At Landlord Summit, Grim Prognostication: Commercial Real Estate at ‘Darwinian Point'

"We’ve reached the Darwinian point," intoned Sam Zell, chairman of Equity International. "I think that the small guys have to die, and the definition of 'die' is they’re going to go private."

The gnomic Mr. Zell was referring to REITs, or real estate investment trusts, the publicly traded real estate companies that, according to the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts, number 170 on the major stock exchanges. Mr. Zell, in goatee and collarless...

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