TORONTO -- Few Canadian business executives ever achieved the legendary status Paul Reichmann did in the years before his family-controlled real estate empire collapsed.
Reichmann, who died Friday at the age of 83, built Olympia and York Developments into a $25-billion empire that was once the world's largest private real estate company.
An employee for ReichmannHauer Capital Partners, a Toronto company run by his son-in-law, Frank Hauer, and nephew, Phillip Reichmann, confirmed his death. She provided no further details and wouldn't give her name.
Reichmann, with his brothers Albert and Ralph, turned a Toronto tile company into a major international property developer that became the name behind some of the best-known projects in the world before eventually going bankrupt in the early 1990s.
Among the major financial complexes it built were Canary Wharf in London, the World Financial Center in New York City and First Canadian Place, the tallest skyscraper in Toronto.
Paul Reichmann was born in 1931, the son of a Vienna egg exporter. His family fled the Nazis during the 1940s and ended up in the Moroccan port of Tangier for several years before arriving in Canada in 1956.
The family opened a tile importing venture that led to real estate when the brothers realized it would be cheaper to construct a new warehouse themselves than hire a builder.
The Reichmanns first became a force in Canadian real estate in the 1970s as they expanded their presence from Toronto to Ottawa and the West.
-- The Canadian Press