Ex-Mayor to Lead Real Estate Fund

Times Staff Writer

James K. Hahn has found a new calling: real estate entrepreneur.

The former Los Angeles mayor plans to use his political experience and connections in a new post as chief executive of a planned $800-million fund intended to help create affordable housing and other developments around transportation hubs such as rail stations.

The fund is being launched by Chadwick Saylor & Co., a Los Angeles-based investment banking firm that hired Hahn as a legal advisor in July after his failed re-election bid.


“I know a lot about how this city is operated, where it’s going and what its plans are for the future,” Hahn said Wednesday after Chadwick Saylor’s announcement of his new assignment. “I’ve got the opportunity to work on things I could only talk about and encourage others to do” while in office.

Hahn, a lawyer who served as city controller and city attorney before becoming mayor, joins other prominent public figures in using their name recognition and contacts to support the type of real estate development that they personally favor.

Former Los Angeles Lakers basketball star Earvin “Magic” Johnson and boxer Oscar De La Hoya both help lead funds that focus on development in urban centers, especially minority neighborhoods.

Chadwick Saylor expects to have the fund invested by 2008. Managing Director Bill Chadwick declined to identify the fund’s investors, but the firm is known as a manager of union pension fund assets. Developments financed by the fund will use union labor, the firm said.

The new fund, called Los Angeles Development Partners, will compete with many other potential buyers of real estate assets.

“Everyone wants to be in Los Angeles because we have such a strong, diverse economy,” said commercial mortgage broker Gary Mozer, chief executive of George Smith Partners Inc.

Hahn will need to prove himself in the marketplace, though, Mozer said.

“The first deal will be the toughest but once he’s established himself, the market is there for the taking,” Mozer said. “It’s all about integrity and the ability to execute.”

There is plenty of opportunity for the type of urban development Hahn wants to do in the Los Angeles region because the population is growing significantly faster than the supply of affordable work-force housing, said Bobby Turner, who works with Johnson as managing partner of Canyon-Johnson Realty Advisors.

“Half the battle is recognizing that urban development requires a partnership between the community and the developer,” Turner said. “The mayor understands the breadth of the agendas of both the public and private sectors.”

Hahn did not identify any specific proposed developments, but said he was eager to see more dense development around Metrolink, Metro Rail and other transportation centers, a policy he supported as mayor.

“It’s exciting to be able to take policy off the drawing boards and put it into practice,” he said.