2020 Virtual Rebuilding New York Summit

September 29, 2020  
1:00PM - 4:00PM
Repairing, Improving and Upgrading New York
Event Description

When COVID 19 hit New York, construction was shut down completely.  As it began to reopen, first upstate and later in the City, what precautions and safety practices were implemented to help New York? What new plans were put into effect based on lessons learned? What was the effect of COVID 19 on affordable housing units and planned housing sites? Hear from experts as we explore how to rebuild New York.

Greg Russ
Chair & CEO, New York City Housing Authority
Gregory Russ was appointed Chair and Chief Executive Officer of the New York City Housing Authority by Mayor Bill de Blasio, effective August 12, 2019. Greg is a seasoned housing professional with decades of management experience; he has helped to rebuild and strengthen public housing authorities across the country, including in Detroit, Philadelphia, and Chicago. In a career that spans decades, Greg most recently served as Executive Director and CEO of the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority and as the Executive Director of the Cambridge Housing Authority, where he spearheaded sweeping plans to deliver extensive apartment renovations across the entire housing portfolio. He also served as Deputy Executive Director of the Philadelphia Housing Authority, helping to oversee the management, maintenance operations, and security services for the 70,000 residents. From 1997 to 2002, he served in several roles with the Chicago Housing Authority. Greg also served as Principal Associate for Abt Associates, a consulting firm assisting public, private, and non-profit housing agencies with strategic planning. In 1995, Greg worked as Special Assistant to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, working under the Clinton Administration. He later served as Director of Troubled Agency Recovery. Greg holds a bachelor's degree in English from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania and is a board member of the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities (CLPHA). He is also a former president of the Public Housing Authority Directors Association.
Robert E. Cornegy Jr.
Chair, New York City Council Housing and Buildings Committee
Vicki Been
Deputy Mayor, NYC Housing & Economic Development
Deputy Mayor Vicki Been leads the administration’s efforts to grow and diversify New York City's economy, invest in emerging industries across the five boroughs, build a new generation of affordable housing, and help New Yorkers secure good-paying jobs. The Deputy Mayor oversees and coordinates the operations of over 20 agencies, offices and affiliated entities. Been has extensive experience fighting to make New York a more affordable and equitable city. As HPD Commissioner from 2014 to 2017, Been helped craft Housing New York, the Mayor’s plan to tackle the affordability crisis and create and preserve 300,000 affordable homes by 2026. She formerly served as the Director of NYU's Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy, the Boxer Family Professor of Law at NYU School of Law, and an Affiliated Professor of Public Policy of the NYU's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. Been graduated from Colorado State University and received her J.D. from New York University School of Law.
Fred C. Cerullo, III
President/CEO, Grand Central Partnership (GCP)
Fred Cerullo is President/CEO of the Grand Central Partnership (GCP) and a Commissioner on the New York City Planning Commission. Over the course of his career, Cerullo has been an elected and an appointed official, as well as a board member of many non-profit organizations. Cerullo began his career as Counsel to the Minority Leader of the New York City Council. He became one of the youngest ever New York City Councilmembers, winning his first of four consecutive elections to the New York City Council representing the South Shore and portions of the Mid-Island communities of Staten Island, while also holding the position of City Council Minority Leader. Cerullo became one of the youngest ever New York City Commissioners when he was tapped to run the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs and later became the City Commissioner of Finance, after running both agencies simultaneously for six months. Cerullo served on the Mayoral Transition teams of Rudolph W. Giuliani and Michael R. Bloomberg as well as serving on the Mayor’s Committee on Appointments. Prior to his appointment to City Planning, Cerullo was a Member of the New York City Campaign Finance Board for more than four years, having the distinction of being the first Board Member to have participated in the landmark campaign finance program. Presently, Fred serves on the Boards of Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden, the Staten Island Foundation, The Maritime Museum, the American Museum of Natural History Planetarium Authority, the St. George Theatre Restoration, Inc. and St. John’s University School of Law Alumni Association. He is also a Board Member of the NYC BID Association and is an active member of numerous organizations citywide. Cerullo, who resides in the St. George neighborhood of Staten Island, was born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in Great Kills, Staten Island, and is a graduate of the New York City public school system. He received bachelor’s degrees in English and American Studies from St. John’s University. A member of the bar in New York, New Jersey, California, and Washington D.C., he earned his law degree from St. John’s University School of Law. He has received numerous awards over the years, including the St. John’s University Pietas Medal and the Alumni Outstanding Achievement Medal. He also received the President’s Medal from both St. John’s University and the City University of New York College of Staten Island. Fred has been named one of New York City’s “50 Over 50” by City & State Magazine, and also landed on the “Top 100 Most Powerful People” for both the Borough of Manhattan, as well as the Borough of Staten Island, by the same publication. Fred Cerullo is a member of SAG/AFTRA appearing in daytime dramas, films, movies made-for-television and cable, and has had starring roles in numerous stage productions.
