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LOS ANGELES-Harold A. Held, a 60-year real estate industry veteran and founder of the locally based firm that bears his name, has died at the age of 87. Held, who was known as a philanthropist in addition to his reputation as a pioneering real estate developer, was an engineer by training who started his real estate development career in home construction and then expanded into apartments, commercial buildings and medical offices.

Born in Cleveland, Held graduated with an engineering degree from Ohio State University, and began his career designing airplane propellers for the military. He served as a naval officer in the North Atlantic during World War II. After the war, he moved to California and entered the real estate business in the Adams district of Los Angeles, soon after shifting his projects to the Westside. As a licensed real estate broker, general contractor and construction manager, he became one of the largest developers on the Westside.

Held left an enduring mark on the Los Angeles skyline, developing and managing more than 2.5 million sf of the best-known and highest-quality office and medical office buildings in the city. His projects included Westwood Place, 1880 Century Park East, 100 UCLA Medical Center, 9777 Wilshire Blvd. and Medical Centre of Santa Monica. He had remained active as chairman of Held Properties Inc., which he and his family established in 1983, although had turned over the active management of the business to his children.

Held’s philanthropic efforts included the Held Foundation, which supported many organizations in Los Angeles. At the behest of his late wife, Louise, he created the Louise K. Held Nursing Scholarship Fund to encourage graduating nurses throughout the country to join nonprofit Westside hospitals. He also served on the board of the United Jewish Fund and was active in a host of community organizations involved in cultural, educational, economic and medical research and funding endeavors.

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