Robert C. Baker, a leading real estate developer, philanthropist and member of the board at the Hudson’s Bay Co., died Sunday. He was 85 years old.
Baker founded and was chairman and chief executive officer of the National Realty Development Corp., one of the nation’s largest privately owned real estate development companies, controlling 22 million square feet of retail space in 76 shopping centers across 16 states.
The NRDC portfolio is comprised of 75 projects covering 22 million square feet including retail power centers, community shopping centers, corporate/industrial business parks and luxury residential. The 50-year-old NRDC is headquartered in Purchase, N.Y.
In addition to being on the board of HBC, which owns Saks Fifth Avenue, Saks Off 5th and Hudson’s Bay in Canada, Baker served on the boards of City & Suburban Savings Bank and the Retail Opportunity Investments Corp. In 1976, he was the executive director of Gerald Ford’s presidential election campaign for New York State.
Baker also served as trustee and treasurer of the Guggenheim Museum and a member of the museum’s executive committee, and a director of Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Together with his wife of 30 years, Christina, Baker gave generously to numerous educational, medical, cultural and Jewish causes. These included charities in New York; Greenwich, Conn., and Palm Beach, Fla., where the couple resided.
Baker was a graduate of Yale University, where he received his bachelor of arts and law degrees. In 2018, Yale University named a new academic, social and residential hub for law students, Robert C. and Christina Baker Hall, in honor of the couple’s gift toward its development. The building was the school’s first permanent physical expansion since 1931. He and his wife also established the Nathan Baker Professorship of Law in honor of his father.
The Hudson’s Bay Co. in a statement said, “We are saddened by the loss of Robert C. Baker, an esteemed and valued member of our board of directors. We extend our sincerest condolences to his loving wife of 30 years, Christina, his beloved children and grandchildren, and his wide circle of extended family, friends and colleagues.”
In addition to his wife, Baker is survived by his son Richard, who is executive chairman and chief executive officer of the Hudson’s Bay Co., as well as his other son, Nelson; daughters Lauren Pinkus and Ashley Baker; eight grandchildren, and his brother Gerald.
Funeral services will be held privately. The family requests those who wish to express sympathy consider a donation to the Central Park Conservancy in Baker’s memory.