James Patchett, the former boss of the city’s Economic Development Corporation, has been tapped to help apartment owner A&E Real Estate position itself to become one of the largest real estate companies in New York.
Founded in 2011 by Douglas Eisenberg, John Arrillaga, Jr. and Wendy Eisenberg, A&E has grown from a single 49-unit building in Fort Greene to more than 15,000 apartments currently under management. For the past decade, the company has expanded its portfolio in large part through acquisitions of apartment buildings and portfolios from legacy owners.
Now, it wants to get bigger and diversify its holdings into a broader range of assets with a $1 billion fund to spend on “apartment buildings in well-located neighborhoods that are currently under-managed and in need of physical improvements.”
Patchett, who previously served as President and CEO of NYC Economic Development Corporation, has been named CEO and tasked with helping lead the company as it embarks on the major expansion of its multifamily housing portfolio and “complementary commercial real estate assets.”
Eisenberg, founding principal of A&E, said the new investment represents a major show of confidence in New York City at a critical time in its recovery, and a commitment not just to remain in the city, but to accelerate A&E’s evolution.
“We are extremely fortunate that James is joining A&E and believe he’s the ideal choice to help lead the firm, especially at this important inflection point in our firm’s evolution,” said Eisenberg. “James has spent virtually his entire career getting to know the unique rhythms and defining characteristics of New York City’s individual neighborhoods. His expertise – alongside our fully-integrated team and new fund – gives us the capacity to grow quickly and in new ways.”
While the pandemic has caused significant near-term declines in jobs, rental occupancy and property values, A&E is optimistic about a quick rebound as the rate of vaccinations accelerates and as federal and state stimulus efforts begin to course through the local economy.
Patchett commented, “As this past year has made abundantly clear, New York’s success is dependent upon the daily contributions of our nurses, teachers, first responders, service workers and public employees. I was immediately drawn to A&E given its commitment and track record when it comes to enhancing communities and providing residents with the best in workforce housing. We see the same opportunity in the city’s recovery, and we want to be a part of investing in the future of the middle class and the neighborhoods in which they live and work.”
Eisenberg will remain actively involved in the day-to-day business guiding the firm and leading the investment activity. Patchett joins a leadership team that includes A&E President Maggie McCormick, who joined A&E at its inception. As president, she is actively involved in all areas of the firm with a primary focus on acquisitions, financings, operations and dispositions.
“A&E invests not only in buildings, but in the people that live in and work in them each day,” said McCormick. “We believe that it’s in everyone’s long-term interest to do right by our residents and our employees. That is the foundation of our success. James gets what makes A&E unique, and he’s the right person to help us seize this moment and grow the company in bold new ways.”
As President and CEO of the EDC, Patchett led a 500-person organization with an annual budget of $700 million. He oversaw a portfolio of more than 60 million square feet and made investments in and developed some of New York City’s most important assets, including the redevelopment of the four million square foot Brooklyn Army Terminal industrial campus, the conversion of the former Spofford Juvenile Detention Center into a 740-unit housing complex, and the ground-up development of a new office complex in Union Square.
Patchett took over at EDC after serving as Chief of Staff to New York City’s Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development, where he supervised the work for more than 20 housing, real estate and infrastructure agencies, including overseeing major neighborhood and commercial rezonings.
Prior to his City service, Patchett served as Vice President of Goldman Sachs’ Urban Investment Group, where he invested in housing, commercial properties and businesses in cities across the country. He is a graduate of Amherst College and holds an MBA from Stanford’s School of Business. He lives in Crown Heights with his two children and wife, journalist Candace Taylor.
In just 10 years, A&E has built a fully-integrated real estate platform with in-house asset and property management, leasing and construction capabilities. The firm has earned a reputation as a responsible and responsive owner and manager of both rent-stabilized and market-rate apartments, with a specific focus on quality workforce housing for teachers, first responders and other essential workers. Its extensive multifamily portfolio spans four boroughs and ranges from 10-unit buildings in Brownstone Brooklyn to 1,200-apartment communities in Kew Gardens Hills and Harlem’s Riverton House (pictured top).
A&E said it will leverage Patchett’s experience to selectively evaluate investments in other asset types and pursue creating additional value from the development rights of the sites it currently controls. A&E aims to be one of the largest owners of multifamily housing in New York City and, over the medium term, one of the largest, most diversified real estate firms in the region.