What was the most interestingof the century? The answer from some of the most successful real estate figures of the modern age was not a deal, but a man.
Sam Zell - "Zeckendorf. How he operated, how he bought office, created ground leases and separated the real estate interests..Zeckendorf."
Gerald Hines - "I was always captivated by Zeckendorf's developments in Montreal. He was a daring developer."
Melvin Simon - "...the most interesting shopping center deals were done by William Zeckendorf, Sr. His development of Roosevelt Field and a major development in Montreal established a pattern for retailing that has lasted to this day."
Jim Peters - vice chairman of Cushman Wakefield - "William B. Zeckendorf. Assembled the land for the UN. He was the greatest."
William B. Zeckendorf, Sr. had all of the traits of a real estate grand master.
In 1954, Fortune magazine described him as "...a gifted man. He has a mind of unusual caliber in intuition, rough calculating ability, and resourcefulness; and an imagination that can take fire without appreciable loss of discipline."
Zeckendorf first exhibited his acumen with the World War II-era management of John Jacob Astor's $50 million portfolio. After just four years, he had richened the portfolio by $15 million. This was just a taste of what was to come. The list of creative, gutsy and insightful deals is long: buying and operating the Graybar and Chrysler buildings in New York, developing the Roosevelt Field mall in Long Island, Century City in Los Angeles and thousands of luxury and middle-income apartments in New York, Washington, D.C., and Chicago.
The deal Zeckendorf wanted to be remembered for (and most writers and fans oblige him of this) is the acquisition of slaughterhouse property along the East River that eventually became the site for the United Nations. Securing the land alone was an achievement, never mind the millions he made developing the surrounding lots. Reading the story, one feels that the owners of the land hand-picked Zeckendorf for the deal, that he was the only person who could do a deal where everyone won.
The land was considered unattainable by most of the New York real estate community. Many had tried to wrangle the choice land away from the owners to no avail. The slaughterhouse owners wanted to stay in Manhattan and knew zoning would prohibit relocation inside the city. But as the saying goes, every man has his price. In this case the price was $17 per square foot, some $12 more than adjacent parcels.
"I know it's a ridiculous price," said the broker for the deal, "but that is what they want."
After some thought and discussion with his partners the deal was struck at the asking price. Zeckendorf's approach to the "ridiculous" price is telling. "Here is the greatest opportunity I have ever seen in my life...whether the properties around it are selling for $5 per foot, $1 per foot, or half a dollar per foot around this area...has nothing to do with it. If you can think in pro forma terms of X, the slaughterhouses, there is no excuse for the $5 land, and there is no excuse for the $17 land. The whole thing is worth $50. By eliminating the abomination you can pull the whole thing up by its own bootstraps."
The acquisition of the slaughterhouse land was an example of the simple, fundamental truths that are many times uncovered only by rare minds. Zeckendorf's aspirations matched his huge talent. A few ambitious undertakings never got off the ground and there was a mediocre foray to the suburbs later in his life, but no one seems tomention those deals.
WHERE THE MONEY IS Ok, many people argue that the architects have it easy, but the real challenge is paying for all of those grand visions. That's why the money end is so essential to success.
Claude M. Ballard Limited Partner and Senior
Goldman, Sachs & Co.
Achievements: Ballard joined Goldman Sachs in 1981 as a general partner. In November 1988, he became a limited partner and senior consultant. Prior to joining Goldman Sachs, Ballard served as senior vice president in Prudential's real estate investment department and as a director of several of the insurance company's subsidiaries.
Herbert Collins Chairman
Achievements: Mr. Bow-tie has done more for financing low-income multifamily through tax credits than probably anyone.
Michael Fascitelli President
Vornado Realty Trust
Saddle Brook, N.J.
Achievements: Fascitelli made Goldman Sachs' real estate operation in the mid-1990s. Vornado's Steve Roth snagged him away with a hefty pay package to run this big diversified REIT.
Patricia Goldstein Managing Director
Citicorp Real Estate
Achievements: Pat is well known for her real estate financing acumen, and has become one of the Street's most knowledgeable execs on matters pertaining to the Far East.
Richard Gunthel Managing Director
Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown
Achievements: If longevity is any gauge (and it is on Wall Street), then Gunthel's 16-year tenure at the former Bankers Trust makes for one of the Street's longest-running success stories. With the recent Deutsche Bank merger, look for more here.
