Top 10 North Amer­i­can Real Es­tate De­vel­op­ers

Net worth: $15.2 bil­lion*

CAIFU - - Contents - By Mil­lie Lou

Don­ald Bren, 84, is Amer­ica’s wealth­i­est real es­tate de­vel­oper. Born in Los An­ge­les, his father was a Hol­ly­wood pro­ducer and, on the side, a real es­tate in­vestor. There, Bren was first ex­posed to the real es­tate busi­ness. In 1955, af­ter grad­u­at­ing from the Univer­sity of Wash­ing­ton with a de­gree in busi­ness ad­min­is­tra­tion and eco­nomics, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps for three years. He re­turned to Cal­i­for­nia in 1958 and promptly founded the Bren Com­pany, a builder in Or­ange County, an area cov­er­ing pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tions in­clud­ing Ana­heim, New­port Beach, La­guna Beach and Irvine. In 1977, two decades af­ter build­ing his com­pany, Bren and a group of in­vestors pur­chased the Irvine Com­pany, which owned the Irvine Ranch, a prop­erty that spanned 93,000 acres, ac­count­ing for 20 per­cent of Or­ange County. Bren slowly ac­quired more shares of that com­pany un­til he be­came the sole owner in 1996. The Cal­i­for­nia na­tive is cred­ited with mas­ter plan­ning many of the Golden State’s com­mu­ni­ties, par­tic­u­larly the City of Irvine. Com­mu­ni­ties de­vel­oped by Bren of­fer a bal­anced home where lo­cals can live, work and play with ease. He is also a proud phi­lan­thropist, es­ti­mated to have given more than $1.3 bil­lion. His achieve­ments in­clude do­nat­ing more than 60 per­cent of the Irvine Ranch to be pro­tected open space and park­land, and giv­ing more than $200 mil­lion to schools and univer­si­ties.

*All fig­ures are in U.S. dol­lars un­less oth­er­wise noted and all net worth fig­ures are re­ported by Forbes as of Novem­ber 16, 2016

Don­ald Bren Chair­man of Irvine Com­pany, LLC

An­drew Beal, 64, is best known for found­ing the Beal Bank in Dal­las in 1988. Be­fore bank­ing, though, he was a real es­tate in­vestor. At 19, Beal bought a house in his home­town in Michi­gan and started leas­ing it for a monthly in­come. Beal be­came known for buy­ing, re­pair­ing and then sell­ing prop­er­ties for a profit. In 1981, Beal and an­other in­vestor part­nered up to buy two di­lap­i­dated build­ings in New Jer­sey for $25,000. Two years later, the flipped build­ings were sold for $3.2 mil­lion. Through Beal Bank, the Michi­gan na­tive con­tin­ues to in­vest in real es­tate. Dur­ing the fi­nan­cial cri­sis of 2008, the bank pur­chased com­mer­cial and real es­tate loans. In 2000, Beal Bank was named the most prof­itable Amer­i­can bank by Amer­i­can Banker, a dis­tin­guished fi­nan­cial news­pa­per. Beal is also a math­e­ma­ti­cian; in his youth he stud­ied math­e­mat­ics at the Michi­gan State Univer­sity and he is self-taught in num­bers the­ory math­e­mat­ics. Beal has do­nated mil­lions to ed­u­ca­tion, in par­tic­u­lar to the fields of sci­ence and en­gi­neer­ing. He also spon­sors two sci­ence fairs an­nu­ally and pre­vi­ously gifted $1 mil­lion to Dal­las’ Perot Mu­seum of Na­ture and Sci­ence.

An­drew Beal Founder and Chair­man of Beal Bank

Stephen Ross Founder and Chair­man of Re­lated Com­pa­nies

Born in Detroit, Stephen Ross, 76, is one of New York City’s most prom­i­nent de­vel­op­ers. In the 1960s, Ross earned a busi­ness de­gree from the Univer­sity of Michi­gan, a law de­gree from Michi­gan’s Wayne State Univer­sity, and a Mas­ter of Laws in Tax­a­tion from New York Univer­sity. Upon grad­u­a­tion, he prac­tised law in Detroit and later moved to New York City to work on Wall Street as an in­vest­ment banker. In 1972, the now- de­funct Bears Stern fired Ross, which spurred him to found Re­lated Com­pa­nies. Ross uti­lized his tax knowl­edge to de­velop af­ford­able hous­ing, an area that al­lowed more tax breaks. As his rep­u­ta­tion grew in the af­ford­able hous­ing sec­tor, he started land­ing con­tracts for more lux­ury de­vel­op­ments, in­clud­ing the Time Warner Cen­ter in Man­hat­tan. Com­pleted in 2004, the Twin Tow­ers over­look­ing Cen­tral Park has won many awards for its mixed- use de­sign and of­fice space. Even though Ross stepped down as CEO in 2012, he re­mains in­volved with Re­lated’s projects. One of the com­pany’s high pro­file de­vel­op­ments is Hud­son Yards, a 28- acre plot in mid­town Man­hat­tan lo­cated less than 2 kilo­me­tres west of the Em­pire State Build­ing. The project is Amer­ica’s largest pri­vate real es­tate de­vel­op­ment and it will be the site of of­fice build­ings, res­i­dences, parks, re­tail stores and even a pub­lic school. As Ross’s wealth has grown, so has his gen­eros­ity. He has do­nated more than $ 300 mil­lion to his alma mater, the Univer­sity of Michi­gan. Ross also owns an NFL team, the Mi­ami Dol­phins.

Stan­ley Kroenke, 69, grew up in a small town in Mis­souri where his father owned a lum­ber com­pany. He at­tended the Univer­sity of Mis­souri, where he earned a de­gree in busi­ness in 1971 and an MBA in 1973. A year later, he mar­ried Anne Wal­ton, who is the daugh­ter of Wal­mart co-founder Bud Wal­ton. They met while on va­ca­tion in Aspen. Kroenke’s rise to suc­cess is of­ten as­so­ci­ated with Wal­marts’ ex­pan­sion around the coun­try. The job he took out of univer­sity was for a Mis­souri re­tail de­vel­oper that built many strip malls an­chored by Wal­mart. In 1983, he founded The Kroenke Group that pri­mar­ily built shop­ping cen­ters. Again, his com­pany’s projects of­ten fea­tured Wal­mart stores. In 1991, he founded THF Realty with his then­part­ner Michael Staen­berg to build more shop­ping cen­ters. They are now em­broiled in mul­ti­ple law­suits. Aside from strip malls, Kroenke in­vests in sports sta­di­ums. In fact, he founded Kroenke Sports & En­ter­tain­ment, LLC in 1999 to own and op­er­ate sports en­ter­tain­ment fa­cil­i­ties. The reclu­sive bil­lion­aire, also known as Silent Stan, is a sports en­thu­si­ast. He owns the L.A. Rams in the NFL, Lon­don’s pre­mier soc­cer club Arse­nal, the Den­ver Nuggets in the NBA, the Colorado Avalanche in the NHL, the Colorado Rapids in the MLS, and the Colorado Mam­moth in the Na­tional Lacrosse League.

E. Stan­ley Kroenke Founder of The Kroenke Group and THF Realty

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