Martin W. Field, 87, of Villanova, a developer of apartment buildings and hotels in the Philadelphia area, New York, and Florida, died Sunday, March 11, of liver failure at his home.
Mr. Field developed the Presidential Apartments and the City Line Holiday Inn along the Philadelphia-Bala Cynwyd border, and the Valley View Apartments and Valley Forge Hilton in King of Prussia.
In June 1964, the Inquirer reported the “topping out” of the first building at Valley View, Mr. Field’s high-rise development on a 35-acre site near Valley Forge National Historical Park.
“Instead of the evergreen tree usually affixed to the framework by structural steel erectors as a good luck charm, a colonial flag flies from the top of the nine-story structure in keeping with the area’s historic past,” the Inquirer wrote.
Mr. Field also operated hotels in Palm Beach, Fla., and New York City, including the Crowne Plaza Hotel and Hampton Inn near LaGuardia Airport, and the Holiday Inn and Hampton Inn at John F. Kennedy International Airport.
Early in his career, he was the driving force behind many of the housing developments near King of Prussia, as well as condominiums and a hotel in Clearwater Beach, Fla.
His family assisted him in his business. Son Stephen P. Field now operates his father’s hotels.
At least two of the hotels — the Crowne Plaza and the Holiday Inn at JFK – were at one time jointly administered by a bankruptcy judge and two Field-controlled companies, LaGuardia Associates LP and Field Hotel Associates LP. The arrangement was part of Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. Mr. Field also encountered difficulty meeting debt payments on the Valley Forge Hilton, but was permitted by a bankruptcy judge to restructure the debt.
The son of Sylvan and Hannah Field, Mr. Field grew up in Northeast Philadelphia. He graduated from Central High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School in 1951.
Mr. Field married June Kramer in 1954. The couple had a daughter, Laurel Field Marcus, a fashion writer, and son Stephen. June Kramer Field died at age 37 of cancer in 1971.
In 1974, Mr. Field married artist Kathleen Pregenzer. The couple have a son, Alexander Ryan Field, a musician. Kathleen P. Field became an influential figure on the Main Line social scene and a patron of the arts. The couple enjoyed collecting art and antiques from around the world and used them to decorate their home. She died in 2013.
Mr. Field knew how to enjoy life and loved entertaining.
“An art collector and bon vivant who traveled the world, he will be remembered on the Main Line for his fabulous parties and entertaining,” said son-in-law Joel R. Marcus. “He was truly a man bigger than life in all seasons.”
A sailing enthusiast with a fierce competitive spirit, Mr. Field participated in several high-profile races in the mid-1970s. His yacht, The Magic Twanger, raced in Florida and England, and from Annapolis, Md., to Newport, R.I.
“He was so alive,” Laurel Marcus said. “He loved beauty and art and dining. He always had a twinkle in his eye.”
As a father, he was “a generous dad and a good provider,” said Stephen Field. “He loved his kids, no question.”
In addition to his children, Mr. Field is survived by five grandchildren, two brothers, and his companion, Carole Isen.
Memorial services will be at 11 a.m. Friday, March 16, at Joseph Levine & Sons Memorial Chapel, 4737 Street Rd., Trevose, Interment is private.