Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Transition at ESD: Roy and Lynch depart, newbie in-house replacements to be succeeded by subsidiary?

Those on Empire State Development's distribution list for the two-week Construction Alerts might have noticed something different about the one released yesterday, since it was sent by Nicole J. Jordan, ESD's Director of Community Relations, rather than Derek Lynch, ESDC's recent manager of community and government relations for Atlantic Yards.

And a look at ESD's Atlantic Yards page shows that Paula Roy, who was Director of Atlantic Yards, no longer appears.

I got a statement from ESD: "Paula recently left to pursue a new opportunity at [New York City] HDC {Housing Development Corporation] and Sam Filler is now Director of Atlantic Yards. Derek also recently left and Nicole Jordan is now Director of Community Relations for Atlantic Yards."

Though Roy and Lynch were relatively recent hires, the transition suggests even less continuity for Atlantic Yards at the state level and, accordingly, more clout for developer Forest City Ratner. And it may mean less oversight as construction work ramps up, including a new green roof on the arena and railyard drilling.

It's not clear whether Filler and Jordan are stand-ins for the next several months, until the promised Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation launches, or whether they will continue in that role. But neither of them have much experience with either ESD or, apparently, large-scale development projects.

Developer Forest City funds the community relations position. So by having that position filled in-house, at least for the interim, the developer saves some money.

Transition: Director

Roy was publicly announced as succeeding Project Director Arana Hankin in September  2013. She had been the agency's Vice President of Real Estate since July 2013 and in 2012 was hired as Vice President, Portfolio Management. She previously served as Deputy Project Manager for the New Domino mega-project in Williamsburg, working for CPC Resources.

Roy is now Executive VP for Real Estate for New York City Housing Development Corporation,
which oversees the financing of affordable housing, including for Atlantic Yards. Beyond her role in Atlantic Yards, she served as President of Queens West Development Corporation, an ESD subsidiary.
Filler

Filler, who served as the Director of Programs for the Transportation and Land Use Collaborative (TLUC), an urban planning consulting firm in Southern California, came to ESD in September 2012 as an Empire State Fellow, a two-year leadership training program. 

At ESD, according to the Fellows page, he "currently leads Governor Cuomo’s Craft Beverage Initiative at Empire State Development."

Transition: Community Relations Manager

Lynch was hired in September 2012, just before the Barclays Center opened, as a Government and Community Affairs Manager for the position long left open by the June 2011 departure of Forrest Taylor, once billed as an ombudsman but more of a disempowered facilitator.

The position was left open as neighbors endured a steady stream of untoward impacts--seeming violations of construction and traffic protocols or procedures with too little safeguards. Now that construction is ramping up, neighbors may wonder about deja vu.
Jordan

According to Jordan's About Me page, she is ESD's Director of Community Relations, "where she is responsible for various ESD real estate development projects. In addition to large development projects she assists with the execution of ESD's legislative agenda, interfacing with both the Executive and State Legislative Branches on behalf of the agency and as liaison to NYC Community Boards." She joined ESD in March 2014.

Before that, Jordan served as the Executive Director of the New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus.

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