Ben Lambert Chairman
Achievements: Helped to build one of the most respected brokers of Manhattan real estate.
William Lewis Managing Director
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter
Achievements: Lewis' real estate division is clean and tidy. The shop employees some of the best-known talents and Lewis has led the firm's consistent ranking at the top of the 1990s mergers and acquisitions league tables.
Bowen H. "Buzz" McCoy Strategic Consultant,
Morgan Stanley Real Estate Services
Achievements: He worked for Morgan Stanley for 27 years, 13 of those in charge of its real estate capital markets activities. He is president of the Urban Land Foundation and a leader with Real Estate Counselors.
Raymond Mikulich Managing Director
Achievements: Tenure at Lehman has been productive. Mikulich is active in Urban Land Institute and Capital Consortium.
Richard Mosse President
APC Realty Advisors
Achievements: A low-key, under-the-radar person who is credited with aligning billions of dollars with investors over the years.
than Penner President
Achievements: Nomura's Showcase conferences were serious Good Times. This sometimes rock 'n roll crooner had great taste in hiring musical entertainment (Allman Brothers, Rod Stewart, Don Henley, etc.) to schmooze Nomura's clientele, but he ultimately overextended the firm's lending activities in the late-1990s. He is largely credited with kick-starting lending in 1994 when others were on the sidelines. He now runs his own shop in San Francisco.
Richard Saltzman Managing Director
Achievements: Strong and steady through the years, Saltzman continues to make Mother Merrill one of The Street's top-notch real estate shops.
Jon Zehner Managing Director
Achievements: A recent transplant to London, Zehner is concentrating on growing Morgan's European/global operations from its London base. He's got the experience to get it done.
THE SERVICE-FIRM ELITE Many would argue that true value comes only after a building breaks out of the ground and people occupy it, whether it is an office building, a hotel, an industrial warehouse, or an apartment community. What then? Sometimes you manage, sometimes you buy, sometimes you exit. That is where these people have made their living.
Stephen F. Bollenbach President, CEO
Hilton Hotels Corp.
Beverly Hills, Calif.
Achievements: From 1990 to 1992, he served as CEO of The Trump Organization. Later, he played key role in restructuring Marriott Corp. into Marriott International and Host Marriott, where he served as president and CEO. As CFO of The Walt Disney Co., the SoCal native played an instrumental role in the $19 billion acquisition of ABC/Capital Cities. Now he's just snatched Promus Hotel Corp. in a $4 billion merger deal.
John C. Cushman III President and CEO
Cushman Realty Corp.
Achievements: Cushman worked on the largest transaction in the world, a 4 million sq. ft. lease by Merrill Lynch in the World Financial Center that took 17 months to negotiate. In 1978, he and his fraternal twin brother Louis B. Cushman founded Cushman Realty Corp. Today, the California-based company has 10 offices; its 1998 transaction value totaled $7 billion.
Walter D'Alessio Chairman
Legg Mason Real Estate Services
Achievements: In addition to his day job, D'Alessio is involved in Philly in a big way, as EVP of the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp., as executive director of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority and as a board member of numerous companies and organizations.
James J. Didion Chairman
CB Richard Ellis
Achievements: He started his career with CB Richard Ellis 37 years ago and was elected to chairman and CEO in 1987. Earlier this year, he passed his CEO mantle on to Ray Wirta.
Tony Downs Senior Fellow
The Brookings Institute
Achievements: This grand old sage of real estate wisdom has stamped his mark on this think tank, and continues to consult as an active member of ULI.
Harold A. "Hal" Ellis Co-founder, Grubb & Ellis
Founder, Ellis Partners Inc.
Achievements: He co-founded Grubb & Ellis in 1958. In late-1970s and early-1980s moved firm down national growth path. In 1993, he formed Ellis Partners, which has completed the acquisition or development of more than $600 million of real estate assets.
Andrew L. Farkas Chairman and CEO
Insignia Financial Group Inc.
Achievements: Once a king of syndication, he now heads the Insignia Financial Group in New York, which owns national brokerage firm Insignia/ESG and the U.K. operations of Richard Ellis.
