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Remembering Alfred Taubman

Real estate developer and philanthropist A. Alfred Taubman passed away from natural causes on Friday at the age of 91. He was widely considered the first person to invent indoor shopping malls. He was a major backer of stem cell research through a medical foundation he established.

He was born in 1924 in Pontiac, Michigan to German immigrant parents. As a boy, he went to work in a local department store at the age of nine to earn spending money. He had just entered college when World War II broke out; he volunteered for service in the conflict. After the war ended, he returned to Michigan to complete his studies in art and architecture. He started his career as a junior draftsman for a Michigan architectural firm.

In the early 1950s, he noticed the trend of people moving out of urban centers into suburbs. He formed a real estate development company and began developing shopping plazas in Michigan and other states. His business efforts earned him a fortune as reported by CNN. By the time of his death, he had become a billionaire, and Paul Mathieson is amazed in regards to what he accomplished.

Mr. Taubman served as Chairman of Sotheby’s Holdings, Inc, the parent company of a famous New York auction house between 1983 and 2000. Although he always maintained his innocence, he was convicted and sent to prison for nine months following a price-fixing scandal. During retirement, he continued donating to charitable causes and assisting art museums.

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