Real Estate Developer Trammell Crow Dead at 94

Crow passed away at east Texas farm.

Trammell Crow, the Dallas-based commercial real estate developer and the founder of the Trammell Crow Company died Wednesday at the family farm in East Texas.

Crow was 94.

Beginning with a single warehouse in Dallas in 1948, Trammell Crow built one of the largest and most successful commercial real estate companies in the United States.

"When he was born, I think he just had a chip inside of him, and it was this chip that had him constantly pursuing," said longtime business associate Anne Raymond, of Crow Holdings.

Crow's property developments helped reshape the skylines of Dallas, Atlanta, San Francisco and dozens of other U.S. cities that came of age in the post-World War II building boom. 

Along the way, Crow pioneered the use of the atrium, a concept used in many of today’s most prominent office structures and hotels, and, through his unique use of real estate partnerships, helped make more of his partners wealthier than anyone else in the history of American real estate.

He founded the Dallas Market Center in the mid-1950s. Now, five million square feet later, it's the largest of its kind in the world. Thousands of people do their wholesale shopping there every year, doing $8 billion in annual transactions.

Crow also founded the Wyndham Brand of hotels 30 years ago, starting with the Dallas Anatole.

More than just a dynamic businessman, Crow was a devoted husband, father and grandfather, a friend and confidant of U.S. presidents from Richard Nixon to George Bush, and a renowned world traveler. 

Indeed, Crow and his wife, Margaret, shared a lifelong passion for collecting fine art -- particularly Asian art -- during their many trips abroad.

Margaret Crow said that Chinese art always fascinated her husband, especially jade.

“I cannot say why it is,” Trammell Crow once said, pointing to his heart, “But these objects move me.”

In 1998, the Crows created an Asian art museum in the Dallas Arts District, the Trammell and Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art, to hold the best pieces from the family’s collection and serve as a legacy for their children and grandchildren.

Amy Hofland, director of the Crow Collection, said Trammell Crow believed in sharing his art collection with everyone.

“Trammell Crow left an indelible footprint on the Dallas Arts District,” she said. “His love of the East and its art flowed from his core, and we are so honored that he gave the community a chance to share in and experience that.”

To date, more than 500,000 people have visited the museum.

From his distinguished business career to his loving family to his untiring dedication to civic and charitable causes, Crow’s remarkable life stands as a testament to hard work, visionary leadership and the unlimited potential of the American entrepreneurial spirit. 

“The world will remember Crow as a legendary real estate developer and businessman because of his unparalleled vision and passion for success.  But to those who were fortunate to know him personally, we will remember his humor and upbeat personality along with his uncompromising honesty, integrity and character.  Whatever we were yesterday as individuals, we are slightly less today because of the passing of this great man,” said Jim Carreker, a former CEO of Trammell Crow Company and Wyndham Hotels and a longtime family friend.

Raymond said she'll remember his zest for life the most.

"You could go anywhere, and you could do anything. And that optimism and that love of life that he had and shared with all of us is what I’ll remember the most," she said.

Crow is survived by his wife of 66 years, Margaret; their six children, Robert Crow, Howard Crow, Harlan Crow, Trammell S. Crow, Lucy Billingsley, Stuart Crow; 16 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

A public funeral service will be held Monday at 11 a.m. at Highland Park United Methodist Church at 3300 Mockingbird Lane in Dallas.

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