The generous icon who built Canary Wharf

Marion Dakers
THE MAN who transformed Canary Wharf from derelict dockland into a financial powerhouse died on Friday at the age of 83.

Paul Reichmann, a Vienna-born Canadian, led the construction of east London’s iconic skyscrapers after a request from Margaret Thatcher to revive the site in 1987.

He saw his family company, Olympia & York, fall into administration when Canary Wharf struggled to attract tenants in 1992 – only to buy back the site three years later and bring in the world’s biggest banks to the new towers.

Reichmann’s company had already helped turn Manhattan into a high-rise business hub by backing the World Financial Center in the 1980s.

“His legacy will remain on the skyline of London, Toronto, New York and numerous cities across North America,” said George Iacobescu, chairman and chief executive of Canary Wharf Group. “Despite his success, Paul was a very humble man, with deeply held personal religious views, and he supported a large number of charitable causes. He oversaw initiatives in the early days of Canary Wharf which ensured local east end residents would get some of the benefits of the project.”