Melissa Burch, a top executive at Forest City Ratner, is departing the firm to join construction company Lend Lease. She will head its efforts to begin investing in and developing real estate projects in New York City and nationally.
"Melissa’s extensive knowledge of entitlement, design, construction, marketing, leasing and the execution of complex urban-development projects makes her the ideal executive to grow our development business in New York," said Denis Hickey, Lend Lease’s chief executive in the U.S., in a statement.
Meanwhile, Forest City announced Wednesday that Susi Yu will take over Ms. Burch’s role as executive vice president for residential development. Ms. Yu, a 12-year Forest City veteran, played a major role in projects including the Frank Gehry-designed, downtown residential tower 8 Spruce. Recently she had moved to the Howard Hughes Corp., where she was a senior vice president.
Her departure comes amid a string of delays and cost overruns at B2 BKLYN, the Atlantic Yards residential tower slated to be the tallest modular building in the world. Burch and a spokeswoman for Forest City said her departure was not related to recent problems at the building."I still believe in modular and I’ll still be rooting for B2 BKYLN," Burch told the Daily News. "I’m proud to have been part of a company that’s looking at doing things differently."
According to the Lend Lease press release:
Prior to joining Lend Lease, Ms. Burch served as Executive Vice President for Forest City Ratner Companies where she had overall responsibility for commercial and residential development. In this role, she oversaw the development of the Atlantic Yards project, a public/private partnership development extending 22 acres and comprised of the Barclays Center and 8M SF of new rental and condominium housing, office, retail space, and eight acres of public open space. In addition, Melissa spearheaded various projects throughout the New York City region and supervised the on-going leasing of Forest City Ratner's office and residential operating portfolios