Abby Hamlin is a New York City-based real estate developer, educator, and civic thinker. In 1997, she founded Hamlin Ventures, LLC, to pursue design-driven urban real estate development. Still one of a handful of women-led development companies, the hallmark of Hamlin’s success has been her ability to combine design excellence with a public purpose to create projects that enhance communities, win design awards, and produce stellar returns for investors.
Best known as the catalyst for the resurgence of luxury townhouse development in New York City, Ms. Hamlin has more recently expanded her business to include arts-based and non-profit consulting. Three projects that illustrate her current endeavors are: (a) Powerhouse Arts, a 180,000 square-foot industrial arts complex designed by architects Herzog & de Meuron, which has recently opened in Brooklyn’s Gowanus neighborhood, (b) Bakehouse Arts, a proposed arts-driven, live-work community including the renovation of the historic Bakehouse building in Wynwood Norte, Miami, coupled with the development of 300-400 units of mixed-income housing and cultural space and (c) the American Numismatic Society relocation to a newly developed university-based headquarters property.
In 2020, Ms. Hamlin was awarded the Edward P. Bass Visiting Distinguished Architecture Fellowship at the Yale
School of Architecture in recognition of her keen knowledge of and appreciation for architecture and design and her ability to marry creative endeavors with a successful development business. As the Bass Fellow, Ms. Hamlin taught an advanced design and development studio with architects Dana Tang and Andrei Harwell.
Before forming Hamlin Ventures, Ms. Hamlin was President of Swig Weiler & Arnow Mgt. Co., Inc. a premier Manhattan-based commercial real estate company that developed, owned, and managed 8 million square feet of office properties in New York City and San Francisco, as well as the Fairmont Hotels. Ms. Hamlin was with Swig Weiler & Arnow for fifteen years, spearheading several large-scale development projects and managing the organization for its private owners.
An active civic leader, Ms. Hamlin is a board member of Community Solutions and the Actor’s Fund Housing Development Corporation. Previously, she served on the boards of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation and Art Omi. She was a board member of the Van Alen Institute for Public Architecture from 2001-2010 and served as its Chair from 2007-2010.
Recognized as an expert in the field of public design, Ms. Hamlin is a frequent participant in design juries. Among others, she has served as a juror for the National Endowment for the Arts, the Enterprise Community Foundation, the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, and the City of New Rochelle. She has also served three times as an advisor to the Mayor’s Institute of Design and once as an NEA Just City advisor to the Mayor of Madison Wisconsin.
Ms. Hamlin was appointed as the Bass Fellow at Yale School of Architecture in 2020, where she co-taught an advanced design studio entitled “The Innovative Urban Workplace.” Before, she was an adjunct professor of real estate development at the Graduate School of Architecture at Columbia University from 2010-2014, teaching the core development classes and serving as Director of Curriculum. In 2016, she was an adjunct professor at Columbia University again, co-teaching real estate development in the Business School.
Ms. Hamlin holds a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and a Master of Urban Planning from Princeton University.