Carlo A. Scissura
President & CEO, New York Building Congress
Carlo A. Scissura is President & CEO of the New York Building Congress, a position he has held since January 2017. The New York Building Congress is a broad-based membership association committed to promoting the growth and success of the construction industry in New York City and its environs. The organization – which includes members from across the building community – provides a unique forum to advance an industry-wide agenda focusing on economic and infrastructure investment, job creation, and professional exchange. Prior to joining the Building Congress, Carlo was President & CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. Under Carlo’s leadership, the Chamber became one of New York’s largest business advocacy and economic development organizations, and its membership grew by more than 200 percent to over 2,200 members. It also launched a number of highly innovative and successful programs and initiatives, including Explore Brooklyn, Brooklyn-Made and Chamber on the Go, and received substantial new funding from government agencies and private foundations to support its work. During this historic period of growth, the Chamber’s efforts were widely recognized as creating national models for business development, outreach and technical assistance, and regional branding.
Jarrett Murphy
Executive Editor, City Limits
Jarrett Murphy is the executive editor of City Limits, an award-winning news agency that's covered New York City policy and politics since 1976. Before joining CIty Limits in 2007, he worked for the Hartford Advocate, CBS News and the Village Voice. He's also an adjunct professor at the Craig Newmark CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, the lead singer and bassist for a rock band, and a youth baseball coach. He lives in the Bronx with his wife and two sons.
Rafael E. Cestero
President & CEO, The Community Preservation Corporation (CPC)
Rafael E. Cestero is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Community Preservation Corporation (CPC), and a member of its board of directors. He joined CPC in 2012 as the company was going through a challenging restructuring and recapitalization process. Cestero worked with the company’s Board of Directors and Executive Management to implement a strategy that effectively resolved CPC’s portfolio, and returned its focus to the core mission investing in housing that create a positive impact on the physical, social and economic infrastructure of communities. Today CPC is a leading nonprofit affordable housing and community revitalization finance company, and the largest Community Development Financial Institution in the nation that focuses solely on investing in multifamily housing. CPC provides a full suite of capital products throughout its construction lending, Agency lending, and equity investing platforms. Since its founding in 1974, the company has leveraged more than $11 billion in private and public investment to finance more than 200,000 units of multifamily housing. From February 2009 to April 2011, Cestero served as Commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), the largest municipal affordable housing development and housing code enforcement agency in the country. As HPD commissioner, he simultaneously served as chairman of the board for the New York City Housing Development Corporation, the nation’s largest municipal Housing Finance Agency. During his tenure, Cestero helped implement and oversee Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan, a multi-billion dollar initiative to finance the creation and preservation of 165,000 units of affordable housing. Before taking the helm at HPD, Cestero was the agency’s Deputy Commissioner of Development. Cestero has also held leadership positions at L+M Development Partners as Managing Director, at Enterprise Community Partners as Senior Vice President and Chief Program Officer, and at the Enterprise Foundation as Director of New York Programs. A native of Rochester, New York, Cestero received a Bachelor of Science in Public Policy Analysis from Cornell University, and earned a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Jordan Stein
Head of Public Policy, Rhino
Jordan Stein serves as Head of Public Policy at Rhino, leading engagement with government officials, industry trade associations, and advocacy groups in service of business growth. Offered in over one million homes across America, Rhino replaces cash security deposits with low-cost insurance, dramatically lowering upfront move-in costs for renters and offering a business-friendly efficiency for property owners and operators. $45 Billion is locked up in cash security deposits across America, and Rhino is on a mission to unlock it. Stein began his career serving Mayor Michael Bloomberg in New York City. During Stein’s tenure, he was responsible for leading efforts with dozens of administration officials to conceive and develop mayoral press conferences and major citywide events. Later, Stein played an integral role in supporting the Mayor in his transition back to corporate and philanthropic leadership of Bloomberg LP. In this capacity, Stein led the Mayor on domestic and international trips to advance business and advocacy efforts. During the 2016 election cycle, Stein directed partnership between Bloomberg News’ Washington Bureau and New York-based Bloomberg Television. Later in his career, Stein advised startups, non-profit organizations, universities, and corporations. Stein graduated from Emory University with highest honors in political science and sociology and currently serves on the Emory College Alumni Board. A Long Island native, Stein currently resides in Manhattan.
Meera Joshi
General Manager & Principal, Sam Schwartz
