JAMES F. LIMA
President, James Lima Planning + Development
James Lima has extensive private and public sector experience in the planning and revitalization of urban centers at a variety of scales. He is presently advising public and private sector clients on a range of redevelopment matters that include affordable housing, large-scale planning and development of former industrial waterfronts, downtown district growth strategies, cultural art facilities development, the economic value of investments in the public realm, and adaptive reuse of historic properties. The principal focus of all of this work is on the economics of place-making.
James was most recently a partner at the real estate and economic advisory firm HR&A Advisors where he led redevelopment strategies for numerous large-scale sites in Upstate New York, Toronto and elsewhere. Previously, he was Senior Director of Development in the New York regional office of residential REIT AvalonBay Communities, Inc.
Prior to joining AvalonBay, Mr. Lima was NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg's appointee as founding President of the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation (GIPEC), a public corporation overseeing the planning, redevelopment and operations of the 172-acre former military facility in New York Harbor.
Mr. Lima also served as Senior Vice President for Special Projects at the NYC Economic Development Corporation where he managed initiatives focused on growth of the City's central business districts and increasing public access to the City's waterfront, including leading the planning, consensus building and public approvals for the Downtown Brooklyn Redevelopment Plan. Under this Plan, since 2006, nearly $3.4 billion in private investment has been made in Downtown Brooklyn, yielding over 5,200 residential units, 1,000 hotel rooms, 590,000 square feet of retail space, 236,000 square feet of office space, and new cultural facilities.
James led similar efforts on the Administration's behalf in Downtown Flushing, Queens, Governors Island and Upper Manhattan. Prior work as Assistant Commissioner at the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and at Forest City Ratner Companies centered around new construction of affordable housing and retail development throughout NYC. Notable successes include newly constructed mixed-income residential, high quality retail and YMCA recreational facilities both at the intersection of Houston Street and Bowery in Lower Manhattan and in the Arverne section of the Rockaways. In addition, James led the City's efforts to spur the construction of thousands of new multifamily mixed-income residential units and neighborhood retail in Central Harlem and East Harlem. Development frameworks were established for numerous large-scale projects through a highly collaborative process involving many government agencies, as well as local community and elected leaders.
Mr. Lima is Assistant Adjunct Professor in the Columbia University Master of Science in Real Estate Development Program, where he has taught a course in "Public-Private Partnerships in Real Estate Development." James earned a B.A. from Columbia College with a major in architecture and urban studies, and stayed on at Columbia to complete the MsRED Program. At the Harvard Kennedy School, he participated in the Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government as a Fannie Mae Fellow.
James is a frequent speaker at Urban Land Institute and other conferences, has served on advisory panels in Galveston TX and Allentown PA, and has lectured on urban redevelopment at Princeton, Yale, Syracuse, Penn, and in Rotterdam, Amsterdam, and Sao Paulo.