James Colgate is both a real estate lawyer and an architect, giving him the perspective to serve clients with a wide variety of land use issues, including special permits, zoning variances, and comprehensive advice in navigating complex bureaucratic and political processes. Widely-known for meticulous attention to detail and near-encyclopedic knowledge of New York City’s labyrinthine building codes and regulations, James can solve problems no one else can.
James' clients - developers, lenders, non-profit institutions and public agencies - look to him for advice on all aspects of land use law in New York City, whether it be obtaining determinations from the NYC Department of Buildings or variances from the Board of Standards and Appeals, reviewing or preparing zoning opinions, or advising his clients of potential uses for their properties that they might never have considered.
James’ experience with land use issues is extensive. Before joining, he was an Assistant Commissioner at the NYC Department of Buildings, where he issued complex interpretations, co-authored laws and managed the department’s legislative efforts to revise the NYC Construction Codes. He has also worked at the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development as well as the Department of City Planning. James is a member of the American Institute of Architects; is a certified floodplain manager; and served as FEMA’s floodplain administrator for the City of New York from 2004 to 2014. His skill set is extensive - and unique.
The bottom line - There are few - if any - lawyer/architects who know more about NYC building codes and zoning regulations than James.