Roger Rechler Played Major Part in Long Island’s Evolution
- Mar 17, 2008
Pioneering real estate developer Roger Rechler, who died last week of complications from lung cancer, played a major part in Long Island’s transformation into an area with a substantial amount of office and industrial space. Rechler (pictured), who passed away on March 13th at age 66, a managing partner of Rechler Equity Partners, was instrumental in guiding the development, ownership and operations of the largest commercial real estate portfolio on Long Island, which comprised 100 buildings, totaling more than 6 million square feet of space. Rechler (pictured), along with his father, the late William Rechler, and his brother, Donald, co-founded Reckson Associates in 1968. He and his family were trailblazers in building flex industrial parks and tilt-up big box industrial properties, converting obsolete warehouse buildings into Class A office space, employing computerized electric and HVAC building systems and offering shared amenities in multi-tenant office buildings, such as health clubs and cafeterias. Reckson was also notable on Long Island for incorporating all of the disciplines of design and ownership under one roof–from design and construction to leasing and management. “In my eulogy, I said he was a student, a builder, a teacher,” said his son, Scott, chairman & CEO of Rexcorp. “His whole vision was to build a community, not just a one-off building.” His father was also focused on issues such as energy conservation long before such issues were fashionable, Rechler said. “He and my father, Donald, were in the real estate business for 40 years,” said Mitchell Rechler, Roger Rechler’s nephew and a managing partner of Rechler Equity Partners. “Together, they were extremely influential in changing the landscape of the Long Island business community through development.” Rechler and his brother were joined in the business by their children in the 1980s and grew their portfolio–primarily through new development–to 72 properties, totaling 4.5 million square feet of space on Long Island, valued at $285 million, before taking the company public as a REIT in 1995. Over the next five years, they grew the REIT through acquisition and development to a portfolio of 25 million square feet throughout Long Island, Westchester, New Jersey and Manhattan, valued at over $3.5 billion. In 2003, Rechler and his brother, along with their sons Mitchell and Gregg, returned to the family’s roots in entrepreneurial real estate development. Forming Rechler Equity Partners, they brought back their original Long Island portfolio from the REIT, building it to its current size of 100 buildings totaling 6 million square feet. The firm was recently awarded the development rights for 300 acres of high-tech industrial property in Calverton, N.Y., for 2.5 million square feet of space, at what will be called Enterprise Park of Calverton. Roger Rechler had a wide array of interests outside of commercial real estate. He assembled a large collection of American classic literature, was a gourmet cook, and an avid student of architecture, landscape architecture, history, politics and sports. He was also very well known in the dog show world, as a breeder of Afghan Hounds. His dogs won 300-plus Best in Show awards. .