Canadian real estate developer and philanthropist Paul Reichmann, who led the family’s Olympia and York company, has died.
Reichmann died Friday in Toronto at the age of 83.
Reichmann is known for his development of the Canary Wharf business district in London, as well as New York’s World Financial Center. Reichmann and his family lost most of their fortune in the early 1990s during the global real estate slowdown – the company went bankrupt in 1992 – but were later able to recoup some of it.
Reichmann was born in Vienna in 1930, two years after his family left Hungary. The family later fled to Paris when Germany annexed Austria, and then to Morocco.
After studying in yeshivas in Britain and Israel, Reichmann worked from 1953 to 1956 as the unpaid educational director of Ozar HaTorah, which runs Jewish day schools.
He and his wife move to Toronto in 1957, where he joined the family’s Olympia Tile, which later became Olympia & York.
The company built nearly 100 buildings in the Toronto area during its first 15 years of operation. He purchased eight Manhattan office buildings in 1977 for over $300 million, which ten years later were worth $3 billion. In 1980, the company was tapped to build the World Financial Center in New York.
Reichmann and his family donated up to $50 million a year to yeshivas, synagogues and hospitals around the world, according to the New York Times.
Olympia & York closed its construction sites on the Jewish Sabbath and Jewish religious holidays, as well as Christian ones. It paid overtime for workers on Sundays.