Meera Joshi, General Manager and Principal of Sam Schwartz, is a global transportation leader with wide-ranging experience navigating technological and regulatory change. Previously she led the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), where she spearheaded novel regulations, resolving challenges brought on by the rapid growth of rideshare services while simultaneously enhancing passengers’ safe access. Under her tenure, NYC mandated the reporting of granular trip data from large app operators like Uber and Lyft. Much of this information is now publicly available and an invaluable asset for transportation planners. She also developed the regulatory framework that protects the wages of the city’s 80,000+ app drivers, a global first which now serves as a model for other jurisdictions. Markedly improving transportation for wheelchairs users, she led the nation’s largest accessibility initiative, providing passengers with new on demand accessible reliable travel options. Before being appointed Commissioner, she served as TLC’s Deputy Commissioner for Legal Affairs and as an executive manager at NYC’s Civilian Complaint Review Board and Department of Investigation with oversight over the New York City Police and Corrections departments. Meera was a visiting scholar at NYU’s Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and is currently a member of Remix’s Advisory Board.
Gordon Tung
Vice President of Construction Management and Operations, New York City School Construction Authority
Gordon Tung has over thirty years of experience in design, construction and construction management on various types of projects. He joined the New York City School Construction Authority in 2000 as a project officer and advanced to his current position of Vice President of Construction Management and Operations. In his position as Vice President, Mr. Tung is in charge of over 400 professionals overseeing all construction contracts for the current (2020-2024) $18.7 billion capital plan. Prior to advancing to his current position, he served as the Senior Director responsible on managing all aspects of school construction and rehabilitation and has opened over 35 new schools within the borough of Queens in the past ten years. Before joining the School Construction Authority Mr. Tung was working as a project manager for MTA – New York City Transit supervising multiple projects involve power and lighting upgrade for subway stations. Gordon Tung holds a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering from State University of New York at Stony Brook and a Master of Business Administration from Baruch College, and is a registered professional engineer in the State of New York.
Zachary Bernstein
Partner, Fried, Frank, LLP
Zachary Bernstein is a partner in Fried Frank's Real Estate Department, resident in the New York office. Mr. Bernstein specializes in real estate development, with a focus on land use. He represents a range of clients including private developers, not-for-profits and religious organizations. His experience includes transactions for the purchase and sale of development rights, analysis of development potential and applications with governmental agencies, including the New York City Planning Commission, the Board of Standards and Appeals, the Department of Buildings and the Landmarks Preservation Commission. Mr. Bernstein has advised some of the city’s largest property owners on key city land use matters in recent years, including SL Green Realty Corp. with respect to special permits and negotiation of transit-related improvements for the One Vanderbilt development project and the Archdiocese and Trinity Church with respect to their property holdings in New York City. Mr. Bernstein is a member of the Board of Directors of the NYU Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy. He is recognized as an “Up and Coming” attorney by Chambers and Partners in the Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use section and a “Next Generation Lawyer” by Legal 500 in Real Estate: Land Use and Zoning.
Omar Toro-Vaca
Senior Vice President, Real Estate, Kasirer LLC
Omar joined Kasirer after returning to New York City from San Francisco, California, where he served as a Principal at Assembly Design Studio. Before that, Omar was an Associate Principal at SHoP Architects, for which he led the public approvals strategy on Uber’s ground-up headquarters in San Francisco’s Mission Bay district. Engaging with local community groups, the San Francisco Planning Department, City Hall, and the Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure (OCII), Omar led a team that secured two planning variances focused on improving the buildings’ contributions to the public realm. And with a team of consultants, he led the process of navigating highly restrictive codes to ensure the approval of San Francisco’s first naturally ventilated, mixed-mode office building to be approved under the state of California’s Building Energy Efficiency Program, Title 24. Omar has also overseen public approvals associated with international projects in Melbourne, Mexico City, and Tijuana. There, he frequently liaised with government officials on behalf of private clients. In addition, Omar worked on projects for the US Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO), where he led efforts on public approvals for new US embassies in Tegucigalpa and Seoul. His early work on the new US Embassy in Jakarta (for Davis Brody Bond) contributed to the successful merger of five contiguous parcels for the expansion of the embassy campus near Merdeka Square. Trained in Architecture and educated in Public Administration and Urban Policy, Omar sees the social and economic value of fostering community engagement through design. In this way, he co-led a campaign with Human Scale Studio in Detroit for the redesign of Roosevelt Park. Omar navigates complex public approvals with diplomacy and tact to ensure projects are greenlighted by various municipal bodies and stakeholders, all while advocating for densification through policy. As a project lead, he has assembled, led, and mentored talented multi-disciplinary teams to work on multifaceted projects that blur boundaries between architecture, zoning, planning, and economic development. He joins Kasirer as an integral part of the Real Estate team, where he manages projects going through the City’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), the Landmarks Commission, and other forms of approvals that require advocacy and community engagement.

