Canadian developer Paul Reichmann, visionary and founder of London’s iconic Canary Wharf has given up his stake in the project. Reichmann, now in his seventies saw the potential for development of the wasteland that was once the capital’s thriving docklands area. He brokered a deal for the 95 acre site with the then UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1987. Last week it was reported that he had to forfeit his remaining stake of 8.45% in the development as it had been called in by Commerzbank. The shares had been held as security against loans from Dresdner. Commerzbank had acquired Dresdner earlier this year.
Reichmann’s involvement in the docklands has been troubled almost from the onset with his company, Olympia and York being dragged into bankruptcy in 1992 as Canary Wharf struggled to find tenants in the previous downturn. He fought back and reacquired the property from the banks in 1995 only to lose control again in 2004.