John Lasala

Community Investor

Dually licensed (US/UK) attorney and business development manager

John Lasala is a New York-based business development manager for Citi Alternative Investments. With an extensive background in finance and law, John wears many hats and exercises his entrepreneurial spirit to revitalize local communities through his work in real estate structured finance.

 

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John’s passion for real estate began at an early age. Inspired by his parents property ownership, John became involved in the industry as a young man alongside his brothers in New York City. The more he learned about real estate, the more he understood the industry and what it could bring to a community. Real Estate has the capacity to be used as a means to build bridges between people and neighborhoods – uniting communities and making them better. Armed with this understanding, John began to utilize real estate to give back and add value to New York communities, especially in areas of Harlem.

In addition to his lengthy background in real estate, John Lasala also has extensive experience in law and business development, as well as a strong background in  investing. Lasala is a U.S. and U.K. dually licensed attorney and business development manager in New York, with over eighteen years of experience with asset management and investment, marketing, leading teams, securitization, and general fund counseling. He works at Citi Alternative Investments, serving as Business Development Manager for the Client Marketing and Business Development department. John Lasala’s fund legal experience has given him tools in legal, managerial, and commercial oversight, and he has been successful in all of these departments. He has exercised and overseen investment due diligence and transaction management in title, zoning, deal management, and post-closing items during his tenure at Citi Alternative Investments. John Lasala has also been hands on in many investment strategies – working as manager, overseer, and communication liaison in many projects. Lasala has proven his abilities in the company by attaining growth objectives, balancing investment and strategy, capital deployment, and knowledge of the product. Through his experiences, John has now earned the responsibility of supervising ventures in the company such as client communications, management, development, and marketing.

John Lasala holds titles such as asset manager, general counsel for funds, and currently assists with securitization projects at Citi Alternative Investments. His hard work and dedication to his company and to continual education in his field won him these titles. Outside of legal and financial expertise, Lasala’s passion for entrepreneurship has separated him from the pack, as he strives to be a relevant force in his field. His project-driven work is second-to-none, and this drive facilitates success in his ventures outside of Citi Alternative Investments. Currently, John Lasala has shifted his focus into the real estate development sector, bringing his experiences from working in law, investing, and business development.

 

New York City has reached a point where affordable housing is sparse, and families who lie in the low- to moderate-income level are no longer able to have comfortable living environments. These families are forced to live in areas that are either too small, unsafe, or that don’t provide good school districts or access to jobs. In unideal situations such as this one, families and individuals aren’t awarded the opportunity to get ahead. The housing market requires everyone to pay a large portion of their income to housing – some might even deem it an unreasonable percentage. While most real estate investors focus on turning desolate, low-income housing areas into luxury condominiums, John Lasala focuses on repurposing these areas to maximize livability while sticking within reasonable price ranges.

Incorporating philosophies from the growing trend in NOAH, or Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing, John Lasala repurposes underutilized Harlem buildings into apartments that are affordable for low- to moderate-income households. In a traditional home, 90% of living space is only used 10% of the time, and in a city such as New York, where space is limited, a house needs to be utilized to its capacity and fully functional in a smaller environment. In the process of re-envisioning a building, Lasala has gained knowledge and experience in optimizing spaces while keeping them comfortable for families. Recognizing the need for a utilitarian space in his process for reinventing a building, John champions functional, intelligently-designed spaces for all of his apartments. In a state such as New York, where living space proves sparse, John stresses the importance of creating suitable and livable apartments through the use of a conscious design plan.

In addition to creating apartment designs that ensure useful spaces, John Lasala also draws building inspiration from the German model Passivhaus. Also known as passive housing, these buildings incorporate technology such as improved insulation, solar panels, heat-recovery ventilators, and airtight seals to create living that is more productive and affordable. Reducing energy consumption by utilizing these methods equates to a bottom line energy savings of up to 75% on end-user energy costs in New York. While the perfect passivhausis fully self-sustained and requires zero electricity or heat to reach equilibrium, John works to incorporate sustainable elements wherever possible. He believes in the power of these innovations to protect both the earth and his tenants by providing cheap and accessible utilities.

These repurposed buildings not only capitalize on reconfigured space, they also enhance location livability. With these innovations, the cost-efficient apartments prove desirable, which draws new people into areas that had previously not seen active engagement. John Lasala is extremely passionate about this aspect, as his efforts to provide housing have begun to rejuvenate neighborhoods. He enjoys seeing a pigeon-infested building transform into homes where neighbors stop to chat with each other in the hallways, and desolate streets begin to bustle with new faces. Through this revitalization, John seeks to not only strengthen local bonds, but also to contribute to broader networks worldwide. The momentum of urban renewal momentum is palpable, lifting others with it as values double or triple for everyone on the block.

Repurposed housing can also affect local businesses and stimulate the local economies. Transforming properties while keeping local communities in tact encourages businesses to buy real estate and move their storefronts back into these neighborhoods, thus providing job opportunities to those families that reside within the rejuvenated community.

Through his work in Harlem communities, John Lasala also works with Columbia University’s off-campus housing program. Columbia’s work to welcoming incoming students into communities aligns with John’s passion for fostering neighborhoods. As a result of his partnership with the university, John helps immigrant and international students settle into new neighborhoods in housing built to their unique needs. He takes pride in watching the students find a home and become active members of their community. This partnership with the university that encourages affordable housing and community integration will further stimulate the local economies and provide income flow to the surrounding area as the living conditions continue to improve.

While John Lasala’s work in real estate is certainly a labor of love, he routinely witnesses the power of the industry as it reinvigorates neighborhoods. His expertise with numbers and investing give him a unique take on repurposing housing and rejuvenating neighborhoods as he is able to look at the bigger picture. He seeks to pursue his passion for real estate and structured finance as a means of cultivating community and actively contributing to the world around him.