A lengthy article in the Miami Herald has provided fascinating details on the life – and global real estate empire – of Related Companies chairman Stephen M. Ross.
Related Companies, along with Toronto-based Oxford Properties, is the prime mover behind Hudson Yards, the largest real estate development in American history.
The article details the 75-year-old Ross’s rise from humble origins to the #71 ranking on the Forbes 400 list. His father was a failed inventor who moved his family from Detroit to Miami beach, where he managed a hotel owned by Ross’s grandfather.
Although he didn’t see much playing time as a member of the varsity squad at Miami Beach High, today Ross is the principal owner of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins.
Ross founded Related in 1972; the Herald reports that the company “grew from building affordable housing, creating expertise in public-private partnerships.” According to Related’s website, the company became “the leading financier and developer of affordable housing in the country.”
The company almost collapsed during the real-estate crash of the 1990s. “I could have gone bankrupt,” Ross told the Herald. “Instead I changed to a safer, more conservative viewpoint that also allowed me to grow the company.”
In 2004, Related’s profile soared with the opening of the Time Warner Center in Columbus Circle. Since then, it has pursued enormous real estate developments around the world. According to the Herald, these include a 192-acre village in London; a $950 million Frank Gehry-designed commercial and residential district in Los Angeles; and a a 3.1 million square-foot retail, entertainment, hotel and residential complex.
The Herald also details Ross’s many philanthrophic ventures. He has donated more than $300 million to his alma mater, the University of Michigan, and has pledged to donate half his $6.7-billion wealth to charity.
The Herald also points out that even though Ross and Related are widely respected, they sometimes make mistakes – as in the case of a 2014 civil-rights lawsuit, in which the company was charged with not providing adequate disability access in some of its New York apartment buildings.