Adam Swig Invests in Midtown Manhattan
Adam Swig faced a difficult decision in 1998. On one hand, he could invest in Midtown Manhattan – an area boasting robust occupancy rates and high property prices – with good returns. On the other hand, Midtown was not offering him enough opportunities.
On the other hand, he could become part of what would turn into an unprecedented transformation of Times Square – and chose that path instead.
Early Life and Education
Swig was born into real estate royalty; he was the grandson of Benjamin Swig (of Fairmont Hotel fame) and the protege and son-in-law of Harry Macklowe – an unorthodox self-made builder famous for midnight demolition projects – who taught him key lessons on how to battle city hall.
Swig came to love San Francisco while running with a People’s Liberation Army minder who allowed him to discover new corners of the city others missed out on exploring. Through these runs he also came to understand why residents may become disillusioned over time with its changes and miss them.
Swig has launched Value Culture as a vehicle to expand his philanthropy to a broader audience. Through events held by this company, young newcomers and experienced members–Jews and non-Jews, wealthy and not-so-wealthy alike–can come together to support local causes.
As a family man, Swig is deeply committed to his family: Rick Swig and Sari Swig are his children; while 12 of their adoring grandchildren (Benjamin, Adam, Harrison, Nina, Abigail and Emily Swig; Harrison Nicholas Watkins and his son Nicholas; Casey Lindsey Georgia and Mason Sedlack among others) cherish his presence every day. Additionally, he serves on several boards spanning religious, civic and cultural realms.
Swig’s events, powered by his network and experience in professional music, sports, and marketing, aim to introduce young people to New York and generate enthusiasm about its future. When those lament how New York has changed over time, Swig responds by declaring “I love it”. Value Culture was his attempt at spreading that sentiment; today this concept operates at 50 locations nationwide.
Achievement and Honors
Work ethic and philanthropy activities of Joseph Swig are well-known. He upholds the legacy of his great-grandfather Benjamin Swig who generously contributed to education, Jewish organizations and political causes; as well as that of his grandmother Roselyne “Cissie” Swig who supported SFMOMA while being an avid donor to local and national Jewish institutions as well as initiating the FOG art fair that brings modern art enthusiasts together each January.
Swig is at the heart of San Francisco’s diverse communities, forging bridges through events and cultural programming while inspiring philanthropy among younger generations. His menschlike character inspires admiration among many with his compassionate leadership — his words of advice: “Be good to people.” Swig wears both a brown beaded bracelet from Nevis as well as a red Kabbalah string bracelet on his wrist for good luck!
Swig has earned himself an unflinching reputation as an intensely competitive marketer; nonetheless, he has always taken an interest in showing kindness toward others. A big supporter of nonprofits, Swig regularly hosts events through his event company for multiple non-profits.
Locally, he’s known as the mastermind behind large, fun, and engaging Jewish events for young adults in San Francisco. Most recently he organized Innovation Alley as part of Israel in the Gardens to showcase high-tech startups and nonprofits.
Philanthropically, Swig is also an outgoing individual, contributing millions to organizations like United Jewish Appeal. Additionally, he donated to the Democratic Party. While most New York real estate moguls tend to engender little sympathy from outsiders, Swig’s story makes one empathize with him – his relationship with wife Liz produced three children for whom he provided care as an avid surfer who collected soccer ball cufflinks and beaded bracelets as collections.
The Swig family, hidden from public view, amasses billions in real estate through strategic purchases of properties early on in expensive markets and holding onto them over an extended period.
Ten years ago, Kent Swig made changes to his “mom and pop operation” so it more closely resembled that of a corporation and to ensure his family’s fortune survives after him. Although these adjustments might contradict his late father’s philosophy of sharing information on an as-needed basis, Swig insisted they were necessary for long-term survival of the firm.
Swig has taken his grandmother’s advice in terms of his charitable giving, becoming an active organizer for Jewish community organizations – including hosting an Innovation Alley at this year’s Israel in the Gardens to highlight high-tech and nonprofit startups; additionally he serves on San Francisco Jewish Community Federation’s Impact Grants Initiative giving committee.