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NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development

Press Release # 18-07
Thursday, June 21, 2007

Contact: Neill McG. Coleman (212) 863-8076


New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Shaun Donovan announced today the appointment of Laura O. Lazarus as HPD’s new Deputy Commissioner for Development. Lazarus will replace Rafael Cestero who left HPD in February to join Enterprise as Senior Vice President. Lazarus’s appointment will be effective on July 23rd, 2007. She is currently a Senior Vice President at the Telesis Corporation.

"We look forward to welcoming Laura to the HPD community. I am confident that her leadership and vision will help us to fulfill Mayor Bloomberg’s historic $7.5 billion affordable housing plan and create affordable housing for 500,000 New Yorkers, more than the entire population of Atlanta. Laura will be a superb addition to our leadership team." said HPD Commissioner Shaun Donovan.

Marilyn Melkonian, the founder and president of Telesis said “We are very proud that Laura Lazarus has worked with Telesis for nearly 10 years and is now able to contribute her skills, talent, enthusiasm and commitment to development challenges in old and new neighborhoods throughout New York City.”

“It has been a privilege for me to work with Telesis and to be a part of rebuilding communities in several states," said Lazarus. "I am honored and deeply gratified to be asked to be a part of the remarkable team at HPD. I look forward to working with Commissioner Donovan and everyone at HPD to achieve Mayor Bloomberg's unprecedented commitment to creating and preserving 165,000 affordable homes for New Yorkers, the largest municipal affordable housing plan in the nation’s history."

Lazarus is currently Senior Vice President at Telesis Corporation where she has worked since 1997.  She leads the New York office for Telesis, one of the largest and most innovative developers of large scale community revitalization projects in the nation, including more than 15,000 units of affordable housing.  Lazarus has led a $65 million award-winning preservation project in Pittsburgh that will result in substantial renovation of more than 300 low-income rental units and 30 affordable homeownership opportunities. She also oversaw a $90 million revitalization planning effort of a core 20-block area in downtown Baltimore involving 300 mixed-income homeownership and rental units, requiring new construction and rehabilitation of existing units in a historic district. Lazarus was an assistant project manager at HPD between 1988 and 1990.

Lazarus received her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 1994 and her undergraduate degree in Politics from Princeton University in 1988. She is also President of the Board of Women in Housing and Finance.

HPD's Office of Development consists of the divisions of New Construction, Planning, Housing Production, New Construction Finance, Preservation Finance, Housing Incentives and Special Needs Housing. Its success is critical to the Mayor’s 10-year New Housing Marketplace Plan to build and preserve 165,000 units of affordable housing, the largest municipal affordable housing initiative in the nation’s history. HPD is on target for this goal with 60,000 units already in progress.

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The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development's (HPD) mission is to promote quality housing and viable neighborhoods for New Yorkers. The department is the nation’s largest municipal housing development agency and is implementing Mayor Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan to build and preserve 165,000 units of affordable housing over ten years. The New Housing Marketplace Plan is the largest municipal affordable housing effort in the nation’s history. As part of Mayor Bloomberg’s plaNYC HPD is working to create homes for almost a million more New Yorkers by 2030 while making housing more affordable and sustainable.  HPD also encourages the preservation of affordable housing through education, outreach, loan programs and enforcement of housing quality standards.


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