Prolific LA Developer Robert Maguire III Dies at 86

The Maguire Properties founder reshaped downtown development

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Robert F. Maguire III, a prolific developer who shaped Los Angeles’ skyline and major office districts, died on Tuesday due to complications caused by pneumonia, according to the Los Angeles Times. He was 86 years old. 

Maguire’s trophy developments include the 73-story U.S. Bank Tower — one of the tallest buildings west of the Mississippi River — the Gas Company Tower, Wells Fargo Center, KPMG Tower, Pasadena’s Plaza Las Fuentes, and the Glendale Center. His impact is seen throughout the region from downtown to the beach; he’s also credited with helping to shape Playa Vista into a prominent Silicon Beach district. 

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Maguire graduated from UCLA and started his career working with many of the country’s largest corporations and real estate developers with Security Pacific National Bank. He founded Maguire Properties in 1965, and initially specialized in industrial and housing projects. He started commercial office building development in 1968 with the Northrop Building in Century City. 

The sprawling city of L.A. started to grow up in the 1990s, led by Maguire’s developments of the U.S. Bank Tower in 1990, and Gas Company Tower one year later, which led a development boom in Downtown L.A. 

“Rob was never content with being less than big size-wise and he wanted to expand,” Rick Gilchrist, a former co-chief executive at Maguire Properties, told the L.A. Times. “He was a big-hearted person and could be tough as nails. He absolutely wouldn’t quit.”

The firm expanded quickly in the run up to the 2007-2008 global financial crisis, paying $2.8 billion for a portfolio of 24 office buildings in Los Angeles and Orange County in early 2007. The ill-timed acquisition eventually led to spiraling loan defaults and in 2008, the firm parted ways with Maguire.

Two years later, the firm was renamed MPG Office Trust and was eventually acquired by Brookfield Office Properties in 2013. 

Maguire continued developing throughout his life, including the Water’s Edge campus in Playa Vista, and other major projects in Glendale, Santa Monica, Philadelphia, and Dallas.

Maguire is also credited with helping to expand the Los Angeles County Museum of Art campus by convincing the county and museum board to purchase the adjacent eight-acre May Company site at a price he negotiated. Maguire served as a board member of LACMA and the Los Angeles Music Center, and a trustee of St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica.