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PREIT founder and chairman Sylvan Cohen dies at 87

Sylvan M. Cohen, chairman of Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT), died on Sept. 8 at his home in Center City Philadelphia at the age of 87.

Cohen founded the Philadelphia-based REIT — one of the first REITs in the U.S. — in 1960. Listed on the New York Stock Exchange, the company currently owns and/or manages 26.9 million sq. ft. of retail and multifamily properties in 10 states.

Cohen also was one of the founding members of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). He served as president of ICSC and in other capacities including member of the Board of Trustees, member of the Law Conference Committee, chairman of the Government Affairs Committee and chairman of the Political Action Committee.

Born in Philadelphia, Cohen grew up in West Philadelphia. He graduated in 1935 from the University of Pennsylvania, and received a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1938. A veteran of World War II, Cohen served as a combat intelligence officer in the Air Corps.

A member of the University of Pennsylvania Tennis Team, Cohen remained an avid tennis player throughout his life. In 1998, he was elected to the Tennis Hall of Fame at Penn.

Cohen received numerous awards during his lifetime. Included in those from Penn were the Alumni Award of Merit and The Wharton Real Estate Center Achievement Award. He is survived by his wife, Alma Orlowitz Cohen, two sons and four grandchildren.

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