The Biggest Commercial Real Estate Owners

The Biggest Commercial Real Estate Owners

Commercial real estate (CRE) is a multi-billion dollar industry which includes strip malls, office buildings, hotels, retailers of all kinds, gas stations, restaurants and other types of non-residential properties. Around the world, there are a handful of companies that own and manage hundreds of millions of square feet of commercial real estate. Below are some of the biggest commercial real estate owners, which typically property manage themselves, in the world along with a table detailing each company’s holdings.

First of all, the key to a successful commercial real estate investment is having an attentive real estate operation. Size is likely a detriment to quality management because as portfolio size increases, the percentage share of attention a building tenant can command must decrease.

The Blackstone Group

Almost 40 years after its founding, Blackstone is the largest owner of office properties in the US with over 150 million square feet of office space including the Willis Tower in Chicago (the former Sears Tower). The group also owns over 300 million square feet of retail, industrial and residential space. Since Blackstone went public in 2007, it has quadrupled in size. Its real estate division has grown from a $17.7 billion venture to a $100 billion portfolio. According to BizNow, the firm has spent over $50 billion on real estate deals since 2009. In 2015 alone, the group closed a real estate fund worth around $16 billion, taking the crown of ‘Largest Real Estate Owner in the World.’  Business Insider even goes so far as to call Steve Schwarzman, Blackstone’s Chairman and CEO, ‘America’s landlord.’


Founded in 1983, Prologis owns and manages over 660 million square feet of CRE along with 7,400 acres of land in 20 countries. The company focuses on industrial properties near transportation hubs and has invested heavily near interstates, major highways, airports and seaports. Prologis owns and manages approximately 3,000 logistics and distribution facilities around the world. By specializing in the supply-chain, the company provides its clients with a number of connected solutions. Apart from owning properties, Prologis also pursues environmental sustainability, leading it to produce yearly Sustainability Reports. The company has also installed rooftop solar panels on many of its properties.

Simon Property Group

Fortune magazine has named Simon ‘the most admired company in real estate’ eight times. In contrast to Prologis, the company focuses on completely different aspects of CRE. Formed in 1993 from the shopping center interests of Melvin Simon & Associates, the Simon Property Group now owns 229 shopping malls and shopping centers around the world totaling 190 million square feet. Many of these are high-end shopping destinations such as Woodbury Commons in New York and The Forum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

Duke Realty Corp

Even though this company is only focused on the US market, it is still one of the biggest CRE owners in the world. Duke specializes in healthcare and industrial properties and has almost 140 million square feet completed and under development. Since 2009, the company has scaled back on its holdings of office space and has increasingly focused on the modern supply chain by strengthening its ties with e-commerce businesses.

General Growth Properties

Founded by Martin and Matthew Bucksbaum in 1954, this shopping mall and retail operator holds over 130 properties comprising almost 130 million square feet of CRE. General Growth Properties operates 100 of the top 500 malls in the US including Ala Moana Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, the world’s largest open-air shopping mall. Apart from merely owning property, the company takes sustainability issues seriously, focusing on responsible energy consumption and reducing water in its malls. As a result, it has been awarded the Green Star by the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark.

Total Holdings of Each Company

Company NameSquare Footage Owned and Managed
The Blackstone Group●      153M SF of office space globally

○      3.8M SF Willis Tower in Chicago

○      5.3M SF in several Manhattan office buildings

●      179M SF of retail space

●      153M SF of industrial property

●      96,000 multifamily residential units

Prologis●      607M SF of industrial properties, logistics and distribution facilities globally

●      An additional 62M SF managed or under development

Simon Property Group●      More than 190M SF of retail space

●      Over 200 properties domestically

●      Almost 30 properties internationally

Duke Realty Corp●      138M SF of assets owned or under development
General Growth Properties●      131 retail properties totaling 128M SF


Information courtesy of VTS ( and Wikipedia.


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