Welcome and Introduction 


Keynote Speaker Vicki Been, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development with Introduction By Carlo A. Scissura, President & CEO, New York Building Congress


Introduction By Fred Cerullo, III, President & CEO, Grand Central Partnership 


Collaborative Leadership in Design & Construction During the Age of COVID-19

The pandemic has given New York time to reflect on previous practices in all industries including effectively addressing New York’s building needs. Our industry experts will provide information related to the planning for what NYC’s next administration should focus on including new health and safety challenges, security, management of assets for capital and public-private projects currently slated, affordable/housing policies, etc. They will also discuss tools for building innovative urban solutions to improve New York through the use of MWBEs and other public projects.
Jarrett Murphy, Executive Editor, City Limits (moderator)
Greg Russ, Chair & CEO, New York City Housing Authority
New York City Council Member Robert E. Cornegy, Jr., Chair, Housing and Buildings Committee
Rafael E. Cestero, President  & CEO, The Community Preservation Corporation (CPC)
Zachary Bernstein, Partner, Fried Frank LLP
Omar Toro-Vaca, Senior Vice President, Real Estate, Kasirer LLC

Innovations: Transforming How We Think about Construction and Development

Technology and innovation have become increasingly important throughout COVID 19 in all industries.  How can new technologies, practices and other new developments be harnessed to improve efficiency, health & safety, sustainability, and outcomes for the evolution of NY? What underserved areas of construction and development are most primed for technological disruption?  What is the role MWBEs play in this transformation process?
Steve Anderson, Managing Director, www.InfrastructureUSA.org & www.APLtv.com (moderator)
Jordan Stein, Head of Public Policy, Rhino
Meera Joshi, General Manager and Principal, Sam Schwartz
Gordon Tung, Vice President, Construction Management & Operations, NYC School Construction Authority
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