How Failed a Foundation

Giant developer Olympia & York topples into bankruptcy court

FROM THE CLASSY WORLD FINANCIAL CENTER IN Manhattan to the 71-acre Canary Wharf office complex in London, Olympia & York has changed the face of some of the world's great cities. But last week the biggest builder on earth sought shelter in bankruptcy court in Toronto and New York City after its owners, Canada's secretive Reichmann brothers, struggled vainly for months to restructure $12 billion of debt. While the action marked one of the largest real estate bankruptcies ever, it covered only a portion of Olympia & York's vast holdings -- including its 72-story Toronto headquarters and the rest of its...

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