Gerald C. Finn Chairman, CEO and Founder
New America International
Achievements: As a developer he achieved national recognition as the forerunner in the Planned Unit Development. Finn became one of New Jersey's top "scattered lot" home builders in the 1960s while also establishing a commercial construction company that built retail, industrial and multifamily structures. In the late-1970s, he developed the concept of New America Network, a corporate services system that pioneered the idea of offering clients a single source of contact for multiple real estate assignments.
The late Daniel Galbreath Chairman
The Galbreath Co.
Achievements: His father, John, founded the firm in 1921. In 1994, the full-service firm won Mead Corp.'s 13.5 million sq. ft. portfolio in 46 states. Dan died in 1995 and is succeeded by daughter Lizanne Galbreath.
Edward S. Gordon Office of the Chairman
Achievements: His initials, ESG, have long been linked to New York brokerage. Remains an institution three years after acquisition by Insignia Financial Group.
The late Conrad N. Hilton Founder
Beverly Hills, Calif.
Achievements: Like the Marriotts, when your name is on the door... Starting with a small hotel in Texas, he bought the Plaza in New York in 1942 and the rest is history.
Leanne Lachman Managing Director
Achievements: Lachman's research roots run deep. For 26 years, she was with Chicago-based Real Estate Research Corp., serving the final eight years as president and CEO. She joined Schroder Real Estate Associates in 1987 and just last year the firm was acquired by Boston Financial.
James D. Landauer Chairman
Achievements: Created one of the most respected valuation and consulting firms in the industry. New owner Grubb & Ellis just purchased it from parent AEGON.
Michael Leven President & CEO
US Franchise Systems
Achievements: Too funny for words, Leven ran Holiday Inn for many years then branched out on his own in the mid-'90s to form USFS.
George Marcus Chairman
Marcus & Millichap
Palo Alto, Calif.
Achievements: A man of many talents, Marcus has his hand in heading this major brokerage firm, as well as Essex Property Trust.
J.W. "Bill" Marriott Jr. Chairman of the Board, CEO
Achievements: Another under-achiever, Marriott, along with Hilton, has created the most known and respected hotel brands around. The firm's famous attention to standards equals a consistent product.
Henry S. Miller Jr. Former Chairman and CEO
Henry S. Miller Cos.
Achievements: In 1938, Henry S. Miller Jr. left the life insurance business to join the the company his father founded in 1914. During the next 45 years, he came to lead one of the preeminent real estate services companies in the country, the Henry S. Miller Co. Miller stayed active in the firm until about 15 years ago. Now he controls his family properties, which includes the oldest shopping center with off-street parking.
Bill Millichap President
Marcus & Millichap
Palo Alto, Calif.
Achievements: Together with George Marcus (see left), Bill has been on the leading edge of technology for the brokerage industry for years now. His holiday cards are an annual must-see.
Arthur J. Mirante II President and CEO
Cushman & Wakefield
Achievements: Now in his 10th year of running one of the world's best-known full-service firms. Has resisted IPO challenge, so far. A lawyer by training, Arthur Mirante joined Cushman & Wakefield in 1971. Thirteen years later, he had ascended to the president and CEO's office.
Stan Ross E&Y Kenneth Leventhal RE Group
Achievements: A well-known industry sage, he's seen his fair share of interesting events over 20+ years in the business. Now semi-retiring, handing reins to Dale Ann Reiss in New York.
Randy Rowe President & CEO
Achievements: In the mid- to late-1980s, Randy was a vice president at Goldman, Sachs, directing its Midwest real estate investment banking services. From 1989 through 1996, he was president and CEO of Equity Assets Management, co-chairman and CEO of Manufactured Home Communities and chairman and CEO of Equity
Office Properties Trust.
The late Arthur Rubloff Founder
Rubloff Development Corp.
Achievements: Created a Chicago-based brokerage firm from scratch. The company merged with Koll in the 1980s, then became part of CB Richard Ellis in the 1990s.
William Sanders Chairman
Security Capital Group
Achievements: This publicity shy out-Wester has created some sterling public companies in the apartment (Archstone Communities) and industrial (ProLogis) sectors.
Stuart Scott Chairman & CEO
Jones Lang LaSalle
Achievements: Scott is patching together a global services firm thanks to this year's acquisition of London-based Jones Lang Wootton. The jury is still out on the viability of such an endeavor, but despite recent losses, look for more action on this front.
