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Lynne B. Sagalyn

Earle W. Kazis and Benjamin Schore Professor Emerita of Real Estate at Columbia Business School, Columbia University

I have been an educator and scholar for nearly forty years. In addition, I built an innovative and rigorous program of graduate study in commercial real estate finance and investment at Columbia Business School, where I spent more than twenty years as the Earle W. Kazis and Benjamin Schore Professor of Real Estate, the director of the MBA Real Estate Program, and the founding director of the Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate. As part of our curriculum development, I developed scores of cases for graduate-level teaching of real estate finance and investment strategy. I have also done extensive executive teaching for private firms.

As a scholar, my expertise is in real estate development and finance, and I have long been known for my research on public/private partnerships and the political economy of city building. In explaining how cities are built and redeveloped, I have sought to de-mystify the politics and planning process surrounding large-scale development projects and their impact on the physical fabric of cities. I am of the generation that came of academic age schooled on Robert Caro’s The Power Broker, and the big story connected to big city-shaping projects has held me captive for decades. Adam Gopnik captured the essence what I have sought convey when in “Times Regained: How the Old Times Square was made new,” he called Times Square Roulette: Remaking the City Icon (MIT Press, 2001), “masterly” and wrote that it “is as mind-bendingly detailed an account of the relations of property and culture as one can find outside Galsworthy or Trollope. It’s full of eye-opening material…. its material is the material of the city’s existence. Reading it is like reading an advanced-biology textbook and then discovering that its sole subject is your own body” (The New Yorker, March 22, 2004). After more than twelve years of work, on September 9, 2016, just days before the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the United States, Oxford University Press will formally release Power at Ground Zero: Politics, Money, and the Rebuilding of Lower Manhattan.

Outside academia I have 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. In the corporate world, I serve 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, I am a member of the board of directors of the Regional Plan Association (RPA) and co-chair its New York Committee, and serve on the board of the Skyscraper Museum, and the audit and compliance committee of Planned Parenthood New York City.

I have held appointments at the University of Pennsylvania in both the School of Design and the Wharton School , and at M.I.T., Department of Urban Studies and Planning. I have a Ph.D. from MIT, a Master of City and Regional Planning from Rutgers University, and a B.S. with distinction from Cornell University.


  • –present
    Professor Emerita of Real Estate, Columbia University