ELI BROAD, BILLIONAIRE-PHILANTHROPIST WHO RESHAPED LA, DIES AT 87
Eli Broad, the billionaire philanthropist, contemporary art collector and entrepreneur who co-founded homebuilding pioneer Kaufman and Broad Inc. and launched financial services giant SunAmerica Inc., died Friday in Los Angeles. He was 87, Alex Veiga reported for the Associated Press [AP].
Suzi Emmerling, a spokeswoman for the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, confirmed his death to AP. Emmerling said Broad died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after a long illness. No services have been announced. The New York Times first reported his death.
“As a businessman, Eli saw around corners, as a philanthropist, he saw the problems in the world and tried to fix them, as a citizen he saw the possibility in our shared community, and as a husband, father, and friend he saw the potential in each of us,” Gerun Riley, president of The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, said in a statement Friday.
It was Broad (pronounced brohd) who provided much of the money and willpower used to reshape Los Angeles’ once-moribund downtown into a burgeoning area of expensive lofts, fancy dining establishments, and civic structures like the landmark Walt Disney Concert Hall. He opened his own eponymous contemporary art museum and art lending library, the Broad, in 2015 in the city’s downtown next to Disney Hall.
“Eli Broad, simply put, was L.A.’s most influential private citizen of his generation,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said on Twitter. “He loved this city as deeply as anyone I have ever known.” As a young accountant in the 1950s, Broad saw opportunity in the booming real estate market.
He quit his job and partnered with developer Donald Kaufman and began building starter homes for first-time buyers eager to claim their slice of the American Dream. The company eventually became KB Home, one of the most successful home developers in the nation.
Nearly 30 years later, Broad spotted opportunity once more and transformed the company’s insurance arm into a retirement savings conglomerate that catered to the financial needs of aging baby boomers. In the process, Broad became one of the nation’s wealthiest men, with a financial net worth estimated by Forbes magazine Friday at $6.9 billion. He also gained a reputation for being a driven, tenacious dealmaker.
“If you play it safe all of the time, you don’t get very far,” Broad told Investor’s Business Daily in 2005.