The New York City Housing Authority today announced the appointment of Frederick S. Harris as Executive Vice President for Development. Harris brings a wealth of experience to the position, having served most recently as Senior Vice President for Development for AvalonBay Communities, Inc, where he spent fourteen years overseeing the development of 5,330 apartments with a total cost of $1.89 billion. Harris’s appointment represents the increasing importance of NYCHA’s effort to develop mixed-use and mixed-income housing on land owned by the Authority —the proceeds from which will be used to reinvest in preserving public housing, as outlined in its strategic Plan NYCHA.
“I am ecstatic that Fred has agreed to join NYCHA. His expertise in development, community reinvestment and specific knowledge of the New York City market will be an incredible asset to me and the executive team,” said NYCHA Chairman John B Rhea. “With Plan NYCHA we are embarking on a period of innovation and ambitious partnerships; Fred’s demonstrated track record of creativity and success makes him perfect for the job.”
“Ensuring the financial stability of NYCHA is critical to providing safe, affordable housing for the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who call NYCHA communities home,” said New York City Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert Steel. “Fred Harris has extensive private sector experience and accomplishments, particularly in overseeing the AvalonBay development portfolio for over a decade. We are thrilled that he has joined NYCHA to advance its development agenda and create thousands of units of new housing across the five boroughs.”
NYCHA is the largest provider of affordable housing in the City and the country. Its real estate portfolio, most of which was developed in the 1940s to 1960s, is an invaluable resource and asset in serving low-income New Yorkers. NYCHA’s inventory of vacant land and available development rights provide it with significant opportunities for new construction as well as to realize proceeds to reinvest in preserving existing public housing and to fund NYCHA’s ongoing operations.
As NYCHA begins executing its strategic Plan NYCHA, Harris will oversee the Authority’s efforts to increase the supply of affordable housing and the number of families served. As part of Mayor Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan to produce and preserve affordable housing, NYCHA intends to accelerate the production of units on its land. To date, the development pipeline has resulted in the completion of 1,365 units, with another 939 units under construction and approximately 1,845 units in pre-development for a total of 4,149 units through 2011.
"Fred Harris is a creative and highly regarded manager who has demonstrated a strong ability to forge meaningful collaborations with housing agencies and other partners," said Herb Sturz, Senior Advisor of the Open Society Foundations. "Fred Harris is a creative and highly regarded manager who has demonstrated a strong ability to forge meaningful collaborations with housing agencies and other partners," said Herb Sturz, Senior Advisor of the Open Society Foundations."
In addition to his work at AvalonBay, Harris has served as Vice President of The Trotwood Corporation in New York, the general managing partner of Citylights, the first 522-unit apartment building built in the Queens West development. In 1998, Citylights received HUD’s recognition for best practices in housing and community development. Prior to Trotwood, Harris served as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Director of Real Estate, managing a portfolio that included 2,000 tenanted properties and active development projects involving over 15,000,000 square feet of potential commercial and residential space.
Harris was also a founding director of the not-for-profit National Urban Reconstruction and Housing Agency (NURCHA) in Johannesburg, South Africa, which accelerated the production of housing for the poor through the use of financial guarantees and targeted equity investments. NURCHA has helped provide hundreds of thousands of homes for low-income South Africans.
Harris has served as a Board member of the Real Estate Board of New York and the New York University School of Law Alumni Association; and currently serves on the Board of Advisors for the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy at NYU; the NY Advisory Board of the Trust for Public Land; as a trustee of Brooklyn Hospital; and is an adjunct professor at Columbia University's Center for Urban Real Estate.
Harris received his Bachelor’s degree from Williams College in Williams, MA; a Master’s degree in transportation planning and engineering from Polytechnic University; and a Law degree from NYU’s School of Law.
His appointment as Executive Vice President of Development is effective Feb. 13, 2012.