Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

Canadian Billionaire and Real Estate Tycoon David Azrieli Dies at 92

The founder of the Azrieli Group, which owns 13 shopping malls across Israel, died in his home north of Montreal on Wednesday

By: Peter Herriman

Published: July 9th, 2014 in News » World

Often known as the “king of shopping centres”, David Azrieli, the 9th richest Canadian citizen, is credited with actually inventing the Hebrew world for something that never really existed before in Israel.

“In Israel that is what he is called, the king of the shopping centers,” said Dori Segal, the Israeli-born chief executive of First Capital Realty Corp., one of Canada’s largest real estate companies.

Mr. Azrieli, an architect by profession, stepped down last week as chairman of the Azrieli Group Ltd, which he founded, due to poor health. Yesterday (Wednesday), he died in his home north of Montreal. He was 92.

His daughter Danna is now serving as acting chairwoman of the Azrieli Group.

The Polish-born architect escaped the ravages of the Holocaust by fleeing to Palestine, and later fought in Israel’s War of Independence. He came to Montreal in the 1950’s to grow what would eventually become a family empire in real estate and philanthropy.

According to Forbes, Mr. Azrieli’s family is said to have a net worth of US$3.1 billion.

The Azrieli Group owns 13 shopping malls in Israel as well as some of the largest office projects, including the dominating Azrieli Center, in Tel Aviv. It also owns stakes in Israeli-based credit card company Leumi Card, and 4.8% of Bank Leumi Le-Israel Ltd. The company also has interests in energy, water and environment companies.

In Canada, Mr. Azrieli served as president of the privately held real estate development and management company CanPro Investments Ltd., which is headquartered in downtown Montreal at the Dominion Square Building.

After stepping down, his daughter, Naomi Azrieli became the chairwoman and CEO of the family’s charitable group, the Azrieli Foundation, which provides support for people with developmental disabilities, research into neurological medicine, the arts, and Jewish educational programming.

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