Henry Silverman Chairman
Achievements: Despite last year's accounting turmoils, Silverman's vision of a full-service consumer-services company with hotels, car rentals, travel agency, etc. just might pay off big time over the long term.
Arthur I. Sonnenblick Managing Director
Former president & CEO
Achievements: Joined father's company in 1959, served as president and COO from 1978-1987 and vice ahcirman and CEO from 1987-1995. One notable deal - getting Prudential to commit to Times Square.
Roger Staubach Chairman
The Staubach Company
Achievements: From gridiron to boardroom, Staubach is among the most successful athlete-to-business stories. His tenant rep business keeps growing and growing.
Barry S. Sternlicht Chairman and CEO
Starwood Hotels and Resorts
New York, NY
Achievements: This youngster had the audacity to create the top hotel conglomerate, Starwood, through some serious financial engineering and Harvard Business School smarts while still in his 30s.
Julien J. Studley Founder and Chairman
Julien J. Studley Inc.
Achievements: Often called "the father of tenant rep," Studley founded his firm in 1954. His example was "Big Bill" Zeckendorf. He recently embarked on a national expansion.
Kemmons Wilson Founder
Achievements: Charles Kemmons Wilson is considered "The Father of the Modern Innkeeping Industry," and for good reason. The Osceola, Ark., native founded the Holiday Inn chain. In the summer of 1951, Kemmons packed his wife, Dorothy, three sons and two daughters into the family car and set off for Washington, D.C. Finding disappointing accommodations on the road, he vowed to build a chain of motels. He did.
DEVELOPERS TO THE CORE Next to architects, only developers can take a piece of raw land and see something more. That is why the two work so well together. And, of course, there is always that ego thing, which sometimes gets a bit in the way. They fly high and sometimes they fall hard. But either way, these folks have built and shaped our communities today and for many generations to come.
William Alter Chairman & CEO
The Alter Group
Achievements: Well-respected in the Chicagoland area, Alter has expanded the company's geographic scope and continues to be a major developer in Chicago's suburbs.
Donald Bren Chairman
The Irvine Companies
Achievements: This man practically owns Orange County, Calif. Quiet and publicity shy, he took his Irvine Apartment Communities private last year.
Martin Bucksbaum Co-Founder
General Growth Properties
Achievements: With now-deceased brother Mathew grew GGP into one of the country's top owners and managers of shopping centers and regional malls.
Morris Cafritz The Cafritz Co.
Achievements: From the 1920s through the 1960s, Cafritz was D.C.'s top developer of apartments, and built many of downtown K Street's office buildings.
Oliver T. Carr Jr. Chairman
CarrAmerica Realty Corp.
Achievements: Built much of downtown D.C. His son Tom now runs CarrAmerica, a public REIT.
William E. Colson President
Holiday Retirement Corp.,
Colson & Colson Construction Co.
Achievements: A genuinely "nice guy," Colson has done more for the seniors housing industry than anyone. Period.
Thomas C. Cousins Chairman and CEO
Cousins Properties Inc.
Achievements: He took Cousins public in the 1970s before REITs were cool and he's stuck with it. Builds top-quality projects and is a Southeast icon. He is now expanding westward to California.
Trammell Crow Founder, Chairman Emeritus
Trammell Crow Co.
Achievements: Certainly an unforgettable name in the industry. A true icon who's seen it all, at least five or six times. He founded the company in 1948, building industrial warehouses in Dallas.
The late Edward DeBartolo Founder
DeBartolo Realty Group
Achievements: His huge shopping center empire was second only to Simon's. The two merged in 1996.
Seymour Durst and family The Durst Organization
Achievements: Low-profile, quiet developer of Manhattan offices and land assembler. His son Douglas waited out the Times Square renewal and just opened first major tower in New York this decade at 4 Times Square. Look for more to come.
Henry Faison Chairman
Achievements: After 36 years in the business, Faison built a top services firm in the Southeast, then reaped the rewards in its sale to Trammell Crow in 1998.
The Golub family Chicago
Achievements: Well-known Chicago real estate clan. Big-time international developers in Eastern Europe.
The late Ernest W. Hahn Major shopping center developer
Achievements: Though his company was based in California, by 1976 Ernest Hahn's retail empire stretched to Virginia and New Jersey. Hahn died in December 1992, but his name lives on in the Canadian giant TrizecHahn Corp.
