Jack Rudin, Head of New York Real Estate Dynasty, Dies at 92

  • He was patriarch to one of the wealthiest families in the U.S.
  • The Rudin empire began with the purchase of property in 1905

Jack Rudin, the leader of a New York real estate dynasty and one the nation’s wealthiest families, has died. He was 92.

He died Dec. 4 at home in Manhattan, Jacqueline Hlavenka, a family spokeswoman, said by telephone. The cause was pneumonia.

Jack Rudin

Source: Family photo

The chairman of Rudin Management Co. was patriarch to a family whose role in New York real estate traces its roots to the purchase of a single property on East 54th Street in 1905. Today it is among the largest private landlords in the city and owns 16 office properties, including 80 Pine St., which occupies a full block near the New York Stock Exchange, according to the firm’s website

Rudin Management also owns rental buildings and is developing the site of the former St. Vincent’s hospital in Greenwich Village into a condominium project called Greenwich Lane.

Two Brothers

The family was the 61st wealthiest clan in the U.S. as of 2015, according to Forbes. Rudin presided over their empire with his brother, Lewis Rudin, until the younger sibling died in 2001. Jack Rudin oversaw construction and development, while Lewis Rudin was the public face of the company and its rental agent.  

Lewis Rudin’s son, William, is vice chairman and chief executive officer of the firm, and Jack Rudin’s son, Eric, is vice chairman and president.

Jack Rudin was born June 28, 1924, in the Bronx, New York, to Samuel Rudin and the former May Cohen.

He graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School and briefly attended City College in New York before enlisting in the U.S. Army in 1942. Serving in Europe during World War II, he achieved the rank of staff sergeant, was awarded the Bronze Star and helped liberate Nazi concentration camps, according to the statement.

First Building

The family first got into New York real estate when Rudin’s grandfather, Louis Rudinsky, a Polish immigrant, bought a building at 153 E. 54th St. in 1905. Today, it remains in the family’s portfolio along with several surrounding properties. Samuel Rudin and his brothers created Rudin Management in the early 1920s and turned it over to their sons in the 1970s, according to the firm’s website.

Jack Rudin oversaw the construction and design of many commercial and residential buildings including 345 Park Ave., 1 Battery Park Plaza and 3 Times Square. The company has more than 800 employees.

In the 1970s, he was one of a group of real estate executives who rallied their
industry to prepay their property taxes to help the city avoid bankruptcy.

Marathon Backers

Rudin’s philanthropy included sponsorship, with his brother, of the New York City Marathon, which named its trophy after Samuel Rudin, a long-distance runner. In the 1970s, the Rudin family helped move the race out of Central Park and onto the streets of the five boroughs that constitute New York City.

The marathon “doesn’t sell space or apartments,” Rudin told New York magazine in 1982. “It’s just a great civic event. It’s just goodwill.”

In addition to his son, survivors include his wife, Susan; two daughters, Madeleine Rudin Johnson and Katherine Rudin; and stepchildren, Inda Schaenen and Eve Schaenen. His first wife, Roberta, died in 1983.

— With assistance by Oshrat Carmiel

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