Company History

Since 1972, Liberty Property Trust has developed millions of square feet of industrial and office properties throughout the United States and United Kingdom to become one of the nation's largest commercial real estate companies. This is our story.

A testament to Liberty's leasing expertise and financial stability, Liberty completes 887 leasing transactions totaling 17 million square feet, a company record. Liberty's development and management teams were honored with several awards including:

  • International TOBY from BOMA for industrial office park of the year for Legacy Center Business Park in Houston, one of only 14 national winners and the only industrial park recognized
  • NAREIT Leader in the Light Honorable Mention, one of seven REITs recognized nationally for demonstrating superior and sustained energy use practices
  • Maastricht University's International Study of Us Commercial real Estate developers' Highest Rankin gin the U.S. for environmental policy implementation & Measurement
  • CB Richard Ellis's UK Office's "Most Successful New Village" (for Villages of 1000 Homes or more) to Kings Hill, achieving highest score and beating Prince Charles' Poundbury development in Dorset
  • Philadelphia Chapter of BOMA'S TOBY for Outstanding Building of the Year to Comcast Center
  • Central Florida Chapter of US Green Building Council's 2010 Project of the Year for Maitland Summit III
  • Maryland Chapter of NAIOP's "Flex Building of the Year" to Highpoint 100 Commerce Center
Continuing Liberty's commitment to sustainable development and management, the company:
  • Earned six US Green Building Council LEEDŽ(Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certifications, all Gold, the second highest award, for its office buildings at 3 Crescent Drive, Philadelphia; 151 Warner Road, King of Prussia,PA; 1129 20th Street NW, Washington, DC; Maitland Summit III, Orlando, FL; Liberty Center at Monarch Lakes, Miramar, FL and its newest industrial development in the Chicago portfolio, 900 Bilter Road, Aurora, IL.
  • Surpassed its goal of 50 Energy Star certified building in 2010 and achieved 54 Energy Star certifications totaling 5.2 million square feet by year-end
  • Completed energy audits on 263 building
  • Committed 75% of 2010 capital budget to energy efficient projects
  • Completing lighting retrofits in over two million square feet of the portfolio.
  • Created the word's "greenest" bakery for an iconic Philadelphia company, Tasty Baking Company at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. The new, 345,000 square foot bakery and distribution center features energy-efficient HVAC systems, sophisticated water conservation and extensive use of recycled building materials and day-light harvesting, among other environmentally efficient components.

In the midst of the worst recession in decades, Liberty's financial strength allows us to continue to deliver real estate solutions. This leadership contributes to a banner year of leasing with more than 15 million square feet of space and over 800 leases executed throughout the US and UK portfolios.

Continuing its commitment to high performance, sustainable development and property management:

  • Ten Liberty properties achieve U.S. Green Building Council LEED® Gold and Silver certifications, bringing the number of Liberty's LEED projects completed or under construction to 35;
  • Urban Land Institute awards Liberty its "2009 Award of Excellence: The Americas" for Comcast Center, one of ten new developments recognized nationally from 140 prestigious projects for best practices to promote better land use as well as environmentally and socially responsible development;
  • Liberty's Southeast Pennsylvania region is awarded funds from the Department of Energy's "Smart Grid Investment Grant" as the result of a partnership with local energy provider, PECO Energy to demonstrate how "smart meters" can be used to monitor energy use in existing commercial buildings;
  • Installation of Building Wide Area Network energy monitoring systems commences in 130 buildings in the office portfolio;
  • Liberty e-cycles over 2,000 cell phones collected from tenants in support of "Cell Phones for Soldiers," a charitable foundation providing calling cards to U.S. soldiers stationed overseas.

Liberty awarded the 2008 CoreNet Global Leadership Award for Design and Development for its dedication to responsible development as exemplified by its JohnsonDiversey industrial distribution project.

Comcast Center officially opens in June and is recognized as the tallest LEED registered office building in the country.

Liberty awarded the very prestigious "Developer of the Year" award from NAIOP (National Association of Industrial and Office Properties) for its history of excellence in development and its commitment to sustainable development and property management.

Building on the success of our first project in Phoenix, AZ, a LEED Gold certified, 123,000 sf office building for The Vanguard Group, Liberty establishes an Arizona office and immediately purchases 115 acres for an industrial park as well as Allred Cotton Center, an office park with 10 properties and additional land to grow the park to 1.2 million square feet.

Liberty expands our presence in the Baltimore-Washington corridor and enters the Northern Virginia market with the purchase of Republic Property Trust, a publicly traded REIT with 25 properties in Northern Virginia and Washington DC. Concurrent with the purchase, Liberty sells the properties into a joint venture with New York State common Retirement Fund. Liberty holds a 25% interest which is expected to grow through development and acquisition of approximately $1.3 billion in additional properties.

Liberty increases its dividend for the 12th straight year.

Liberty awarded NAIOP's (National Association of Industrial and Office Properties) prestigious national Green Development Award for its JohnsonDiversey industrial development project.

Liberty breaks ground on the nation's first speculative warehouse registered to be LEED certified at Bull Ridge Distribution Center in North Carolina.

Liberty expands its UK operation with the acquisition of Blythe Valley Park near Birmingham in a joint venture consisting of 491,000 square feet of existing office space and 98 acres of land with planning consent to develop an additional 1.6 million square feet.

Liberty partners with New York State Common Retirement Fund on a joint venture consisting of Liberty's Chicago portfolio. The venture is initially valued at $125 million, but through acquisition and development is expected to grow to approximately $500 million.

Liberty awarded the US Green Building Council's Leadership in LEED Award, the first commercial developer so honored.

