Bill Lee, founder of Lee & Associates Commercial Real Estate Services, has died. More than four decades after opening the company’s first office in Orange County, California, in 1979, he leaves the legacy of a USD $14-billion firm with 1,300 employees in 65 locations throughout North America, including Toronto and Vancouver.
“I am deeply saddened by the loss of our visionary founder, friend, and long-time leader,” says Jeffrey Rinkov, the current chief executive officer. Bill fostered and maintained incredibly close personal and business relationships with Lee & Associates professionals, including his abundant support in our efforts to continue the growth of our company in his entrepreneurial vision.”
Lee, aged 78, attained a SIOR designation from Society of Industrial and Office Realtors in 1977 and represented some of the world’s largest companies throughout his long career. He’s viewed as an innovator for Lee & Associates’ co-investment model for franchise growth — a novel approach when introduced in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In addition to his commercial real estate pursuits, Lee owned an inn and restaurant, was a published author, the father of four and a youth basketball coach.