Our Founder

Bill Rouse

Willard G. Rouse III

Willard G. Rouse III (Bill) was founder and chairman of the board of Liberty Property Trust until his death in 2003.  Mr. Rouse was a driving force in real estate since the early 1970s when he founded Rouse & Associates (the predecessor company to Liberty) and subsequently grew it into one of the most influential real estate operations in the country.

A native of Baltimore, Mr. Rouse graduated from the University of Virginia in 1966, and soon after was hired by the Great Southwest Corporation, a developer in Dallas. In 1968, he joined the Bernguil Company where he oversaw the development of the Mid Atlantic Park in southern New Jersey, before forming Rouse & Associates in 1972.

As founding partner of Rouse & Associates, Mr. Rouse developed numerous landmark properties, including the 650-acre, trend-setting suburban business park Great Valley Corporate Center in Malvern, Pennsylvania; Liberty Place, the 3.4 million square foot mixed-use skyscraper complex that dramatically changed Philadelphia’s skyline; and the Philadelphia Stock Exchange Building, also in downtown Philadelphia. He is also one of the few US-based developers to partner with a European government, in developing Kings Hill in southern England, the largest mixed–use business park in Europe.

Under Mr. Rouse’s leadership Rouse & Associates became Liberty Property Trust, after a highly successful public offering in 1994. Today Liberty is one of the nation's largest office and industrial real estate investment trust, with a total market capitalization of over $6 billion. The company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, and is included in the S&P 400 Mid-Cap index.

Mr. Rouse’s civic accomplishments reflect his dedication to the city of Philadelphia. As chairman of the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority, he directed the development of Philadelphia’s state-of-the-art convention center, the largest public construction project ever in Pennsylvania. As chairman of We the People 200, he orchestrated Philadelphia’s hugely successful bicentennial celebration of the Constitution, and has served on the board of the continuing organization, We the People 2000. Mr. Rouse is the former chairman of the Regional Performing Arts Center. As such, he was responsible for the development of perhaps the most ambitious project in the history of Philadelphia, The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.

At the time of his death, Mr. Rouse was serving on the board of the Kimmel Center, as a trustee of the Enterprise Foundation, and on the board of the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. He had also served on the boards of the Foundation for Architecture, Philadelphia Children’s Network, the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, The Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Shipley School, Philadelphia Diagnostic and Rehabilitation Center, the Fine Arts School of the University of Pennsylvania and has served as a trustee of the Urban Land Institute.

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