One Crescent Boulevard at the Philadelphia Navy Yard is the first speculative office building in the world to earn LEED Platinum certification

Liberty selected by JohnsonDiversey to create a state-of-the-art LEED registered industrial distribution center for them in Sturtevant, WI. The 552,000 square foot building, expandable to over 800,000 square feet, is awarded the 2006 "Green Build" Award from the US Green Building Council for being the first building to incorporate LEED NC (New Construction) and LEED EB (Existing Buildings) in the same process.

Liberty enters into a joint venture with CommerzLeasing und Immobilien AG, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Commerzbank AG, whereby Liberty has sold an 80% interest in the equity of Comcast Center, an office tower Liberty is developing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The transaction values the property at $505 million, and in addition allocates approximately $10 million for closing costs and for future refurbishment costs. In connection with the transaction, the joint venture has obtained a $324 million forward loan commitment from Citigroup Global Markets Realty Corp, at a rate of 6.15% assuming the loan will close in March of 2008 (which it does).

Liberty is named a Mergent Dividend AchieverTM for its outstanding record of ten straight years of dividend growth.

Great Valley Corporate Center, now 31 years old and still transforming, is named Business Park of the Year by the Building Owners and Managers Association.

Liberty begins construction of Comcast Center.  At 975 feet, it will be Philadelphia’s tallest building upon completion in 2008.

For the third consecutive year, Liberty receives top honors in the National Commercial Real Estate Customer Service Awards Program.

In honor of the company’s founder, Liberty holds its first annual Bill Rouse Day of Caring. All Liberty offices are closed for one day of community service. Projects include remediation of local wetlands, refurbishment of public art, construction and painting of low-income residences, maintenance of public recreational facilities, construction of homeless shelter facilities, preservation of historic properties, and more.

To commemorate ten years of listing on the New York Stock Exchange, chief executive officer Bill Hankowsky and a group of Liberty’s most tenured associates travel to New York to ring the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange.

The Urban Land Institute honors Liberty’s Plaza at PPL Center with a 2004 Award for Excellence. This international awards program is widely considered the land use industry’s most prestigious recognition program.

Liberty loses its founder, Bill Rouse, to cancer at age sixty. Like all great builders, he is largely remembered for the structures he created, the most important, his company, Rouse & Associates, which is now one of the largest office and industrial REITs in the nation, Liberty Property Trust. His loss is immeasurable yet his company thrives because of the legacy he left behind: a philosophy, a set of values and a culture rooted in integrity, teamwork and fairness. Bill Hankowsky, president and CEO, is appointed chairman of the board.

National Real Estate customer service awards program names Liberty "Best in Industry" for customer service.

Bill Rouse resigns his position as chief executive officer but remains chairman. Bill Hankowsky is named CEO.

1998 – 2002
Liberty’s portfolio expands from 44 million square feet to 51 million.

1995 – 1997
Liberty acquires the Lingerfelt Development Corporation, a premier developer of industrial properties located in Richmond, Virginia, and moves into the Midwest with the purchase of portfolios in Michigan, Minnesota and South Carolina.

Liberty achieves investment grade ratings from Standard & Poor’s Ratings Group and Moody’s Investors Service.

Rouse & Associates becomes a real estate investment trust (REIT), renamed Liberty Property Trust, and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange

Liberty opens the second phase of its Philadelphia Liberty Place development, Two Liberty Place, a 1.2 million square foot build-to-suit headquarters for Cigna Corporation.

Expansion into the United Kingdom commences as Rouse & Associates begins development of Kings Hill in Kent County, planned as the largest mixed-use park in Europe.

Rouse & Associates expands in the south, with a new office in the Piedmont Triad of North Carolina.

One Liberty Place, the first tower in the Liberty Place development in Philadelphia, opens.  It is instantly adopted by the citizens of Philadelphia as the city’s new symbol.

Rouse & Associates is named Developer of the Year by the National Association of Industrial and Office Parks, one of the most prestigious awards in commercial real estate.

Rouse & Associates develops its first hotel, the Sheraton Society Hill, still today one of the most financially successful hotels in Philadelphia.

The company gains control of nearly a city block of prime Center City Philadelphia land, and announces plans for a mixed-use development including two office towers which will become the tallest buildings in Philadelphia, a Ritz-Carlton hotel and a retail complex.  After a vocal public debate, Philadelphia approves the plan and construction begins on Liberty Place.

President Reagan delivers a landmark tax address to the nation from Great Valley Corporate Center, “the workplace of the future.”

Having developed suburban real estate for nearly 10 years, Rouse & Associates moves into the urban development with the development of 1900 Market Street, known as the Philadelphia Stock Exchange Building. 

Opening of Lehigh Valley, PA office to service this growing distribution area between Philadelphia and New York.

Liberty enters its third market, the Baltimore-Washington Corridor.

Purchase of 650 acres in Chester County, a growing suburb of Philadelphia for construction of Great Valley Corporate Center, which grows over the years to include four million square feet of office, industrial, retail and education facilities and employ more than 20,000 people and becomes the anchor of Greater Philadelphia’s new employment corridor.

A landmark development, Great Valley was the first office park to incorporate a graduate college, a business development and training center and a day care center. Developers and economic development officials from all over the world have visited Great Valley as a model of suburban commercial development.

Liberty's predecessor company, Rouse & Associates, was formed by Willard G. Rouse III, George Congdon, David Hammers and Menard Doswell, to develop warehouse space in southern New Jersey. Rouse & Associates develops over two million square feet in the first two years of its existence. Rouse & Associates begins its national expansion, opening an office in Jacksonville, Florida and develops 350,000 square feet of industrial space in the first year.