Carl Weisbrod to step down as city’s top planning official

He's been a force in economic development for decades

From left: Bill de Blasio and Carl Weisbrod (Credit: City of New York)
From left: Bill de Blasio and Carl Weisbrod (Credit: City of New York)

Just as plans for rezoning Midtown East are finally getting underway, Carl Weisbrod is stepping down as the city’s top planning official.

Weisbrod [TRDataCustom], 72, will retire at the end of this month from his dual positions as director of the Planning Department and chairman of the Planning Commission, the New York Times reported. The news comes just one day after Weisbrod announced the certification of plans to rezone Midtown East, an idea that failed three years ago but gained momentum this year. The latest plans started the seven-month Uniform Land Use Review Procedure on Tuesday.

Marisa Lago, who serves as assistant secretary for international markets and development at the Treasury, will take over as head of the Planning Department.

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Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed Weisbrod as director of the Planning Department and chair of the Planning Commission in 2014. But over the past 40 years, Weisbrod has built up a storied career in economic development in the city. Under Mayor Edward Koch, Weisbrod headed redevelopment efforts in Times Square, which not only transformed the city but “opened up the West Side of Manhattan to development,” he told TRD in 2014.

In 1995, Weisbrod also co-founded the Downtown Alliance, which would go on to become one of the city’s biggest Business Improvement Districts. After the Sept. 11 attacks, he served as director of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, which oversaw redevelopment efforts.

“This has been a great run for me,” Weisbrod told the Times. “I sometimes can’t really even contemplate how lucky I’ve been to be part of the city’s history.” [NYT] — Kathryn Brenzel