Late last week, Carl Weisbrod was officially appointed to the Chair of the City Planning Commission, a two-in-one title that brings the added responsibilities of the Director of the City Planning Department.
The appointment of Mr. Weisbrod had been reportedly decided earlier in the week by City Hall and thus what surprise there was to the news was tempered by a sense of relief and even comfort. Because of the relatively late appointment — and after a search that had had as many as half-a-dozen presumed contenders as recently as a week ago — this particular position had become the focus of increasing speculation across the real estate and development community. The fact that Mr. Weisbrod was the co-chair of the Mayor’s own transition team — an unusual scenario he himself acknowledged at his inaugural press conference — provided an added layer of intrigue, but one that somehow seemed appropriate in the end.
While Mr. Weisbrod was most recently connected with the sought-after consultancy of HR&A Advisors, he is a very widely-known and respected figure by virtue of his decades of experience that has touched so many different aspects of New York City planning and development. This is actually a return to the Department for Mr. Weisbrod, who earlier in his career was the agency’s Executive Director. He continued in public service as the first President of the City’s Economic Development Corporation. He was then the founding President of the Alliance for Downtown New York, the nation’s largest business improvement district, building that organization up and unexpectedly overseeing the heavy task of revitalizing Lower Manhattan. Later he managed the vast and renowned holdings of Trinity Church in New York, leveraging its portfolio in service of its worldwide charitable mission.
Simply by becoming the first new CPC Chair in over a decade, Mr. Weisbrod will face a number of challenges but also has embraced the opportunity to advance the new administration’s agenda, clearly articulating an openness to applying the Department’s energies and talents to the Mayor’s overall vision. Like so many others, we look forward to seeing Carl make his mark with the Department, and we offer him our heartfelt congratulations.