Equity LifeStyle Properties, Inc. owns and operates the highest quality portfolio of resort communities in the United States. We have a controlling interest in over 300 quality resorts in 28 states and British Columbia with over 110,000 sites. Our goal is to create value for residents and investors by providing consistently high levels of services and amenities in attractive surroundings. Our high standards have been recognized with several "Community of the Year" awards for the outstanding quality of our communities and the professionalism of our management.
Equity LifeStyle Properties is a real estate investment trust (REIT) traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "ELS." Our size, national scope and status as a publicly traded company afford us benefits unavailable to smaller, private owners. We have access to capital that allows us to grow, and to expand and upgrade existing communities. We are able to streamline our management operations, owning multiple communities in the same market areas. Our broad presence in 28 states and British Columbia protects the company from economic downturns in any one market. Furthermore, our reputation allows us to attract and retain some of the best employees in the business.
Our portfolio of communities has grown significantly since our initial public offering when Equity LifeStyle's owned and managed, or had a controlling interest in 40 communities with 12,000 home sites compared to over 300 communities with more than 110,000 sites today. Our regional management offices located in key areas of the country keep us close to our communities and help us effectively manage our expansive portfolio. We continue to add to our portfolio carefully, looking for communities that meet our high standards.