Watch: The billionaires who back big real estate developers

A look at the money behind some headline-grabbing projects

From left: Eric Schmidt, Bill Gates, Beny Steinmetz, and Charles and David Koch
From left: Eric Schmidt, Bill Gates, Beny Steinmetz, and Charles and David Koch

“Other people’s money” — a maxim in real estate — works best when those other people are billionaires.

Many of the biggest developers and most ambitious projects across the country are backed, often in secret, by some of America’s wealthiest family offices. The Real Deal’s Hiten Samtani identified some of the key sources of capital flowing into headline-grabbing developments from office towers to luxury condos.

The roster ranges from former Google CEO Eric Schmidt to Persian carpet king Morad Ghadamian, Texas billionaire Ray C. Davis and embattled Israeli mining tycoon Beny Steinmetz.

“HFZ went to great lengths to hide Steinmetz’s involvement,” Samtani said of Ziel Feldman’s development firm, no stranger to problems itself. “But it’s all in the documents.”

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“My personal favorite is the quiet heavyweight, Eyal Ofer,” Samtani added, speaking of the billionaire who’s backed the Zeckendorfs’ 15 Central Park West and the Rudins’ Greenwich

Lane. “I get a good table at restaurants even without having my picture in the paper,” Ofer once told Haaretz. “I’m good at business, not at talking.”

Watch the above video for a snapshot of some of the seriously wealthy families making bets on developments. And check out our recent profile of one of the most active of them all, tech billionaire Michael Dell.

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