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Ross, Stephen


ROSS, STEPHEN (1942– ), U.S. developer. A native of Detroit, Ross earned a bachelor's degree in accounting from the University of Michigan Business School and a law degree from Wayne State before obtaining a master's in tax law at New York University. He worked for two years as a tax lawyer at the Detroit office of Coopers & Lybrand, then a major accounting concern. He was influenced by the success of his uncle Max *Fisher, who built a business empire in oil and gas, and became one of the nation's leading philanthropists. Ross yearned to work in New York, and he picked up experience at two investment firms, as an assistant vice president in the real estate subsidiary of Laird, Inc. and in the corporate finance department of Bear, Stearns & Co. In 1971 he began to organize deals by which wealthy investors incurred risk-free tax losses in affordable housing to shelter other income. He combined the idea of tax losses for wealthy investors with the procurement of subsidies for affordable properties. In 1972 he founded Related Housing Companies with the goal of building or rehabilitating housing to blend into the community. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Ross and his team built on the success to expand into a wider range of developments, starting with Riverwalk, a large, planned mixed-use development along the East River in Manhattan, which was never built. Related built its first office complex, with 880,000 square feet, in Westchester. From these beginnings came diversification into retail, industrial, office and mixed use, and a name change to the Related Companies, which included New York Development, Related Urban Development, Related Lodging Group, Related Retail, Related Apartment Preservation, Related Management Company and Related Urban Management Company. There were offices in Miami, Chicago, and California in addition to New York, and the Related Group of Florida became the largest and most successful developer in the state. In New York, the Related Companies was the developer of the $1.7-billion, 2.8-million-square-foot Time Warner Center on Columbus Circle in Manhattan, which opened in 2004. The company's portfolio, valued in excess of $8 billion, made it one of the leading real-estate developers in the country. In 2004, Ross gave $100 million to the University of Michigan; it was the largest donation to any U.S. business school, and the university trustees promptly renamed the school the Stephen M. Ross School of Business. Ross was also involved in a number of philanthropies. He was active in planning for a major renovation of the Guggenheim Museum, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, in New York. He was a trustee of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Ross and his partners in the Time Warner Center contributed $60 million to build the core and shell of the 100,000-square-foot new home for Jazz at Lincoln Center. Ross was a long-time supporter of the United Jewish Appeal-Federation of New York and was honored by the Jewish Association of Services for the Aged, among other groups.

[Stewart Kampel (2nd ed.)]

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