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Real Estate News

August 13, 2010

Remembering Paul Milstein, Real Estate Legend and Philanthropist

Paul Milstein, leading New York real estate developer, philanthropist, and friend to the School, died on August 9.


Paul Milstein, leading New York real estate developer, philanthropist, and friend to the School, died on August 9.

With his older brother Seymour, Milstein built the commercial and residential real estate powerhouse Milstein Properties. Over the course of his career, according to Forbes, Milstein was responsible for building approximately 50,000 apartments, 8,000 hotel rooms, and 20 million square feet of office space in New York City. His pioneering investments contributed to the development of Battery Park City and the redevelopment of lower Harlem and Times Square. “We felt that we made a contribution to the city of New York by redeveloping that entire rundown area,” Milstein told the New York Times in 1981 of his Milford Plaza project (the former boarded-up Lincoln Hotel).

Milstein was also a devoted member of the Columbia Business School community. In 2001, Milstein and his family created the Paul Milstein Family Endowment to establish the School’s Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate, which runs one of the top MBA real estate programs in the world. The endowment funds such annual events as mentoring breakfasts, luncheon speakers, and industry panels that bring together students with top real estate practitioners.

“The unparalleled generosity of Paul Milstein and his family has enabled the School’s Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate to build a global real estate community of students, scholars, and leading practitioners,” says Lynne B. Sagalyn, the Earle W. Kazis and Benjamin Schore Professor of Real Estate and director of the center.

As part of the Milstein family’s gift to found the center, the Paul Milstein Professorship was established in 2004. Currently held by professor and senior vice dean Chris Mayer, the professorship is awarded to a senior faculty member at the School whose field of study is real estate.

Milstein’s son, Howard, serves on the center’s advisory board and is a member of its Real Estate Forum, a by-invitation-only group of real estate executives from around the world who meet several times each year to discuss issues of strategic importance to the real estate industry. Howard, who now manages Milstein Properties and Milford Management and is chairman of New York Private Bank & Trust, was honored by the center in 2009 as a “Distinguished Real Estate Partner.”

Milstein’s son-in-law, David Zalaznick, founder and managing principal of The Jordan Company LP and chairman of Jordan/Zalaznick Advisers, Inc., is a member of the School’s Board of Overseers.

The Milstein family’s philanthropic legacy extends to hospitals, universities, and other causes, including the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life at the American Museum of Natural History; the terrace and pool at Lincoln Center; and the Milstein Hospital Building of New York Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center.

Milstein is survived by his wife, Irma; his sons Howard and Edward; his daughters Roslyn Milstein Meyer and Barbara Susan Milstein Zalaznick; his sister, Gloria Flanzer; 11 grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

The family kindly requests that any gifts in Paul Milstein’s honor be made to the Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate. Checks should be made payable to Columbia Business School. For more information, please contact Lauren Sprengel at ls2070columbia.edu or 212-854-0719.