Prolific LA developer Jerry Snyder dies at age 90

Snyder’s office projects helped revitalize the Miracle Mile district

Jerry Snyder and SAG AFTRA plaza (Credit: Google Maps)
Jerry Snyder and SAG AFTRA plaza (Credit: Google Maps)

Jerry Snyder, namesake and founder of Los Angeles development firm J.H. Snyder Company, died at his home in Bel Air on Friday night.

Snyder was 90 years old and died after a “brief battle with cancer,” his family said in a statement.

Snyder spent seven decades in the real estate business, getting his feet wet working around Los Angeles for his carpenter father and starting his own remodeling business at the age of 19.

Concerned that his age would put off customers, Snyder printed business cards reading “Snyder & Son” to give potential clients the impression there was an older partner working behind the scenes. The white lie worked and by age 22 he was building 2,000 homes a year.

But Snyder’s most visible legacy in L.A. is his company’s commercial work, particularly its office developments.

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Snyder broke into the office business in the late 1970s with the acquisition of a large spread on Wilshire Boulevard, which included the Prudential Insurance headquarters building. The spread became a focal point for the company and its subsequent development projects there helped revitalize a hurting Miracle Mile district.

The large Wilshire Boulevard assemblage included a parcel across the boulevard, where over the next decade Snyder constructed the one-million-square-foot Wilshire Courtyard office complex. It’s had several owners over the years and last year Onni Group paid $630 million to be the latest.

The 11-story Prudential building was leased to its now long-time tenant SAG-AFTRA in the 1990s and renamed SAG-AFTRA Plaza in 2015. J.H. Snyder is currently building a 20-story rental project next door to SAG-AFTRA Plaza, dubbed Residences at Wilshire Curson.

The firm’s more recent project include the Vermont, an apartment complex in Koreatown, and the Hollywood 959 office campus in the Hollywood Media District.

Snyder is survived by his wife Joan and three children, including his son Lon Snyder, who joined J.H. Snyder in the mid-1980s and is now a partner at the firm.