Professor Lynne B. Sagalyn is the Earle W. Kazis and Benjamin Schore Professor Emerita of Real Estate at Columbia Business School, where she was formerly the director of the MBA Real Estate Program and the founding director of the Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate.

An expert in real estate development and finance, Sagalyn has published extensively on a broad range of issues in the fields of urban development finance, public/private partnerships, and real estate finance. In addition, she has developed scores of cases for graduate-level teaching of real estate finance and investment strategy and been an innovator in curriculum for real estate study.

She is widely known for her research on city building. After more than twelve years of work, Power at Ground Zero: Politics, Money, and the Rebuilding of Lower Manhattan (Oxford University Press) will be released on September 9, 2016, just days before the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the United States. Her earlier books on city building included Times Square Roulette: Remaking the City Icon (MIT Press, 2001), and, Downtown Inc.: How America Rebuilds Cities, co-authored (MIT Press, 1989).

Professor Sagalyn’s activities outside academia are diverse. She has been a litigation expert, a consultant to both private firms and public agencies and a member of the New York City [Board of Education] Chancellor’s Commission on the Capital Plan. She has done extensive executive teaching, particularly for Tishman Speyer Properties and the Urban Land Institute. In the corporate world, she serves as Vice-Chair of UDR (NYSE: UDR) and as a director and chair of the audit committee of Blackstone Mortgage Trust (NYSE: BXMT). In the not-for-profit realm, she is a member of the board of directors of the Regional Plan Association (RPA) and co-chairs its New York Committee, and serves on the board of the Skyscraper Museum, and the audit and compliance committee of Planned Parenthood New York City.

In addition to her more than twenty years at Columbia Business School, Sagalyn has held appointments at the University of Pennsylvania in both the School of Design (City Planning Department) and the Wharton School (Real Estate Department), and at M.I.T., Department of Urban Studies and Planning, where she taught courses in public policy and real estate finance as part of the school’s pioneering degree program in real estate development.

Professor Sagalyn received her Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a Master of City and Regional Planning from Rutgers University, and a B.S. with distinction from Cornell University.

Professor Lynne Sagalyn in a interview with Casium

What area of research are you currently working on?
Changing structure of the U.S. real estate industry
History of New York City built environment

A case study that you think is important. Why?
330 Washbash, for the combination of finance, distress acquisition, value-creation asset management, all integrated with a fundamental understanding of the physical characteristics of the landmarked office tower.

A management book you think highly of (written by someone else). Why?
Peter F. Drucker, Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Practice and Principles (New York: Harper & Row, 1985, 2006 paperback republished).
In a systematic way, Drucker explains how innovation is a response to several different types of opportunities. This concept offers a valuable framework for teaching about entrepreneurship as a way of thinking rather than a personality type.

A very recent business or management title you read, and its significant lessons.
Ron Chernow, Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. (New York: Vintage Paperback, 2004).
Excellent for understanding Rockefeller’s strategic thinking and his invention of philanthropy, among other practices.

What is one of your well-liked teaching moments (case, discussion topic, …)?
A favorite teaching case that I have used for many years, also a favorite among my students, is SoHo Loft Building: Pricing the Entrepreneur’s Development Risk, Columbia CaseWorks, ID#081701, November 12, 2013.
This case focuses an entrepreneur’s opportunity to buy the mortgage on a distressed property and complete the conversion of the lift structure to condominium apartments. It asks students to evaluate the risks of the transactions and consider how they can be mitigated and to determine what he should pay for the mortgage.

What was your most interesting consulting assignment? Why?
There are many consulting assignments that I have enjoyed. In particular, in the late 1990s, I worked as a litigation expert to estimate damages to a real estate company from a competitively inspired delay in development that cost the firm a premium development opportunity.

If tomorrow you could occupy an executive function in any company, what function and company? Why?
CEO of a small to medium-sized real estate company because I enjoy the task of strategic planning and execution focused on growing a business.

Source: Columbia Business School website/Casium sources

The Case: How the skyscraper avoided ruin: