Bernard Spitzer, Builder, Father of Former Gov, Dies

NEW YORK (Bloomberg) -

Bernard Spitzer, a developer of exclusive New York City buildings whose wealth fueled the political ascendancy of son Eliot as New York’s governor, died on Saturday. He was 90.

Spitzer was an exception to the image of the real estate titan as brash publicity seeker. He preferred to keep a low profile while building the luxury high rises that became his specialty.

His buildings include the 57-story Corinthian condominium on East 38th Street in Manhattan, the distinctively curved 35-story building at 200 Central Park South, and other high-end dwellings along the perimeter of Central Park.

Spitzer and his wife, Anne, directed some of their self-made wealth — various reports estimated it at $500 million — toward charities and the Democratic Party, in particular, the campaigns of their youngest son, Eliot.

Spitzer was credited for imbuing his politician-son with the relentless drive that became his trademark. Growing up, Eliot and his two siblings would be expected to participate in a nightly discussion at the dinner table about an important topic. They used games of Monopoly as opportunities to school them in the hard realities of business.

The son of Jewish immigrants from Austria, Bernard Spitzer was born on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. He was a founding donor and trustee of New York’s Museum of Jewish Heritage.