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Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what's coming + project FAQ (pinned post)

At Empire State Development, new board chair from Long Island and CEO from Queens, both with real-estate backgrounds

OK, Empire State Development, the state economic development authority that oversees/shepherds Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, has yet another new round of leadership, without Brooklyn expertise but with significant experience in real estate development. (Remember Steve Cohen? He wasn't there long.)

That's partly irrelevant--ESD tends to follow the governor's wishes--but also partly relevant, because there's a lot of real estate left to develop: six towers over the railyard, plus Site 5, where a public process is necessary to transfer the unused bulk from the B1 tower, approved to loom over what is now the arena plaza.

Beyond questions regarding payment for the necessary infrastructure, there's a looming deadline for affordable housing units: May 2025. So ESD needs a plan to ensure (or exempt/extend, as Cohen hinted) that housing. And there are lingering questions of accountability, given ESD seemingly laissez-faire posture.

New board chair: Kevin Law

The new board chair, Long Island's Kevin Law, is (for now) a member of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's board and Executive VP at Tritec Real Estate Development Company of East Setauket, "focused on revitalizing Long Island downtowns and increasing the amount of workforce housing in our region." Since the ESD role is a volunteer post, he'll keep his day job (though leave the MTA).

Law, will be at least titular chair of the advisory Atlantic Yards Community Development Corporation (AY CDC). And without local expertise, he won't be up to speed.

Note that Law previously flip-flopped on the new Belmont Park arena overseen by ESD, once opposing it as a mortal blow to the Nassau Coliseum, then supporting it.

New CEO: Hope Knight

The new CEO, Hope Knight, is member of the City Planning Commission and President & CEO of Greater Jamaica Development Corporation (GJDC), which "plans, promotes, coordinates and advances responsible real estate development to revitalize Jamaica, Queens and strengthen the region."

Law and Knight may be the most qualified people available. But there also may be some political calculation.

Remember, Gov. Kathy Hochul is running for a full term after her accidental ascension to the office (after Gov. Andrew Cuomo's resignation). She seeks to shore up support in the suburbs (Law), and in New York City beyond Brooklyn, the base for three major expected rivals: Attorney General Letitia James, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, and NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.

The press release, 10/28/21

Governor Hochul Announces Administration Nominations
Kevin Law Will Be Nominated as a Director of the Urban Development Corporation and will be designated Chair of the UDC

Hope Knight Will Be Nominated as Commissioner of The Department of Economic Development and President and CEO of Empire State Development


Governor Kathy Hochul today announced nominations for roles at the Urban Development Corporation, Empire State Development, and the Department of Economic Development. Kevin Law will be nominated as a Director of the Urban Development Corporation and will be designated Chair of the UDC and Hope Knight will be nominated as Commissioner of the Department of Economic Development and President and CEO of Empire State Development.

"After the devastating impact the pandemic had on New York's economy, we need the best of the best at the helm to lead our recovery," Governor Hochul said. "With their extensive experience and diverse backgrounds, Hope Knight and Kevin Law are ready to lead New York's economic development in communities and cities across the state and bring our economy back stronger than ever before."

Kevin Law will be nominated as Director of the Urban Development Corporation and will be designated Chair of the UDC. He is a Partner and Executive Vice President at TritecReal Estate Development Company where he is part of the leadership team and Chairs the firms Affordable Housing Team. Mr. Law has been the co-chair of the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council for the past ten years. His efforts are focused on revitalizing Long Island downtowns and increasing the amount of workforce housing in the region. Previously, Law was President and CEO of the Long Island Association (LIA) where he was a key strategist and advocate on all matters impacting Long Island and its business community. He helped secure more than $5 billion in infrastructure investments for the Long Island region. Prior to his tenure at the LIA, Law was President and CEO of the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), the second-largest public utility in the country. Law launched the largest energy efficiency program for any public utility in the country, procured the largest solar energy project in New York State, created an offshore wind collaborative with Con Edison and the New York Power Authority and introduced "smart meters" to the region. Law previously served as Chief Deputy County Executive for Suffolk County and was the Managing Partner of the Long Island office of Nixon Peabody LLP, an international law firm. Law serves as Chairman of the Stony Brook University Council and serves on the board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). He is also the Chairman of the Long Island Housing Partnership and Chairman of Accelerate Long Island. Law hold an AA degree from Suffolk County Community College, a B.A. from SUNY, Stony Brook University, an M.S. from the Graduate School of Urban Affairs and Planning at CUNY, Hunter College and a J.D. from St. John's University School of Law. Mr. Law will assume the role of Chair upon confirmation by the Senate.

Hope Knight will be nominated as Commissioner of the Department of Economic Development and President and CEO of Empire State Development (ESD). Ms. Knight has served as President & CEO of Greater Jamaica Development Corporation (GJDC) since 2015. In that capacity she has advanced the economic growth, community-building, and sustainable real estate development that has immeasurably revitalized and strengthened the Southeast Queens region. Ms. Knight also serves on the New York City Planning Commission, as a Commissioner. Prior to leading GJDC, she was Chief Operating Officer of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone overseeing over $150 million in investments, leveraging over $1 billion in private capital, and working on projects such as the East River Plaza, Potamkin East Harlem and the Victoria Theater & Hotel. She also served as Vice President at Morgan Stanley in the Institutional Equities Division, U.S. and as Vice President of Strategic Planning and E-Commerce, Morgan Stanley, Japan. Earlier in her career, Ms. Knight worked at Accenture and in New York City government. Ms. Knight serves on a number of boards, these organizations include: Regional Plan Association (Vice Chair), TruFund Financial (Vice Chair), Grameen America, Morgan Stanley Community Development Advisory Board, East Harlem Tutorial Program and Jack and Jill of America Foundation (Treasurer). She is also the Immediate Past Chair of the Board of Trustees of Marymount Manhattan College and was a member of ABNY's 2020 Census Organizing and Action Committee. Ms. Knight holds a BA from Marymount Manhattan College and an MBA from the Graduate School of Business of the University of Chicago. Ms. Knight will serve as Acting Commissioner, President and CEO until confirmation by the Senate.
Here's coverage in Newsday, which quoted Law: "I look forward to helping Long Island, NYC and the entire state recover from the pandemic and to promote economic development throughout the state." Law said he planned to leave the MTA board.

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