Albert Reichmann was a prominent Canadian businessman and philanthropist, best known as one of the Reichmann brothers who led the Olympia & York (O&Y) real estate empire. Renowned for his astute commercial sense and profound charitable dedication, Albert was a pivotal figure in the advancement of prominent real estate initiatives across the globe.
Albert Reichmann was born in Vienna, Austria, in the early 1930s. He and his family lived through the turbulent World War II years. He was mostly homeschooled. The Reichmanns were an Orthodox Jewish family who moved to Paris and then to Morocco to escape the growing Nazi threat.
Albert was profoundly impacted by these early experiences of persecution and exile, which gave him a strong sense of community and faith that would serve as a compass for both his personal and professional life.
He and his brothers would build the World Financial Center in New York as well as the first phase of Canary Wharf in London. The billionaire patriarch and his brothers would become very well known in the financial industry and WFO would be the largest private owner of commercial properties in NYC.
It is impossible to talk about Reichmann’s career without bringing up the close-knit family company. In the 1950s, Albert joined his brothers Paul and Ralph in the real estate industry. Their activities were formerly situated in Morocco, but they had to relocate to Toronto, Canada due to political unrest there. They established Olympia & York in Canada, which grew to become one of the biggest real estate development companies in the world.
Some of the most famous structures, like the World Financial Center in New York and Canary Wharf in London, were developed by O&Y under their direction. Albert was renowned for his conservative attitude to finance and his painstaking attention to detail. But O&Y was badly struck by the recession of the 1990s, which resulted in its bankruptcy in 1992. This was a significant blow to the Reichmanns, but Albert, with his resilience, continued to be involved in real estate and philanthropic activities.
In Reichmann’s life, great commercial success coexisted with a strong devotion to philanthropy. Resilience, faith, and a strong sense of community duty characterized his journey from the early days of fleeing persecution to creating a global real estate company.
Even though he led a rather secluded life, his influence on Jewish culture and cityscapes throughout the world is a living witness to his life’s work. Albert’s tale is entwined with a larger narrative of creativity, crises, and charity as a member of the illustrious Reichmann family, reflecting a complicated history of both enormous triumphs and severe struggles.
Forbes magazine once estimated the net worth of Mr. Reichmann and his brothers, devout Orthodox Jewish sons of a rabbi who escaped Vienna in 1938 just as the Nazis were about to engulf Europe in war, to be close to $10 billion. However, their real estate venture, Olympia & York Developments, faced bankruptcy in 1992 following a severe downturn in the London property market that left them deeply in debt.
Despite these challenges, the Reichmanns managed to rebuild a substantial portfolio, known as O & Y Properties, which they successfully sold to Brookfield Properties in 2005, marking a significant recovery and continuation of their business endeavors.
Albert’s mother was known for her aid to concentration camp prisoners and refugees throughout World War II. Inspired by her charitable legacy, Albert continued this benevolent path by contributing to Jewish educational facilities and places of worship worldwide, focusing particularly on communities in Israel, Hungary, and the former Soviet Union.
Reichmann died in Toronto, Canada on December 17, 2022 at 93 years old.
At the height of their success, the Reichmann family was among the wealthiest in the world. Their net worth was estimated in the billions, with Albert’s personal share significant.
Albert Reichmann’s achievements are many, both in the business world and in his philanthropic endeavors. Here are some highlights of this: