One of the great hotel developers has passed away. Second-generation developer William Zeckendorf Jr., whose work includes the Four Seasons Hotel in New York, has died at his Santa Fe, N.M., home. He was 84.
Of the Four Seasons Hotel, the New York Post writes that Zeckendorf was proud of having brought in I. M. Pei as the architect to tweak the original Frank Williams design.
Beyond hotels, Zeckendorf was a pioneer, credited with helping shape the New York landscape, particularly in developing buildings in considerably less glamorous neighborhoods.
Maybe his most famous project was the full-block office and separate residential buildings known as Worldwide Plaza at Eighth Avenue and 50th Street that had been vacated when Madison Square Garden moved to Penn Station. Years ago, this location, too, wasn't deemed desirable. Today it's occupied by companues such as law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore and Universal.
He also is remembered for his work on the Upper West side of Manhattan, as The New York Times writes. "After Lincoln Center opened in 1962, developers built housing in the immediate vicinity, but few ventured north of 72nd Street into what the real-estate industry called 'the wild, wild west.' But in 1981, Zeckendorf broke ground on a 35-story building called the Columbia at Broadway and 96th Street for luxury condominiums in what had been a community garden.
"The Columbia was pivotal because it stabilized the West Side," Mr. Zeckendorf told The Times in 1986. “Until then, there had been an uncertainty about where the area was going. The Columbia proved there was a demand for quality construction."