Carl Weisbrod has stepped down as the director of Department of City Planning and Chair of City Planning Commission to become the Chair of the Trust for Governor’s Island. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that Marisa Lago will replace him. Weisbrod, 72, who lives on Roosevelt Island and has been in public service for over 40 years, is best-known as the guy who helped clean up Times Square and rid it of its sex industry. He also oversaw the rebuilding of the World Trade Center after September 11 and oversaw the comprehensive citywide rezoning that passed last year. Lago, 61, is currently an assistant secretary for international markets and development at the Treasury. According to The New York Times, she worked with Weisbrod during the administration of Mayor David N. Dinkins. She will take over as chairwoman of the planning department in March. Lago has been described as “tireless champion for the world’s poorest,” by Jacob J. Lew, the secretary of the Treasury, and says that she will focus on neighborhood development and “inclusionary,” or affordable, housing. “This has been a great run for me,” Mr. Weisbrod told the Times. “I sometimes can’t really even contemplate how lucky I’ve been to be part of the city’s history.” His last big achievement might be his work on the Midtown East rezoning proposal that is being devised as of last month. Weisbrod calls it a “gem,” and it has the support of Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer and councilman Daniel R. Garodnick.
Posts tagged with "Carl Weisbrod":
Marvel Architects' Brooklyn Heights Library tower gets green light from New York City Planning Commission
Development at 280 Cadman Plaza West was given the go-ahead at today's New York City Planning Commission meeting. Excluding two commissioners who recused themselves, the commission voted unanimously to approve plans for a 36-story tower designed by Marvel Architects. The mixed-use development will replace the Brooklyn Public Library's Business and Career Library, which opened in 1962. The development will house 136 luxury rental units, ground floor retail, and a new, 21,500-square-foot library. Commissioner Carl Weisbrod noted that the developers, Hudson Companies, would build additional retail on nearby Fulton Street, as well as develop 114 units of affordable housing off-site, along Fulton Street and Atlantic Avenue. The hearing was packed to capacity with members of Citizens Defending Libraries (CDL), a grassroots organization devoted to protecting the city's libraries from being sold to private developers. After the commission's vote, the group reacted in anger and dismay, calling members of the commission "sell outs" and noting that the commission "disregarded all that [we] said" about selling off city property. In a statement, a spokesperson for the Brooklyn Public Library said: "We applaud the City Planning Commission for joining Community Board 2, Brooklyn Heights community organizations, and Brooklynites who care about the future of their libraries in supporting BPL’s plan for a new Brooklyn Heights branch. As the Commission recognized, this project is a win-win for Brooklyn. In addition to bringing a new state-of-the art library to Brooklyn Heights at no cost to BPL, it will also help to alleviate the system's capital crisis by generating more than $40 million that will be invested in libraries throughout the borough. We look forward to continuing this dialogue throughout the public review process." The library is in the midst of a budget shortfall, and the proceeds from the sale will go towards approximately $300 million in deferred maintenance across all BPL branches. CDL claims that the city bestowed a below-market deal on the developers. Michael D.D. White, cofounder of CDL, notes that the property is valued at $120 million. The commission's approval may be the final green light for the development, but judging by the intensity of the activists' disapproval, developers may encounter fierce opposition from CDL in the near future.
This afternoon, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that Carl Weisbrod, a real estate consultant and co-chair of the mayor’s transition team, will be the city’s next planning commissioner. De Blasio said Weisbrod “understands exactly how the city can shape development to stoke the most growth, the strongest affordability, and the best jobs for New Yorkers. He is ready to take these challenges head-on.” Weisbrod is currently a partner with the real estate consulting firm HR&A and has a long history in the city’s real estate scene, dating back many mayors. Weisbrod was born and raised in New York City, and, according to the New York Times, upon graduating from NYU Law School, he started advocating on behalf of the city’s squatters and families in welfare hotels. Under Mayor Ed Koch, Weisbrod is widely credited for successfully cleaning up Times Square in the 1970s. In 1991, Weisbrod became the founding president of the New York City Economic Development Corporation—and in 1995 he held the same title at the Alliance for Downtown New York. In the latter role, Weisbrod was tasked with transforming Downtown Manhattan into a mixed-use neighborhood. De Blasio said Weisbrod “led the way” in revitalizing the neighborhood after September 11th. Before joining HR&A in 2011, Weisbrod spent five years as the president of the real estate division for Trinity Church—an organization which oversees six million square feet of property. All of this experience—and this is an abbreviated resume—will be critical as Weisbrod steps into an exceptionally complex role in determining the future of New York City. There will be many challenges ahead—from the redevelopment of the Domino Sugar Factory to the possible re-zoning of Midtown East, to creating a more storm-resistance city, to micro-apartments—all of which will fall within de Blasio’s ambitious push to create more affordable housing. At the press conference, de Blasio said that his administration would look at projects like Midtown East Rezoning and a proposed Major League Soccer stadium in the Bronx “with fresh eyes.” The mayor added that he is approaching development projects like these with “an entirely different set of goals” than his predecessor, Michael Bloomberg.