The late Harry Helmsley Helmsley Enterprises
Achievements: Despite the Leonna distractions, Harry was a gentleman and a gem in the often chaotic world of New York real estate. When he died of pneumonia in early 1997, Forbes magazine ranked him as the 67th richest person in America, with a worth of more than $1.7 billion. He came a long way from a 16-year-old who made $12 a week as an office boy. Helmsley's real estate empire stretched from his hometown to Los Angeles and San Francisco, where he controlled more than two dozen hotels and 50,000 apartments. In 1961, Helmsley bought the Empire State Building for $65 million.
Gerald D. Hines Chairman and Founder
Achievements: Brought name-brandto commercial real estate. Resisted urge to go public, has amassed incredible portfolio and just keeps going and going and...
Benjamin D. Holloway Former Executive Vice President,
Head of real estate group, 1979-1989
Equitable Life Assurance Society
Achievements: In the early-1970s, Holloway led the movement of insurance companies from mortgage lenders to real estate investors. In 1984, Holloway convinced Equitable to form a real estate investment advisory subsidiary, Equitable Real Estate Investment Management Inc., which became the No. 1 pension fund manager by the late-1980s. Holloway retired from Equitable in 1990.
Donald Koll Chairman
Koll Development Co.
Newport Beach, Calif.
Achievements: Founded as a construction firm in 1962, Koll grew the enterprise into a development company that has completed more than 60 million sq. ft. of office, industrial and retail space worldwide.
Samuel Lefrak Chairman
The Lefrak Organization
Jersey City, N.J.
Achievements: Founded firm in 1905, creating Lefrak City on New York's Long Island. Lefrak is still the largest residential landlord in New York, but his commercial holdings have also gained prominence.
Robert J. Lowe Chairman
Achievements: Lowe was the principal founder of his own 27-year-old company. Today it is highly diversified, with subsidiaries including Destination Hotels & Resorts.
Robert F. Maguire III Managing Partner
Achievements: His 33-year-old company, then known as Maguire-Thomas Partners, built two of the tallest towers west of the Mississippi in downtown Los Angeles. More recently, he launched the saga of L.A.'s Playa Vista project.
J.C. Nichols Residential, shopping center planner
Achievements: We have Nichols to thank for the famed Country Club Plaza in downtown Kansas City.
Norman Perlmutter Chairman and CEO
Heitman Financial Ltd.
Achievements: In 1966, Perlmutter purchased Heitman Mortgage Co. and transformed it into a leading mulifaceted global asset manager based in Chicago. He helped to bring penion funds to commercial real estate.
Mack Pogue Chairman and CEO
Lincoln Property Co.
Achievements: Founded Lincoln Property Co. in 1965 and has since developed more than $13 billion in commercial and residential real estate in more than 230 cities. Lincoln is still a privately held firm.
John C. Portman Jr. Chairman and CEO
The Portman Cos.
Achievements: Practically pioneered the architect/developer career path. He opened his own two-man architectural firm in 1953. Developed Peachtree Center, but gave it back during 1990s recession. Diversified into Asia/China work. He's back.
Michael Prentiss Chairman & CEO
Prentiss Properties Trust
Achievements: Managed to survive 1980s shakeout at Cadillac Fairview, built a portfolio of high-rise office towers, now runs a top office REIT.
The Pritzker family Chicago
Achievements: One of Chicago's most respected families. Business travelers have this clan to thank for the Hyatt Hotels chain. Also a noted apartment and seniors housing developer.
John J. Raskob Builder
Empire State Building
Achievements: He built the world's tallest building in the height of the Depression. In just two years. Need we say more?
The Ratner family Forest City Enterprises
Achievements: Respected family runs top-notch retail and office firm.
Gerald A. Rauenhorst Chairman & CEO, Opus National;
Chairman, Opus U.S. Corp.; former Chairman & CEO, Opus Corp.
Achievements: Rauenhorst started as a construction engineer in Oshkosh, Wis., and Minneapolis before starting Rauenhorst Construction Co. in 1953. It grew into Rauenhorst Corp., and in 1982 changed its name to Opus Corp., a leading design, construction and development firm.
