Harrison M. Lasky, whose career as an influential land speculator and developer led to the creation of some of the Triangle's biggest master-planned communities and shopping centers, died Friday at Mayview Convalescent Center in Raleigh. He was 73.
He had suffered from multiple health problems, said his son, Mitch Lasky, 43, of Los Angeles.
One of the founders of the defunct development firm The Harlon Group, Lasky helped shape the Triangle's commercial and residential growth by pinpointing and buying land he thought would become places where residents would live and work.
In the early 1980s, Lasky saw gold in the land west of Raleigh.
The Harlon Group snapped up almost 2,000 acres west of Raleigh-Durham International Airport known as the Airport Assemblage. Harlon persuaded the city to annex the land in 1985. It sold the land in 1986.
The assemblage, adjacent to Interstate 540, is now known as Brier Creek.
"Harry had a vision," said Gary Plichta, who was vice president of Harlon's multifamily division under Lasky. "He saw trends in markets that were not as obvious to others. I always saw Harry as flying at 10,000 feet, where he could see opportunities that his peers may have missed."
He developed land at Kildaire Farms in Cary and developed the nearby Wimbledon subdivision in the mid-1980s, said Gene Hahn, who moved to the Triangle in 1984 to serve as a consultant for Lasky in Cary. Lasky assembled the land that became Crossroads shopping center in Cary.
Lasky developed Hope Valley Farms, a master-planned community consisting of almost 1,000 homes in Durham. And he built thousands of apartment units throughout the Triangle.
Lasky moved to Florida in the early 1970s and to the Triangle in 1980. He spent the rest of his life in the City of Oaks.
In addition to Mitch Lasky, Harrison Lasky is survived by his wife, Hertha, 75, of Raleigh; son Alan, 40, of Los Angeles; and stepdaughter Eva Fujimoto, 50, of Raleigh.
Funeral arrangements were pending at Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, 300 St. Mary's St. in Raleigh.
Staff writer Jack Hagel can be reached at 829-8917 or firstname.lastname@example.org.