Vicki Been Returns to City Hall as New Housing and Economic Development Czar

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Mayor Bill de Blasio has tapped former New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Vicki Been as his new deputy mayor for housing and economic development, the mayor announced today.

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Been, currently the director of NYU’s Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy, will take over the post from the controversial Alicia Glen, who stepped down in March.

“As HPD Commissioner, Vicki changed everything about affordable housing in New York City,” de Blasio said in a statement. “As deputy mayor, she will dig deeper and ratchet up all our efforts to confront the biggest crisis facing our city: affordability. She’ll kick anti-displacement strategies into high gear and open doors of opportunity to people who are struggling.”

Been first joined de Blasio’s administration in 2014 leading HPD and was a key figure in the creation of the mayor’s Housing New York Plan to create and preserve 200,000 affordable houses by 2024. The plan was later updated in 2017 with a goal of 300,000 affordable homes by 2026.

She also played a part in the formation of two citywide rezoning initiatives that aimed to create more development of low-income and middle-class housing—Zoning for Quality and Affordability and Mandatory Inclusionary Housing—which passed the City Council in 2016.

Been stepped down from HPD in January 2017 to return to teaching at NYU, as Commercial Observer previously reported.

“Since my tenure as HPD commissioner, the city has made great strides building more affordable housing units and benefited from record-low unemployment,” Been said in a statement. “It’s time to be bolder and find new, innovative ways to respond to the city’s affordability crisis.”

While HPD mainly focuses on affordable housing around the city, Been’s new role widens her scope to also handle the execution all of the mayor’s housing and economic initiatives. She’ll oversee more than 20 agencies including the Economic Development Corporation and the problem-plagued New York City Housing Authority.

She will take over from Glen, a former Goldman Sachs executive who drew criticism from progressive activists around the city, but was largely a popular face within the real estate industry.

Glen—who held her deputy mayor position for five years—helped put together the subsidy deal in the ultimately failed plan for Amazon to come to Long Island City, Queens. She also spearheaded the rezoning of Midtown East and the Garment District.