Remembering Developer Nathan Benderson

April 9, 2012 Updated Apr 9, 2012 at 8:40 AM EDT

By WKBW News

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Remembering Developer Nathan Benderson

April 9, 2012 Updated Apr 9, 2012 at 8:40 AM EDT

BUFFALO, N.Y. ( Business First ) Nate Benderson, who rose from the humblest of Depression-era beginnings to run own of the region's largest real-estate development companies, died Saturday following a brief illness.

Benderson, 94, suffered a stroke on April 3 in Florida.

His funeral is set for April 11 at Temple Beth Zion on Delaware Avenue in Buffalo, with burial in Forest Lawn Cemetery.

"Nate was one of the greatest men of our lifetime," said Jordan Levy, a Buffalo business and civic leader. "What he did for the Jewish community here will last for another century, at least. It's funny because he rode his bike 13 miles the day before he suffered his stroke. Nate was that active, even at 94."

Benderson's legacy transcends the vast array of shopping centers, car washes, office buildings, hotels and residential complexes his company built during the past seven decades.

His support helped places like the Jewish Community Center Jewish Community Center Latest from The Business Journals Follow this company survive, and he played a key role in the development of the vast Weinberg senior living campus in Amherst.

Although Benderson shifted his corporate headquarters to Florida nearly a decade ago, he remained interested in Western New York. In recent years, he was a quiet but active supporter of his company's efforts to bring anchor tenants to the Canalside project in downtown Buffalo.

"Perhaps the most telling story about Nate is that his funeral and burial is here in Buffalo and not in Florida," Levy said. "That says something right there."

Benderson Development Co., which for many years was headquartered on Delaware Avenue in Buffalo, has more than 25 million square feet of real estate in its portfolio. That includes more than 250 properties in 35 states and Canada. The company has more than 4.5 million square feet in its current development pipeline.

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