At Forest City, our vision is to be the real estate leader and partner-of-choice in creating distinctive places to live, work and shop. That vision springs from our history, a true example of the American dream.
Forest City was founded in 1920 after the Ratowczer (later changed to Ratner) family emigrated to the U.S from Poland. Through hard work and good fortune, the family materials business - built by four siblings, Charles, Max, Leonard and Fannye Ratner - grew and expanded beyond the founders' wildest dreams.
The Company originally sold building materials to contractors, eventually expanding into retail. In the 1930s, the company purchased its initial lots for community development and bought it first apartment building. Forest City built prefabricated apartment housing in the 1940s, while also developing its first strip shopping malls.
Forest City’s real estate operations continued to grow as the Company went public in 1960, initially offering 450,000 shares over the counter and joining the American Stock Exchange a few months later and eventually joining the New York Stock Exchange.
The 1960, 70s and 80s saw the company’s development footprint expand from the Midwest to California and New York as it became known for complex urban developments. The company would exit the retail and lumber businesses to focus on the ownership, management and development of real estate.
In the past two decades, Forest City undertook and completed some of its most well-known projects, including the world-renowned Stapleton community in Denver, The New York Times Building in Manhattan, University Park at MIT near Boston, and Victoria Gardens in California.
In 2011, David J. LaRue succeeded Charles A. Ratner as CEO, becoming the first chief executive in Forest City’s history who is not related to the founding family.
The company recently celebrated the grand opening of Barclays Center, a state-of-the-art arena in downtown Brooklyn, the new home of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets and the anchor element of the overall Atlantic Yards development.
Today, Forest City’s diverse portfolio includes hundreds of properties throughout the U.S., with a distinct focus on retail, office and apartments, as well as selected opportunities to bring these types together in large, mixed-use projects that create a unique sense of place.
As many at Forest City are proud to say, “we stand on the shoulders of giants,” meaning the men and women who built the company from the ground up. The company continues that legacy today as it strives to grow strategically and create value for stakeholders and communities.