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Seymour Millstein, industry leader, dead at 81.

Seymour Millstein, who with his brother Paul, built a billion-dollar real estate empire which included holdings such as Bank of America Plaza and Emigrant Savings Bank, died Oct. 2 at New York Presbyterian Hospital. He was 81.

According to his children, Constance and Philip, the cause of death was pneumonia.

Millstein was chairman of the Millstein Group and Millstein Properties Corp., and also served as co-chairman of the board of trustees and chairman of the executive committee of the Emigrant Savings Bank.

Drawing upon the real estate ventures his father began in the 1940s and 50s, Seymour and his brother slowly built an impressive real estate portfolio. Among Millstein family holdings are 91 percent ownership of the Emigrant Savings Bank; 7 Hanover Square, a 846,000-SF, 27-story office building; Bank of America Plaza, a one-million-SF office building and several residential buildings including Windsor Court, Normandie Court, and Dorchester Towers.

The brothers worked for nearly five decades together, but in recent years, made headlines with family feuds involving several properties. In March Seymour, along with Philip and Constance, asked the courts to intervene in the sale of the Milford Plaza Hotel at 270 W. 45th St. Court documents cited relationships that were "strained to the breaking point" and accused Seymour's nephew Howard Millstein of attempting to exercise unilateral control over 'the family's holdings. A similar court remedy was used in the sale of a family-owned parking lot in Times Square at 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue.

Seymour was born in New York City. His father Morris started Circle Floor Company, a floor and ceiling company that installed the floors at Rockefeller Center. the World Trade Center, and other buildings. In 1941, he graduated from New York University and, in 1945, he married Vivian Leiner.

Shortly after World War II, he joined Mastic Tile Company, another company started by his father and, in 1955, he became the president of' the company. In 1959, the company was sold to Ruberoid, a building products company, for $24 million and he became a director and vice president. When the company was sold to GAF in 1967, however, Milstein was not offered an executive position. He and his brother tried to take control of the company, but failed.

In 1970, the family took control of Starrett Housing Corporation and United Brands, where Milstein served as chairman and chief executive officer from 1978 through 1985.

The family later sold those two businesses. In 1986, the Milsteins took control of the Emigrant Savings Bank and invested $90 million into it.

Milstein served as chairman emeritus of the executive committee of the board of trustees of the Presbyterian Hospital. He was also a director of the Americas Society and a member of the Brookings Council.

In a release issued in response to Seymour's death, Paul Milstein's family wrote "we will always cherish the happy times we shared and our many years together."
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Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Article Type:Obituary
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 10, 2001
Words:483
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