Manhattan House developer Jeremiah O’Connor dies

October 08, 2010 06:45PM

O’Connor Capital managing partner’s passing comes less than a month after his son’s death

Jeremiah W. O’Connor, Manhattan House

Jeremiah W. O’Connor, the managing partner of O’Connor Capital Partners, and the lead developer behind the Manhattan House condominium, died early this morning.

O’Connor’s death comes less than a month after the passing of his 34-year-old son, Jeremiah William O’Connor III, an executive at O’Connor Capital Partners, who died suddenly Sept. 9.

Officials at O’Connor Capital Partners, which O’Connor led for nearly three decades, were said to be devastated by the news.

O’Connor, 68, was one of the highest profile developers and real estate investors in the city. O’Connor, a founder and chief investment officer at Corporate Property Investors beginning in 1971, left the firm in 1983 and founded the O’Connor Group.

That firm started out as a retail specialist and later evolved into a private equity and real estate advisory firm.

In 2005, O’Connor teamed up with developer Richard Kalikow to buy the landmark residential tower, Manhattan House, at 200 East 66th Street, for $623 million, marking the largest single purchase of a residential building in New York history.

O’Connor later took over the role as lead developer after a highly publicized legal battle with Kalikow, and successfully completed the Manhattan House conversion against considerable opposition by tenants and a weakening environment for commercial real estate.

“Jerry was a brilliant and successful businessman who never lost his desire to help others,” said Dewey & Lebouf attorney Stuart Saft, who represents the Manhattan House sponsor. “He was wonderful and a loving husband, father and grandfather, who always had time for his family.”

Tenants at Manhattan House said they learned of the passing earlier today.

“Although we certainly had our differences with him, particularly at the outset of the Manhattan House conversion, I genuinely believe he was a man of integrity and principle,” said attorney Rafael Urquia II, president of the Manhattan House Tenants Group.

Attorney Adam Leitman Bailey, who represents tenants and a number of condo buyers at Manhattan House, said: “Even though he was an adversary he was a very good man and an honor to be at the same negotiating table with.”

O’Connor, of Bronxville, N.Y., graduated from  Holy Cross College in 1963 and Harvard Business School in 1967 and served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy. He is survived by his wife, Joan, five children and 15 grandchildren.