Harvey Lenkin, former president and director of Public Storage Inc., a self-storage real estate investment trust (REIT), has died. He was 76. Lenkin joined Public Storage in 1978 as president of management operations. At that time, the self-storage industry was in its infancy, and Lenkin was instrumental in leading the company's growth, company officials said in a press release. During his career, Lenkin helped organize the trade groups that established basic operational procedures and drafted the multi-state legislation the industry still follows today.
His contributions to the self-storage industry were numerous, including the first issuance of preferred stock by a REIT (1992), the conversion of Public Storage into a public company (1995) and the merger with Storage Trust (1999). Lenkin retired as president in 2005, but was instrumental in the Shurgard merger in 2006. He was also responsible for the founding of PS Business Parks in 1998 and served as its director until 2011.
Within the REIT industry, Lenkin was an active participant in many industry events and a member of the executive committee of the board of directors for the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (NAREIT).
Lenkin was born on April 15, 1936, in Brooklyn, N.Y., and moved with his family to Los Angeles in 1950. He graduated from Los Angeles High School, and then the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where he was president of the Sigma Alpha Mu Fraternity. He then attended Officer Candidate School in Newport, R.I., and the U.S. Naval Training Academy in Great Lakes, Ill. He served in the U.S. Navy as a lieutenant, where he was assigned to the USS Magoffin and observed the atomic explosions at the Eniwetok Atoll, a large coral atoll of 40 islands in the Pacific Ocean.
After leaving the military in 1961, Lenkin attended commodities future-training school, and served as a branch manager for Shearson, Hammill & Co. from 1961 to 1970. From 1970 to 1978, he served as a branch manager for DuPont Glore Forgan & Stotts through its merger with Walston & Co., and then through its acquisition by Reynolds Securities. Lenkin became president and director of Public Storage in 1991.
Lenkin was an avid skier and sailor, racing sailboats for many years at the California Yacht Club. He was a member of the board of trustees of the Huntington Memorial Hospital, where he also served as chairman of the building committee. Lenkin and his wife, Heather, were instrumental in establishing the Harvey Lenkin Pet-Assisted Therapy Program at the hospital. He was also a member of the board for UCLA UniCamp, the Ronald McDonald Charities and Paladin Realty Partners LLC.
Lenkin is survived by his wife, Heather Henricks Lenkin, sons Brett Lenkin and Todd Lenkin, and stepsons William Cundiff Lenkin (and his wife Patrycja) and Daniel Cameron Cundiff (and his wife Kate Singleton).
Services will be held at the Tanach Chapel at Mount Sinai Memorial Park in Los Angeles on Nov. 8. Donations in Lenkin’s memory can be made to Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, Calif.
Based in Glendale, Calif., Public Storage has interests in 2,081 self-storage facilities in 38 states with approximately 133 million net rentable square feet. Operating under the Shurgard brand name, the company also has 188 facilities in seven European countries, with approximately 10 million net rentable square feet.