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Edward J. Minskoff: Builder and Philanthropist

By Robert Bao

  • Published: 06/10/2013
Ed Minskoff makes a point with Eli and Edythe Broad during the dedication of MSU’s Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum in November 2012.


          Before construction of the Broad Art Museum, issues emerged between MSU and Architect Zaha Hadid.  An alumnus who is one of the nation’s top developers stepped forward for MSU.  He took over the negotiations and eventually got all sides to come to terms, thus enabling the completion last fall of MSU’s  spectacular new art museum.  The hero was Edward J. Minskoff, ’62, president of Edward J. Minskoff Equities, Inc., a New York-based real estate acquisition and development company which owns and manages over five million square feet of office space plus residential and retail properties in Manhattan and other major cities.  “Sometimes the private sector can contribute significantly to institutional decisions, especially complicated ones,” says Minskoff, who, along with his wife Julie, donated $3 million to the MSU project along with a major Jonathan Prince sculpture and a Jasper Johns print.  “We’re glad to be able to help both the design selection and development process.  The end product is a fantastic architectural gem that will bring tremendous recognition and credibility to Michigan State.”  Born in New York, Edward grew up in Washington, DC, Southern California and Detroit.  He chose to attend MSU because, in his words, “I felt (the late) Walter Adams was the most brilliant economist around at the time.”  He calls MSU “all in all a great experience, even though no undergraduate program totally prepares you for the cruel world.”  Edward earned an honorary doctorate from MSU in 2009.  Early in his career, Edward showed his skill for development.  He quickly rose to become CEO and principal of Olympia & York, where he was responsible for 16 new projects, including the World Financial Center.  In 1987, he founded his own company and has developed a reputation for quality buildings, having developed 37 million square feet in 10 cities.  “Architectural integrity is important to me,” says Edward, who has used world-class architects like I.M. Pei, Cesar Pelli and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.  Edward is a trustee of NYU’s Langone Medical Center and active with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Friends of Modern Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles).  Edward and Julie are avid collectors of contemporary art and own a collection that includes works by Picasso, Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, Jackson Pollock, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Willem de Kooning, Alexander Calder, Frank Stella, Richard Prince and Oldenburg.     

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