Jack Freeman Explains His Experience Navigating NY Real Estate and Why It’s Critical to Get it Right at the BSA
1. You are well known for your financial BSA work, but tell us a bit about your background in urban planning, architecture and development.
I actually began my career with a fine arts background, earning my Bachelor of Architecture degree from Cooper Union. After graduating, I joined an architectural practice before receiving an National Endowment for the Arts grant to provide free architectural services to Community Groups in Brooklyn. I then went to work for the Hudson River Valley Commission, a New York State Agency, after which I returned to school to get a Masters Degree in Urban planning.
While working on the Degree, I served in a senior staff position at the Mayor’s Office of Lower Manhattan Development (subsequently folded into the Office of Economic Development). I specialized on large scale development projects along the Lower Manhattan Waterfront, including Battery Park City. The planning and design work won a Progressive Architecture Award for Urban Design. More than anything, this brought me into direct contact with the City’s major public and private sector developers, an education in itself. My work for public agencies was completed with a stint as Director of the Zoning Study Group at the New York City Department of City Planning.
Subsequently, I worked as a Mortgage Officer for the New York City Community Preservation Corporation, and as a developer and general partner in multifamily market-rate and affordable housing projects.
2. What is the most important thing a developer needs to know about the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA)?
For for-profit development, the BSA provides relief to a property owner for a specific, quantifiable, economic hardship. In order to make a successful Variance case, the developer needs to put together an experienced, highly professional team, which includes legal, architectural, engineering, cost estimating and financial analysis.
3. How have you seen the Board of Standards and Appeals change over time and what lessons have you learned?
Named the Board of “Standards and Appeals”, over time, the BSA has moved to create a higher level of substantive “Standards” and rely less on subjective “Appeals” in its consideration of what needs to be met in order to grant a Variance. This has resulted in a much greater degree of professionalism by Commissioners and practitioners.
4. Discuss the importance of the “B” Finding and why is it so important to get the “B” finding right.
Of the Five Findings required to be made by the BSA to grant a Variance, three are economic/financial. The first, and most important, is the “B” Finding. The other economic Findings depend on the underlying analysis done for the “B” Finding. The “B” Finding establishes the financial need for and extent of the Variance that will be granted by the BSA
5. What other services can you provide a client?
Over my career in the public sector, as a construction lender, real estate development principal and as a real estate consultant, I have provided financial and management services for new and rehabilitation development projects. This has included strategic planning, market and portfolio analysis and hands on construction experience as an Owners Representative on for-profit and non-profit projects. This extensive background provides a comprehensive and detailed framework for consideration of new consulting engagements, which is applied to best meet the needs of the client.
To learn more about how Capalino+Company can help you with your real estate goals, contact Jack Freeman at 212.871.0878 or FinancialServices@capalino.com.
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