NEW YORK - Paul Milstein, who used profits from the family flooring business to build a real-estate empire in New York City that was distinguished by major projects begun in uncertain neighborhoods and totaling 50,000 apartments, 8,000 hotel rooms, and 20 million square feet of office space, died Monday. He was 88.
His projects included three of the first luxury buildings near Lincoln Center, a luxury tower on the fringe of Harlem, and some of the first buildings in Battery Park City.
His purchase of the boarded-up Lincoln Hotel in 1978 and re-imagining of it as Milford Plaza is often seen as the beginning of Times Square's comeback.
Real Estate Weekly, a New York publication, said in 2005 that many Milstein projects had anchored and revived "ailing neighborhoods" and lauded Milstein for identifying those areas "long before most others."
Mr. Milstein's father, Morris, emigrated from Russia and started a business refinishing floors, and Paul learned the trade as a teenager.
In the early 1960s, he decided his future was in building, and with his older brother, Seymour, he built Dorchester Towers on 68th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue.
For decades, the brothers were a powerful team: Seymour was the diplomat who charmed bankers, Paul was the two-fisted builder who spoke plainly in a deep, froggy voice with a Bronx accent.
The two brothers later had an acrimonious split and never reconciled.