Robert Hammond, the executive director of the non-profit Friends of the High Line, will step down, the New York Times reported. Hammond led the effort both to preserve and transform the stretch of abandoned elevated rail line on Manhattan’s West Side, after co-founding the organization with Joshua David in 1999.
“I always had three goals for the High Line: that it’s a well-loved park, that it inspires others to start their own projects and that it not be dependent on Josh and me,” Hammond said. “It’s a good time to transition. I’m an entrepreneur at heart. My gut has been telling me that it’s time to start something new.”
Hammond helped transform a Chelsea eyesore into a park with an annual budget of $7.6 million. The park has also been responsible for attracting 29 new development projects, which have brought $2 billion in private investment, 12,000 jobs, 2,558 new residential units, 1,000 hotel rooms, more than 423,000 square feet of office space and 85,000 square feet of gallery space to the area.
David will now become president of the group, and the board of trustees will soon begin searching for a new executive director. “It was 14 years ago that we met at a community board meeting,” Hammond said of David in an interview. “Obviously, I loved the outcome, but what’s been so meaningful to me was the process.” [NYT] —Christopher Cameron