James Wacht, Lee & Associates


James WachtFavorite charity? 

I have two: Afro-Latin Jazz Alliance for the work they do in creating music programs in disadvantaged New York City public schools and Appleseed Foundation (New York) for the work they have done with respect to public education in New York City.

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Real estate prediction for 2014? 

The commercial leasing market, which has been lagging behind the investment sales market, will finally catch up.

Where in New York is there still untapped potential for real estate development? 

Everywhere other than Manhattan South of 96th Street.

What real estate policy should New York’s next mayor make a priority?   

Affordable housing.

What qualities do you look for in an agent representing your buildings? 

Dogged determination.

What is one aspect of your business you wish you had more time for? 

Thoughtful reflection.

Greatest fear: 

Something bad happening to my children or my wife. Life can be very random and arbitrary.

If approved, the Midtown East rezoning initiative will: 

Help maintain Midtown as the preeminent submarket in New York. It is rapidly losing its hold on this position.

In the film version of your life, which actor would portray you? 

Zonker Harris.

Foreign real estate market you’d most like to invest in: 

Austin, Texas. (I consider anything outside of New York City to be “foreign.”)

Is broadband connectivity in New York City a priority at your buildings? 

Absolutely. In fact, we are currently in the process of upgrading the connectivity in a number of our office buildings.

What should happen with Madison Square Garden and Penn Station? 

Madison Square Garden should be relocated. and Penn Station should be redeveloped into a portal worthy of New York City.

What New York City building should be torn down? 

The HSBC tower, which blocks the magnificent view of the Empire State Building down Fifth Avenue.