Developer Paul Milstein, who with his older brother Seymour built the influential commercial and residential real estate firm Milstein Properties, died this morning.
Paul, born in 1923, was the more aggressive of the two, but together they built and diversified the family’s enterprises. In March, Forbes ranked Paul and the family as number 237 among the world’s billionaires, with a net worth of $3.8 billion.
Seymour and Paul were the sons of Russian immigrant Morris Milstein, who came to the Bronx in 1919, eventually founding a major commercial flooring company called Circle Floor.
The brothers began developing properties in secondary locations in the 1960s — the first was the Dorchester Tower near Lincoln Center — and eventually came to own about 3 million square feet of office space and 8,000 apartment units.
The two ran Milstein Properties, but diversified their holdings as well, owning at one time companies such as brokerage Douglas Elliman & Company, which later became Prudential Douglas Elliman, lender Emigrant Savings Bank and property owner Starrett Housing.
“Paul Milstein was not just a giant in his industry, he was a great New Yorker who helped build our city,” Steven Spinola, president of the Real Estate Board of New York, said in a statement.
Paul became less active in the business after heart surgery, according to reports.
Seymour died in 2001 at the age of 80. While the two brothers for many years were close, dining at the Rainbow Room daily, they were reportedly not speaking to one another at the time of his death.
Turmoil over succession had caused a family feud, and the family holdings were split between Paul’s children Howard, Edward, Barbara and Rosyln and Seymour’s children Philip and Constance. Paul is also survived by his wife Irma.
Howard now operates Milstein Properties and Milford Management, with holdings in Battery Park City, as well as on the Upper East Side with the Claridge House on East 87th StreetAnd Highgate On East 95th Street.
Milstein Properties declined to comment.