Bill Carey's Legacy

When Wm. Polk Carey passed away yesterday, he left behind a legacy. The 81-year-old founder & chairman of multibillion-dollar investment management company W. P. Carey & Co. was a trailblazer in the sale-leaseback arena.

When Wm. Polk Carey passed away yesterday, he left behind a legacy. The 81-year-old founder & chairman of multibillion-dollar investment management company W. P. Carey & Co. was a trailblazer in the sale-leaseback arena.

A direct descendant of President James K. Polk, Carey, who passed away of natural causes in West Palm Beach, Fla., had leadership in his blood. Armed with a background as a leader in corporate finance, he founded W. P. Carey in 1973 and became one of the founding fathers of the sale-leaseback strategy, molding the company into a top force in long-term sale-leaseback and build-to-suit financing in the commercial real estate industry. The company now boasts a global investment portfolio valued at roughly $11.8 billion.

Among notable transactions, under Carey’s guidance, the company closed a $225 million mega-deal in which it acquired 21 floors of the New York Times Building in Manhattan while simultaneously signing a deal with the newspaper to remain in the space under a 15-year contract.

In addition to his role as a vanguard in commercial real estate, Carey will be remembered as an altruistic individual who was well known in charitable circles. He established the W. P. Carey Foundation in 1988 to support educational opportunities at such colleges as Arizona State University, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland. Carey ensured that his generosity would outlive him by naming the foundation as the primary beneficiary of his common stock in W. P. Carey.