Joseph Anthony "Tony" Hayden, 74, of Gladwyne, a commercial real estate executive whose career included work on the historic One Liberty Place skyscraper, died Tuesday, Oct. 9, at Lankenau Medical Center after a brief illness.
A lifelong resident of the Philadelphia area, Mr. Hayden was a leading figure in the region's commercial real estate industry and was responsible for starting a local branch of the New York-based brokerage Cushman & Wakefield. He later founded and became managing partner of Beacon Commercial Real Estate, then founded Hayden Real Estate Investments.
His skill as a dealmaker was coupled with an enthusiastic, buoyant personality that drew in those around him, friends and family said. He could easily command a room with storytelling, said daughter Tara Buchakjian, one of five children Mr. Hayden raised with his wife of 46 years, Patricia "Tish" Hayden. He demonstrated an unflagging curiosity in those around him, she said, and always wanted to know people's stories.
"He was like that with his clients, his business associates, his friends, our friends," Buchakjian said. "Growing up, you don't always know your friends' parents, but all of our friends knew my dad really well. Because he wanted to know them."
Born April 8, 1944, in Philadelphia to Joseph and Mary Hayden, Mr. Hayden grew up in Mount Airy and graduated from St. Joseph's Prep. He worked as a custodian at the city's Vicks VapoRub plant for a year before attending La Salle University, where he earned a degree in accounting. He then joined the U.S. Navy; he was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal for his service as a full lieutenant in Vietnam.
Back home, Mr. Hayden began his career in commercial real estate with stints at Strauss Greenberg and Rouse & Associates before joining Cushman & Wakefield in 1974. There he managed the fledgling Philadelphia office and assisted the company in an expansion that led to 10 regional offices in Mid-Atlantic and Midwestern markets, eventually rising to become executive vice president.
He grew close to the late developer Willard G. Rouse III and assisted in arranging the lease of One Liberty Place, which, when completed in 1987, was the tallest skyscraper in Philadelphia and the first built higher than City Hall.
Friends and family attributed Mr. Hayden's success to a strong work ethic. Prominent local real estate developer Brian O'Neill said that when he interviewed with Mr. Hayden for a job at Cushman & Wakefield early in his career, Mr. Hayden advised him to join the Army "and learn to be a man." O'Neill got a job at a competing brokerage, prompting a call from Mr. Hayden, who asked why O'Neill was working for "the enemy."
"He looked for people with grit," said O'Neill, who said Mr. Hayden became a great friend and mentor to him in the years that followed. "It was his way of driving out the weak to make sure he had the right ones."
Mr. Hayden was also an avid golfer who enjoyed making wagers with friends.
In addition to his wife and daughter, he is survived by daughters Mandy McConnell, Patrice Meagher, and Stephanie; a son, Anthony J.; a sister, Sara Lee Murphy; and 14 grandchildren.