New York Real Estate Titan Jack Rudin Passes Away At 92
The benevolent developer changed the NYC skyline—and was also known for his civil work and belief in trade unions.
If the stereotype of a New York real estate scion is loud, brash, full of pomp and ego, then Jack Rudin, who passed away at the age of 92 at his home in Manhattan on Sunday, was cut from a different cloth. For one, he paid his taxes and famously encouraged other property owners to do likewise to help a near-bankrupt city. He was also a friend of trade unions, equally comfortable chatting with construction workers—or bankers.
Jack Rudin wasn’t a self-made man. His grandfather started the family business in 1902, but Jack and his younger brother Lewis, who died in 2001, were ground breakers—figuratively and literally. They partnered with the government and business groups, and organized labor that helped the city avoid bankruptcy in the 1970’s ensuring its revival. Landlording, in the Rudin playbook, was and should be an honorable profession.
Son Eric, president of Rudin Management, told the New York Times that his father “hated the word ‘landlord’, with all its negative connotations.” He added, “Developer may not be as bad a word, but in his mind, developers were just interested in turning over people’s properties whereas our family built rental apartment and office buildings and ever wanted to sell.”
It may stem from his background. Rudin wasn’t a shirker. Born on June 28th of 1924 in the Throggs Neck section of the Bronx, he earned a Bronze star for heroic service with the U.S. Army in World War II, helping to liberate Ohrdruf Nazi concentration camp. His father was a son of a grocer Louis Rudinsky, a Jewish immigrant from Poland, who was the first in the family to own property in Manhattan. In 1975, Jack and Lewis Rudin took over the real estate dynasty founded by their father Samuel. Their assets— office and apartment buildings—were valued at over $2 billion at the time.
Some of the key projects they were involved in included the design and construction of an office tower at 345 Park Avenue in Manhattan which occupies a full city block, 1 Battery Park Plaza in the Financial District and 3 Times Square, which houses Thomson Reuters at 42nd St.
Jack Rudin leaves behind his wife, Susan; son Eric, daughters Katherine and Madeleine, stepdaughters Inda Schaenen and Even Schaenen and three grandchildren.
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