Paul Reichmann: The world-class developer behind London’s new City
Tuesday 29 October 2013
Paul Reichmann was personally frugal. “You’d be lucky to be offered anything more than orange juice,” says one property consultant of the founding father of London’s Canary Wharf, who died last Friday, aged 83. “Most of the time it was a glass of water, then out you go.”
But the Vienna-born developer, who had built up Olympia & York into America’s biggest property company by the mid-1980s, was anything but frugal when it came to preparing the ground for today’s second City of London of 100,000 folk.
No UK developers would go near the benighted London Docklands ground. They took their cue from the City Corporation, which seethed with scepticism over these parvenu foreigners spending huge sums on trying to compete with the Square Mile.
Mr Reichmann and his brother Albert were a sort of 1980s property equivalent of the Qatari royal family today – rich beyond imagining, discreet to the point of secrecy but regarded as men of honour.
The brothers brought to London world-class rather than UK-class development standards. Laying granite instead of concrete kerbs may sound trivial, but it set the tone – as did Reichmann’s employment of Caesar Pelli to build the first tower. Such was the awe in which he was held, Building Design Partnership put dozens of staff to work in the late Eighties, drawing up plans for the shopping centre at Canary Wharf on the strength of a single letter from Mr Reichmann.
He also took some terrible risks. O&Y spent £2bn on infrastructure between 1988 and 1992 before going bust. “We practically put the services in for the whole of the Isle of Dogs” says the Canary Wharf boss Sir George Iacobescu. “The first wave of development was forced; something we decided to do to create critical mass.” Mr Reichmann came back to Canary Wharf in the mid-Nineties after assembling a new group of investors.
“Although Paul’s day-to-day involvement with Canary Wharf Group effectively ceased in 2004, this ethos of pride in our work has remained at the core of the company,” he says.
Peter Bill is the author of ‘Planet Property’.
- 1 BBC told new political editor must be 'impartial' with Nick Robinson reportedly stepping down
- 2 Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
- 3 Humans of New York image of crying gay teen receives best response yet from Ellen DeGeneres
- 4 The map showing the most dangerous tourist destinations in Europe, according to the Foreign Office
- 5 Swedish minister gives strongest case yet on why EU should stop turning away asylum seekers
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
iJobs Money & Business
£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...
£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....
£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...