In a recent article from The Real Deal, Lee & Associates NYC President, James Wacht, talks real estate side gigs and explains how he stays an active investor in projects outside of the real estate world.
From the article:
Seeking green, from fitness to grooming
As a landlord and property manager, Lee & Associates NYC’s James Wacht had always been skeptical of franchises.
That was until two years ago, when his son, Evan, who is trained as a teacher, told him about My Gym, a popular gymnastics chain for children that had 450 locations worldwide — but none in Brooklyn.As a landlord and property manager, Lee & Associates NYC’s James Wacht had always been skeptical of franchises.
In February 2017, father and son acquired territorial rights to franchise My Gym in Brooklyn and the Hamptons. Wacht declined to disclose the size of their investment — he and Evan are 50-50 partners — but public information shows that My Gym charges franchisees a $25,000 fee for one location. Royalties are 7 percent of revenue.
The Wachts opened their first location, a 3,600-square-foot space in Park Slope, in May 2018 and recently signed a lease for another space in Cobble Hill. Wacht said he was heavily involved in lease negotiations and construction, but his son handles day-to-day operations, like working with kids and their parents. “I wouldn’t have the patience to do what he does. I’d quit,” Wacht joked.
My Gym is just one of Wacht’s investments. Over the years, he’s backed a chain of bagel shops, and he is currently an investor in Barber Surgeons Guild, a high-end men’s hair salon expanding from Los Angeles to New York. He said he met the salon’s principal, Dr. Justin Rome, through Rome’s brother, who was Wacht’s physical therapist.
“I look for alternative investments besides real estate,” said Wacht, who has grown Lee NYC to 85 brokers from 20 in the last six years. “It’s not always about the money. It’s interesting. It’s also diversification. You can’t have all your assets in one asset type.”