important enough figure in the investing and real estate world that they should be talking about it more. Zell was not quite at the level of Buffett or Munger, but he was certainly one of the greats.
21thomas99 profile picture
@Non-GAAP Earnings Mr. Zell will always remain an important figure.
What a guy he was!!!
Thanks Mr Zell.
For those not aware, "Am I Being Too Subtle" is a great book.
Condolences to family and friends.
Alaskan Gold Miner profile picture
He was sharp and vigorous for all of his 81 years. A life well lived. Rest in peace, Sam.

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