Jim Capalino is one of New York’s premier urban problem-solving strategists. In 1977, Jim co-managed Congressman Koch’s successful mayoral campaign, and, at 28, was named Commissioner of the Department of General Services, setting a record for youngest commissioner in city history. As founder and CEO of Capalino, Jim has overseen the growth of New York’s leading urban strategy firm, responsible for developing and executing forward-thinking strategies to navigate the complex political, business, and regulatory landscape.
What led you to get involved in the real estate industry?
My appointment to Commissioner of the Department of General Services (a 2,000+ employee, $750 million agency) by Mayor Koch. I managed the City’s enormous real estate portfolio, which included commercial, residential, industrial, and vacant sites. Understanding all the challenges and opportunities of getting things done in NYC, I became a key strategist at Capalino to launch some of the city’s most widely recognized developments including The High Line, MetroTech, Hudson Yards, and Coney Island.
What’s your favorite neighborhood in NYC?
East Harlem, where I live, is my favorite neighborhood. The diversity of cultures and backgrounds make it vibrant.
Describe a recent project you’ve enjoyed working on.
As a founding board member of Friends of the High Line, this is one of my principal NYC civic engagements. I am focused on expanding its education programs and ensuring people see the key role it played in the growth of NYC’s economy.