About Me

James C. Dragon is a commercial real estate developer and entrepreneur who brings over 30 years of career experience, including nearly 15 years working as an attorney. Since 2000, he has worked in commercial real estate development with his wife, Efthemia “Effie” Poulakos Dragon in the Greater Boston, Massachusetts area. Dragon is currently a managing partner and owner at Central Plaza Realty and Development Company, a position he has held since 2003. He is passionate about commercial real estate development, especially within the city of Lowell, the third-largest in Greater Boston, and the fifth-largest in the Bay State.

A Local Commercial Real Estate Leader

As an owner and managing partner, James C. Dragon has experienced several successes. In 2000, the Dragons acquired the Central Plaza shopping center which was almost half vacant and in need of repairs and some reconstruction. This location was a 266,000 square foot parcel with 94,000 square feet of commercial space. Dragon worked with the City of Lowell to make the capital improvements needed to make the Central Plaza an appealing place to do business. The plaza was originally built in 1965 and served as a Stop & Shop grocery store until 1979 when it was sold. Two other entities owned the plaza between 1979 and 2000 when Dragon and his wife took it over. The Dragons had a vision of a shopping center that offered goods and services that catered to nearby Lowell residents. With property management support from their son William, a licensed commercial real estate agent, James and Effie Dragon eventually developed a plaza that was not only 100% occupied, but also maintained that occupancy through the coronavirus pandemic. At the end of 2021, this downtown Lowell property was sold for nearly $11 million.

Prior to the sale, other Central Plaza Realty successes included the following:

Foodland International: In the spring of 2021, a Foodland International store opened a 16,000 square foot store at Central Plaza, bringing a supermarket to downtown Lowell that served the various cultural and ethnic groups in the area.

Vinfen: In 2019, Vinfen, a health and human services organization opened a location at Central Plaza. Vinfen provides community-based services in the areas of mental health, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and behavioral health.

Discount Valley: In 2015, Discount Valley opened a 15,000-square-foot dollar store at Central Plaza, providing various goods conveniently and affordably for nearby Lowellians.

Other Work History

Central Park Realty wasn’t Dragon’s first foray into real estate. Between the late 1980s and early 1990s, Dragon was a co-trustee of Athenaeum Realty Trust when the organization bought a 110,000-square-foot high-rise building in Lowell. The building was to be renovated, serving as the law school for Emerson College. Although the project was canceled by Emerson College, you can see that the commercial real estate bug had bitten Dragon long before the days of Central Park Realty.

Diamond Developers

James and Effie Dragon also owned a minority interest in the New Bedford Bay Sox, a baseball team that played in the New England Collegiate Baseball League, a summer league for athletes who have attended one year of college and have at least one year of eligibility remaining. The Dragons owned a stake through their Sports Done Right, LLC. Originally founded in 1997, the team was originally known as the Torrington Twisters, named for the town in Connecticut. In 2008, the organization relocated to New Bedford, MA, and quickly gained a following in the local community. In 2010, the Dragons joined the Bay Sox ownership. Under their leadership, the team hired former Major League Baseball player Rick Miller to be the manager. The Bay Sox won four regular season Division championships. The Dragons served as part owners of the Bay Sox until the team suspended operations in 2019.

Hobbies and Interests

James C. Dragon has always been a lover of sports, particularly baseball. In addition to part-ownership of the New Bedford Bay Sox, Dragon has participated on amateur baseball teams for several years in Lowell. He also coached youth basketball teams in Tewksbury, including organizing and managing the first-ever American Legion baseball team in Tewksbury which made the playoffs by year two.

Dragon also played basketball as an undergraduate and coached youth basketball. He also loves playing tennis and golf.

Volunteer Organizations and Affiliations

Dragon has lent his time, talents, and treasure to various organizations:

Member, International Council Shopping Center of Owners and Managers

Board of Directors, Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church

Board of Directors, Whistler House Museum

Board of Trustees, Sports Museum of New England

Chairman, Middlesex/Essex US Post Office Customary Advisory Council

Member, Lowell YMCA Advisory Committee

Dragon and his wife have also supported and sponsored the Greater Lowell Habitat for Humanity, the Ironstone Horse Farm of Andover, MA, the ALS Foundation, the Kiwanis International Club of Greater Lowell, the D’Youville Senior Center and Nursing Home, and the Lowell Student Police Academy, among others.

Education Background

James C. Dragon graduated from Lynn Classical High School in Lynn, MA, in 1971 where he played varsity basketball and golf. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of New Hampshire, and his law degree from the New England School of Law in 1983.