Eastdil Secured’s Ben Lambert, who founded an industry institution and oversaw the sale of countless landmark properties like the General Motors Building in New York City and Chicago’s Willis Tower, died this weekend.
Roy March and Mike Van Konynenburg sent an email to Eastdil’s friends and clients Sunday notifying them of Lambert’s death.
“Ben was a true father-like figure to many of us, and we will miss his wisdom, warmth, leadership and love,” they wrote. “In a tough, high stakes environment, Ben never had a bad word to say about anyone.”
The cause of death was not disclosed. Lambert was in his 80s.
Lambert majored in art at Brown University but gave up ambitions of being a sculptor because he felt he didn’t have the talent to make a living as an artist, according to a 1980 profile by UPI.
Because he had no business training, he found work selling fabrics in Manhattan’s Garment District before landing a job at a mortgage firm.
In 1967, he founded Eastdil with the idea of bringing an investment banking approach to real estate brokerage.
His own list of deals includes financing of the Embarcadero Center mixed-use complex in San Francisco in the early 1970s. He sold the Irvine Ranch in 1977 for $337 million — then a record price for a land sale in the United States. Lambert sold the MacArthur Foundation apartment portfolio in the mid-1980s and the Helmsley Portfolio in the 1990s.
Eastdil entered into a venture with Nomura Securities in the 1980s and from 1999 to 2019 the company operated as a subsidiary of Wells Fargo. Lambert and his management team led a buyout of the company in 2019 in a venture with Guggenheim and Temasek.