172. Ben Ashkenazy
Born in Israel and raised on Long Island, Ashkenazy bought his first building at age 17, after he went to a shopping center to check out a site to open a fast food restaurant. The recent high school grad realized the lease offered was below market value and decided to find a lender and buy the property instead. In between his real estate ventures, Ashkenazy took night classes at Adelphi but ended up 6 credits shy of graduating. No matter: The dealmaker has, through Ashkenazy Acquisitions, built a $12 billion portfolio that includes Boston’s Faneuil Hall and New York’s Plaza Hotel. Now he is setting his sights on Europe, purchasing London’s iconic Grosvenor House Hotel in July.