Paul Reichmann Former head
Olympia & York
Achievements: Paul Reichmann is most remembered for his role in the demise of the massive Olympia & York Developments Ltd., a company that had built more than 100 office buildings and warehouses. Reichmann's projects were huge, including the World Financial Center In New York. He bet the house on Canary Wharf in London, and lost. However, Reichmann recently was part of a consortium that bought back the huge project office complex.
The Rose family Rose Associates
Achievements: One of several major New York real estate families on our list.
The late James W. Rouse Founder
The Rouse Co.
Achievements: He started in real estate in 1939 in the single-family housing business with partner Hunter Moss. He left the firm in 1954, which was renamed James W. Rouse & Co. and was later renamed The Rouse Co. Rouse developed the town of Columbia, Md., a planned community between Baltimore and Washington, D.C. If you've ever visited a Bayside-type shopping area, thank this man for the original concept.
The Rubin family Ronald I. Rubin & Co.
Achievements: Rubin founded his own firm in 1946, growing it from a one-man shop to more than 800 employees by the mid-1990s. The firm's management and leasing portfolio reached nearly 25 million sq. ft. in more than a dozen states.
The Rudin family New York
Achievements: Another of the New York real estate clan which developed offices and a taste for philanthropy.
Peter Rummell Chairman & CEO
The St. Joe Company
Achievements: This former head of Disney's real estate arm now runs Advantis, a major-league, growing company.
Stephen Siegel President
Achievements: Siegel's first career was spent running Cushman & Wakefield for 27 years. After stepping down in 1984, he oversaw the merger of the Insignia Financial and ESG in 1996. The merger created a platform for its national and international expansion.
Walter Shorenstein President
Milton Meyer & Co.
Achievements: Shortly after World War II, Walter founded what is today Shorenstein Realty Co., one of the nation's oldest and largest privately held real estate firms which owns and manages more than 25 million sq. ft. of office space. Shorenstein is the largest office landlord in Oakland and San Francisco.
Melvin Simon Founder and Co-chairman
Simon Property Group
Achievements: In 1960, Melvin, Herbert and Fred Simon formed Melvin Simon & Associates (MSA). In 1993, it went public as Simon Property Group, It merged with DeBartolo Realty Group in 1996, which is now the nation's largest retail REIT.
Charles E. Smith Chairman
Charles E. Smith Co.
Achievements: The company is best known for developing the Crystal City complex outside Washington, D.C., and continues developing major apartment properties today.
Richard Stein Director
Achievements: This big-time local developer created memorable Loop landmarks, including development of AT&T Corporate Center.
The Taubman family Taubman Centers Inc.
Achievements: Along with Simon, one of the country's top developers/managers of major shopping centers.
J. Ron Terwilliger National Managing Partner
Trammell Crow Residential
Achievements: With Trammell Crow, he founded this successful multifamily firm in 1978, setting up a unique local-partner arrangement in 50 U.S. cities. Despite numerous defections by top personnel over the years, continues successful run. He's also now a grandpa.
John Tishman Tishman Realty & Construction Co.
Achievements: The question is, what haven't the Tishmans built? Celebrated 100th anniversary in 1998. Built World Trade Center, Detroit's Renaissance Center, Boston's John Hancock Center, etc.
Donald J. Trump Chairman and President
The Trump Organization
Achievements: Boom, bust, boom again. If you don't know this condo-king's name, well then... In May 1998 he acquired the General Motors Building, and also bought 40 Wall Street to convert to condos. Still making proposals for Manhattan's West Side railyards. Still the biggest gaming hotel operator.
J. McDonald Williams Chairman
Trammell Crow Co.
Achievements: Took over Trammell's reins and continues to grow the company both internally and externally through numerous acquisitions.
John Williams Chairman & CEO
Achievements: Established the well-known Post brand on Class-A apartment communities in Atlanta and is spreading the message throughout the Southeast and Southwest.
William Zeckendorf (Jr. & Sr.) New York
Achievements: Sr. is nearly solely responsible for the United Nations building in Manhattan. Jr. pioneered numerous New York buildings, including the ground-breaking Worldwide Plaza on Manhattan's West Side.
Samuel Zell Chairman of the Board
Equity Office Properties Trust,
Equity Residential Properties Trust,
Manufactured Home Communities Inc. and Capital Trust
Achievements: Call him what you will - grave dancer, etc. - but this often gruff, joke-telling and mind-speaking guy runs the two largest REITs in existence. He also has a great sweater collection.